Skilled Migration Australia
Australia recognises the importance of attracting skilled professionals and in line with this, the Australian Government ensures that the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is continuously updated to accurately reflect the needs of the Australian labour market.
The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program is a unique, points-tested system conducted over 3 stages. To maximise your chances of obtaining an invitation to apply, it’s vital that your application is accurate and complete and that you remain informed at each stage.
General Skilled Migration
About the Visas
Subclass 189, 190 and 491.
As the name suggests, this visa pathway essentially attracts skilled and qualified individuals from anywhere in the world. There are three visa subclasses within the GSM category, these are:
- The Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)
- The Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190)
- The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 491) visa
Both the Subclass 189 and 190 visas are applications for permanent residency while the Subclass 491 is a transitional visa, allowing for permanency after a minimum of 3 years.
The Skilled Migration Program does not require a nomination or sponsorship from an Australian employer.
Subclass 189 and 190 visas:
The difference between the two
The main difference is the essence of nomination. While a Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) allows you to claim an additional 5 points due to State or Territory Nomination, it also requires the visa applicants to reside for a period of time in the nominated state subsequent to the grant of the visa.
In contrast, the Independent Skilled Visa does not contain such requirements. Additionally, subclass 190 may also require applicants to provide evidence of sufficient funds for settlement, which may vary between each State and Territory.
So am I eligible?
There are a number of eligibility requirements applicants (particularly the main applicant) must meet prior to being eligible for application. These are:
- Possess skills and qualifications that align against an occupation featured in the relevant Occupation List.
- Obtain a positive and current Skills Assessment from an approved Assessing Body.
- Satisfy the Points-test through the attainment of at least 65 points.
- Meet age requirements
- Meet English language requirements
- Receive an invitation to apply.
The critical points-test. How do I fare?
The Department of Home Affairs requires the main applicant to score a minimum of 65 points in order to enter the first phase of the application process. Candidates are assessed against their:
- Years of relevant work experience (Australian and Overseas)
- English level
- Partner skills
- Australian Study Requirement
- Specialist Education Requirement
- Any accreditation in a Community Language
- Completion of studies in Regional Australia
- Completion of a Professional Year
There are a number of components to consider within each category of points. To ensure that you’re headed in the right direction, we recommend getting in touch with any one of our Registered Migration Agents to gain an in-depth understanding of exactly how the points system works.
Subclass 491 visa:
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa is a transitional visa. Although it’s temporary in nature, it’s classified as provisional because it provides the visa holder with an opportunity to apply for permanent residency if they’re able to meet certain requirements.
The visa duration is 5 years however upon satisfying the eligibility criteria, the visa applicant has the ability to apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Subclass 191 visa.
Main features of the Subclass 491 visa:
- Requires sponsorship from an Australian State/Territory or an eligible relative residing in an area deemed regional for the purpose of this visa.
- A minimum of 65 points via the points-test.
- Meet age requirements.
- Meet health and character requirements.
- A requirement to live, work and study in a designated regional area for the entire duration of the visa. Your nomination must not be withdrawn throughout the life of the visa.
Subclass 191 visa:
Offers a permanent visa solution to the holders of a Subclass 491 if they meet certain eligibility requirements. In order to qualify for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa application, the visa holders must:
- Have resided in a designated regional area for at least 3 years.
- Have the ability to evidence taxable income for at least 3 years at or above a specific income threshold.
- Comply with the original visa conditions under the initial Subclass 491 visa.
We’ll provide you and your family with relevant and accurate information and where possible, develop a plan to ensure that you’re on the right path.
The Visa Application
A Three-Part Process
Unlike most visa applications, the General Skilled Migration category is unique due to its three components:
- Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage
- Accepting an Invitation to Apply
- Submitting your visa application
While obtaining 65 points allows you to enter the first stage, your EOI will remain in a pool of applications for up to a period of 2 years, awaiting an invitation to apply from the Australian Government. Fortunately for the applicant, during this period of time, your points are susceptible to change if you’re able to claim additional points across any of the recognised categories.
Awaiting an Invitation To Apply
Understanding Invitation Rounds
Each month, the Department of Home Affairs will issue invitations for each occupation approved on the list, subject to occupational ceilings established prior to the year. While 65 points is the minimum number of points a candidate needs to achieve, the government will release an indication of the average number of points recommended for each approved occupation.
Given the complexity and length of the application process along with the frequent changes to legislation and ruling, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent who’s up to speed with all things migration. The entire process is definitely daunting and at the very least, challenging.
Let us make things easier for you. Get in touch with one of our qualified Agents to get you started on the right track.
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