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Point-Based Skilled Migration

There is a range of points-based skilled migration visa options for skilled workers who want to live in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government agency, sponsored by an eligible relative or independently migrate (non-sponsored).

Independent migrants are selected on the basis of their skills, attributes and suitability for employment so they are in a position to contribute quickly to the Australian economy. They are not sponsored by an employer or relative in Australia.

Sponsorship by an eligible Australian relative or nomination by a state or territory government is also possible under points-based skilled migration. Points-based skilled migration visas are subject to a points test. More information about the points test is available on the department's website. See: SkillSelect below.

Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme

The Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme consists of the following:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

The programme allows employers to nominate foreign workers for permanent residence to fill genuine vacancies in their business.

Within each of these visa subclasses there will be three streams:

  • The temporary residence transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last two years in the nominated occupation and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation
  • The direct entry stream is for applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and have not held a subclass 457 visa for at least the last two years or are applying directly from outside Australia
  • The agreement stream is for applicants who are being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement or regional migration agreement. Further information is available on the department's website.

See: SkillSelect below

SkillSelect

SkillSelect is an online system that enables skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to record their details to be considered for a skilled visa through an Expression of Interest (EOI). Intending migrants could be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or they could be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application.

About SkillSelect

What are the advantages of SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is a major change to how Australia manages its skilled migration program. SkillSelect will ensure the skilled migration program is based on the economic needs of Australia. The Australian Government will be able to manage who is able to apply for skilled migration, when they are able to apply and in what numbers, on the basis of this need.

As a result, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship expects to significantly reduce the time taken to process a visa application and improve the settlement and employment prospects of its skilled migrants.

SkillSelect will also help address regional skill shortages. SkillSelect allows intending migrants to indicate they are willing to live and work in regional Australia. This will be of particular benefit to employers experiencing regional skill shortages and state and territory governments attempting to settle migrants in regional Australia.

How will SkillSelect work?

SkillSelect is an online system that enables skilled workers interested in migrating to Australia to record their details to be considered for a skilled visa through an Expression of Interest (EOI). People intending to migrate to Australia may be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or they may be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application.

Go to Self Assessment - Skilled Migration
Go to Self Assessment - Business Migration

Here are the different types of visa subclasses for GSM

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 - (Permanent visa)

This skilled independent Subclass 189 visa can be granted based on the visa applicants own merits based on a points based system and there is no requirement for sponsorship.

To be eligible you need:

  • to be 44 years old or younger at the time of invitation to apply
  • have a minimum points score of 65 or higher
  • have Competent English (IELTS +6 in each band) or higher (especially if you need extra points, points are only given for English scores IELTS +7 in each or equivalent)
  • meet the health and character requirements.

To apply for a Subclass 189 visa you need to:

  • First lodge an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited to apply
  • Once you receive an invitation to apply you have 60 days to lodge a valid application.

Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 - (Permanent visa)

The Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visa is requires nomination by a State or Territory Government. To be eligible you need:

  • to be 44 years old or younger at the time that you apply
  • have a minimum points score of 65 or higher
  • have Competent English (IELTS +6 in each band) or higher
  • meet the health and character requirements
  • your occupation needs to be on the specific State's skilled occupations list

To apply for a Subclass 190 visa you need to:

  • First lodge an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited to apply
  • Have the required points score for the relevant State & occupation, as some states and occupations require a higher points score to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply.
  • Once again, when you receive an invitation to apply, you have 60 days to lodge a valid application.

We can assist you by assessing your eligibility and by completing and lodging an EOI, and then a State nomination and or visa application.

491 Visa (Skilled Work Regional Visa) – Provisional

The new 491 visa, Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa will enable eligible skilled workers and their families to live, work and study in designated regional areas of Australia for 5 years. Visa holders will be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence visa after three years. Applicants for this visa must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or territory.

The visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions, namely 8579 will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas. Visa holders can move between regional areas. Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas. You may work in any occupation and for any employer in line with the work and residence conditions attached to your visa.

Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist. Additionally, similar to current arrangements for the subclass 457 and 482 visa program, holders of the new provisional visas can be negatively impacted by sponsor non-compliance.

The new 491 visa permanent pathway will be:

  • Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements. You must show earnings of at least $53,900 per annum for three years. Your partner can also be the main applicant for the 191 visa if they can demonstrate this criteria.

Effect on current 489 visa to 887 visa pathway

The Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489) is now closed to new applicants. Transitional arrangements are put in place for applications which have been lodged and are undecided, as well as applicants whose pathway currently targets the permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887).

Skilled Migration Changes

The skilled migration points test has changed from November 16, 2019. The changes affect subclass 491 applicants as well as applications for other skilled migration visas that have not been assessed at that time (but only in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points). Other points for age, qualifications, overseas and Australian work experience, Australian study and English points will apply. The new points details are:

  • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications

Partner Points

  • 10 points, if one of the following apply:
    • skilled spouse or de facto partner (Skills assessment and Competent English); or
    • applicants without a spouse or de facto partner (single) or
  • 5 points:  if your partner has Competent English. Your partner can be over 45 years of age and does not need a Skills Assessment.

Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)

To meet the requirements of the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (from November 2022) applicants must:

  • hold a regional provisional visa subclass 491 or 494 visa when they apply for the Subclass 191 visa, and have held that visa for at least three years
  • have earned the minimum income for at least three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa
  • have complied with the conditions of the regional provisional visa

The visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas (condition 8579) and if employer sponsored, only in the nominated position. Visa holders can move between regional areas. Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas.

Regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.

Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist. Additionally, similar to current arrangements for the subclass 457 and 482 visa program, holders of the new provisional visas can be negatively impacted by sponsor non-compliance.

The new permanent visa will be Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional). To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements.

Effect on current regional visas

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (subclass 187) and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489) will close to new applicants from November 16, 2019. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for applications which have been lodged and are undecided at that time, as well as applicants whose pathway currently targets the permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887).

Skilled Migration Changes

The skilled migration points test will change from November 16, 2019. The changes will affect subclass 491 applicants as well as applications for other skilled migration visas that have not been assessed at that time (but only in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points). The new points details are:

  • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;
  • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner (Skills assessment and Competent English); OR
  • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’;
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
  • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.

Additionally, the raking order for invitations will change. The new ranking order will be as follows:

  • First – primary applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner;
  • Equal First – primary applicants without a spouse or de facto partner;
  • Second – Primary applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who can demonstrate competent English, but does not have the skills for skilled partner points (age and skills);
  • Third – Primary applicants with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points. These applicants will be ranked below all other cohorts, if all other points claims are equal.

Disclaimer

Australian Immigration Law and Policy is subject to constant change. While every effort is made to ensure information on this site is current and accurate, this cannot be guaranteed. The information is provided as general guidance only and no responsibility will be accepted for any adverse consequence which may arise from any action taken on the basis of material provided in this site, regardless as to any possible error or omission. It is recommended that any and all information be verified by a registered migration agent at INBIB or The Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs.