Barry Johnson of Immistay.com has kindly written this article for ieltsielts.com to help explain what is happening:
SkillSelect commences 1st July 2012: Act now!
As at of the 1st of July 2012 SkillSelect (http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/) will be introduced in Australia. This will be a major change in the Australian migration process. These changes are designed to limit the successful visa applicants to only the very best. It will involve in the applicant lodging an expression of interest online to the Australian department of immigration and citizenship. These expressions of interests are reviewed via a computer system that looks for the finest applicants who meet the selection criteria. This will involve looking at the applicants with the strongest English language ability, the most work experience and the highest qualifications. It is these successful applicants who will be issued with an invitation to apply. The SkillSelect program will also be subject to a quota system for each occupation. The department of immigration and citizenship has provided an FAQ regarding SkillSelect, which you may be interested in accessing (http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/index/faqs/). I suggest you have a good look at this to get an idea of the implications of these changes and their impact upon your circumstances.
There are some advantages to this system. Under the current system, there is a waiting period of twelve to eighteen months or more for your skills point visa to be granted. This is due to the backlog of applications. With SkillSelect, you effectively jump the cue. It is designed to eliminate any backlog due to the highly selective nature of the system. The department of immigration and citizenship will control very carefully who is invited to apply. After the 1st of July 2012, if invited to apply you will move quickly through the system, much more so than under the system currently in place.
After reviewing the information from migration agents it is highly recommended to lodge your application before midnight on the 30th of June 2012. This is before SkillSelect commences. If you have a passing score in the skills, migration points test or know that you are eligible, act now. The future of the points tested skilled migration looks bleak. Have a look at the following pulled from the department of immigration and citizenship information pdf (full document link below):
From the 1st July 2012 intending migrants, both in and outside of Australia may submit an expression of interest (EOI) for a 189, 190 or 489 visa. From the 1st of July 2012, points tested skilled migration visas granted outside of Australia (subclass 175, 176 and 475) will be closed for all new applicants. From the 1st of January 2013, points tested skilled migration visas granted in Australia (subclass 885, 886 and 487) will be closed for all new applications. http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/points-tested-visas.pdf
There is also speculation that under SkillSelect that there will be new visa categories and possibly the elimination of the sub visa categories. The reason for this is that not all the SkillSelect changes have been announced. In other words, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Because of the limited time before the 1st of July 2012, I would recommend that you contact your migration agent and lodge. If you do not have a migration agent, I would highly recommend ACACIA. To receive a discount on the initial consultation just mention Immistay and the 10% discount when you call. http://www.acacia-au.com/ or call +061 0292300888.