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Australia Skilled Visa

Australia is one of the prime and most popular destinations for skilled migrants. The country has commanded attention in Skilled Immigration trends for a long time and emerged as one of the most sought after destinations as immigrants’ human capital characteristics are currently best rewarded in the Australian labour market.

Every year hundreds of thousands of foreign workers choose to migrate to Australia all thanks to the lifestyle and employment opportunities this magnificent country offers.

Skilled professionals who want to migrate to Australia can apply through General Skilled Migration Program, which is designed to fill the skill gaps to meet the country’s economic needs.

What is General Skilled Migration Program?

GSM (General Skilled Migration) program is a point based system, which is a gateway to obtain Australian permanent residency for individuals with special skills.

The eligibility of skilled migrants is subject to test score obtained in the Skill Select program, where points are awarded after considering the age, work experience, qualifications and language proficiency of the aspirant along with points of state or relative sponsorship, if applicable.

Applicants must meet at least 65 points from the General Skilled Migration (Skill Select) point’s tables to be considered.

The program has 3 major visa subclasses:

  • Skilled Independent visa – subclass 189;
  • Skilled Nominated visa – subclass 190; and
  • Skilled Regional (PROVISIONAL) visa – subclass 491

What are the basic eligibility criteria to start General Skilled Migration application process?

To be eligible to start Australian General Skilled Migration application process, applicants must fulfil certain requirements, including:

  • Make sure that his/her nominated occupation is on demand list of Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) or Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  • Be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation
  • Have a minimum 1 year of work experience in last 10 years  (as per the requirement of skill assessment authority)
  • Get a positive skill assessment from the relative authority
  • Meet the minimum language proficiency requirements- minimum 6 bands in each module of IELTS or equivalent tests like PTE. However, minimum language requirement varies from occupation to occupation.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

Australian Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) is a Permanent Visa and falls under the Australian Immigration points-based system. In order to apply, applicants must furnish that they possess the qualification or the skills of an occupation in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Applicants do not need sponsorship from family or the Australian State/ Territory Government nomination. The applicant has to score a minimum of 65 Points in order to qualify.

Features of this Program:

  • This visa Category permits the applicant an indefinite stay in Australia.
  • Permanent residents under the Australian Skilled Immigration Program have full access to health care benefits and certain social security payments.
  • Permanent residents under this Category can apply for citizenship of Australia after staying there for 4 years.
  • Once landed in Australia, the applicant can sponsor his/her family for permanent residency in Australia.
  • Dependents can accompany the applicant, provided they comply with the Australian Migration Law.

Eligibility criteria:

In order to qualify for a Skilled Visa, the applicants have to satisfy the below mentioned basic criteria:

  • Age:Applicant must be under 45 years of age at time of invitation.
  • English language:The applicant should prove that he/she meets the English language of competent level by submitting the test results before the application is lodged. He/ she should also meet the English Language threshold of minimum 6 bands of IELTS in all the components.
  • Nominated Occupations:The applicant should nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) that matches with his/her skills, qualifications and work experience.
  • Skill Assessment:It is mandatory for an applicant to get a positive skill assessment for a nominated occupation before the visa application is lodged.

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

Designed by the Australian government to address skill shortages in the country, subclass 190  is a viable option to apply for Australian permanent residency for the individuals who cannot meet the Skilled Independent criteria and for those applicants whose occupation is not listed in the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

The basic requirement of this visa is to get a sponsorship from a sponsoring State/ Territory in Australia. They also need to meet the points test by scoring 65 points.

The Skilled Sponsored Visa is only a Permanent Resident Visa and the applicants under this category must live in Specified State from which he/she has been nominated for at least 2 years.

Features of Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190):

  • The applicant has to be sponsored by State /Territory Government.
  • Permanent residents under the Australian Skilled Immigration Program have full access to health care benefits and certain social security payments.
  • Permanent residents under this Category can apply for citizenship of Australia after staying there for 4 year.
  • Once landed in Australia, applicants can sponsor their family for permanent residency in Australia.
  • Dependents can accompany the applicant, provided they comply with the Australian Migration Law.

Eligibility Criteria:

The applicants have to satisfy the basic requirements to migrate under the skilled sponsored visa, which include.

  • Age:applicant must be under 45 years of age at time of invitation.
  • English language proficiency:The applicant should prove that he/she meets the English language of competent level by submitting the test results before the application is lodged. He/ she should also meet the English Language threshold (IELTS 6 bands in all the components- Listening, Reading, Writing & Speaking). In case if applicant needs 10 or 20 points under Proficiency in English (IELTS 7 or more bands/ 8 or more bands respectively in all the components), English Language test results are required.
  • Nominated Occupations:The applicant should nominate an occupation in the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Short term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) that is relevant to the applicant’s skills, qualifications and recent work experience. The occupation should also be available in the respective state that will sponsor the applicant.
  • Skill Assessment:It is mandatory for an applicant to get a positive skill assessment for a nominated occupation before the application is lodged.
  • Maintenance funds:The applicants should show sufficient maintenance funds to obtain sponsorship from state territory.
  • Health & character requirements:The applicants also need to meet with health and character requirements.

SKILLED WORK REGIONAL (PROVISIONAL) SUBCLASS 491 VISA

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 is a skilled and points tested provisional visa which allows the visa holder to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia for 5 years. It also allows the visa holder to travel to and from Australia as many times as he/she wants, while the visa is valid.

Applicants must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a regional area and be invited to apply for the visa, following submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect.

Regional areas include everywhere except the metropolitan areas of; Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.

The subclass 491 visa overruled the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa from 16 November 2019.

Benefits Of Applying under Subclass 491 Visa

  • Visa holders will be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence visa after three years under Skilled Regional 191 Visa (commencing from November 2022).
  • The subclass 491 visa will be accessible for more people as over 500 new occupations are eligible to apply under this visa
  • 15,000 places allocated each year
  • priority processing of applications

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply under Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 visa, applicant must:

  • be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or must be sponsored by an eligible relative
  • be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation
  • score at least 65 points on the Points Test
  • have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list – MLTSSL or STSOL
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • be invited to apply by the state or Department of Home Affairs
  • meet health and character requirements

Point Allocation

There is a revised points system for the 491 visa so applicants have new ways to earn points towards their score.

Applicants will get:

15 points = for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia

10 points = for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications

Partner points

10 points = if one of the following applies:

  • skilled spouse or de facto partner (Skills assessment and Competent English); or
  • applicants without a spouse or de facto partner (single)

5 points = if applicant has a partner who can demonstrate Competent English but is not eligible for a positive skill assessment.

Points will still apply based on applicant’s age, qualification, years of overseas and/or Australian skilled work experience, Australian study and English skills, as they do under the 489 visa and other skilled visas.

Processing times

Australian Department of Home Affairs assesses applications on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary from case to case.