Skilled Migration Australia
Australia recognises the importance of attracting skilled professionals and in line with this, the Australian government ensures that the Skilled Occupations 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 success, it’s crucial that your application is accurate and complete; and that you remain informed at every stage.
About the Visas
As the name suggests, the GSM program attracts skilled individuals from anywhere in the world. The three main subclasses are:
- The Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)
- The Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190)
- The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)
Both the Subclass 189 and 190 are applications for permanent residency while the Subclass 491 visa is a transitional visa, allowing for permanency after a minimum of 3 years.
The Skilled Migration Programme does not require a nomination or sponsorship from an Australian employer.
The Permanent Visa Options
Subclass 189 and 190
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, a Subclass 190 visa may also require applicants to provide evidence of sufficient funds for settlement, which vary between States and Territory.
So am I eligible?
- 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.
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
The Transitional – Permanent Visa Option
Subclass 491 visa : Stage One
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.
Main features of the Subclass 491 regional visa:
- Visa duration of 5 years
- 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.
- Ability to apply for permanent residency via the Skilled Regional Subclass 191 visa.
Subclass 191 visa : Stage Two
Offers a permanent visa solution to the holder of a Subclass 491 visa 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 subclass 491 visa.
A Three-Part Process
Unlike most visa applications, the General Skilled Migration program is unique in that it’s broken into three components:
- An 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 sit in a pool 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.
Understanding Invitation Rounds
Each month, the Department of Home Affairs issues invitations for each occupation approved on the List, subject to occupation ceilings.
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 change in legislation and rulings, it’s definitely 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.