26th April 2018
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Home | Employment Visas | Skilled Visa

Skilled Visa

Under Australia's General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, there are a series of visa options available to skilled workers intending to migrate to Australia, who are not sponsored by an eligible employer.

Skilled workers may apply for an Australian visa as either:

  • an independent migrant; or
  • on the basis of sponsorship by a relative or nomination by a state or territory government.

Skilled Visa Process

From 1 July 2012, applications for Skilled Migration to Australia are made under the new Skill Select scheme.  

Under Skill Select, intending skilled migrants are now required to first lodge an on-line Express Of Interest (EOI) in migrating to Australia.

Intending skilled visa applicants are not able to apply for a skilled visa until they receive an invitation to apply for a skilled visa from the Australian Government.  

How to migrate to Australia under Skills Select

Step 1: Assess your Skilled Visa options  

You will either apply as:

  • an Independent (Subclass 189); or
  • with a State Government as your Sponsor (Subclass 190); or 
  • where you are unable to meet the minimum points score, the temporary Subclass 489) under a State Migration Plan.  

To apply for a Skilled Independent Visa application you must have a skills assessment in one of the occupations listed under Schedule 1 of the CSOL List.

To apply with a State Government Sponsor, you can have a skills assessment in one of the occupations listed under Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the CSOL List.  If you intend to apply under a State Migration plan you should find out which States are sponsoring for your occupation and review their criteria.

Step 2: Obtain a positive Skills Assessment in your nominated occupation

Each nominated occupation has an independent relevant assessing authority which is authorised to assess your skills for migration purposes (e.g., the skills assessing authority for IT professionals is the Australian Computer Society). 

Step 3: Complete an IELTS English test  

A general level IELTS English test is required to claim any points for English under the skills points test (even where you are the holder of a native English speaking country passport).   A score of 7.0 gives you 10 points and a score of 8.0 gives you 20 points. English scores must be achieved in all 4 sections of the test to be awarded points (e.g., 7.0 in reading, writing, listening, speaking).  

Step 4: Lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI)  

All information used in your EOI must be accurate, as it will be auto-generated to form the basis of your visa application in the event that you receive an invitation. If you change the information submitted to the Department of Immigration & Citizenship at the visa application stage, your case may be referred for consideration under criteria 4020 (provision of incorrect or misleading information, which is a basis for refusal of an application even where you otherwise meet the criteria for the visa).

Step 5: Apply for State Sponsorship to your chosen State or Territory (if applicable)

Each State and Territory has a State Migration Plan which provides a list of occupations required in their State and their criteria to obtain sponsorship.

Step 6: Receive an Invitation and Apply for Skilled Migration  

To accept the invitation to migrate to Australia you lodge your application for a skilled visa online and upload supporting documents for your visa to be assessed and granted.

How Do I Get A SkillSelect Invitation?

Apply for a skilled visa under a State Migration Plan

If you apply for a Skilled visa sponsored under a State Migration Plan you will automatically receive an invitation from the Australian Government to lodge your subclass 190 visa application when the State or Territory nominates you in the Skill Select system.  Once nominated you can lodge your visa application.

SkillSelect Invitation Rounds for Skilled Independent Visas

If you apply for a Skilled Independent visa you will need an invitation to be issued in one of the Skill Select invitation rounds from the Australian Government before you can lodge an application.

For independent applicants, invitations will be issued to applicants with the highest score at the time of assessment subject to occupation ceilings.  

Recently, Skill Select invitation rounds have been on the 1st and 15th of each month with applicants receiving invitations with a points score as low as 65 points. 

How long will it take to get a Skilled Visa under Skill Select

As at 31 January 2014, applications lodged under Skill Select are being allocated to a case officer within weeks of lodgment with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).  

Certain skilled visa applications are subject to priority processing in accordance with the Minister's 1 July 2012 direction. At present, processing allocation dates for both independent and state sponsored skilled visa are the same, with both taking ten (10) weeks to process from the date they are allocated to a case officer.

 DIBP - Allocation Dates Effective 31 January 2014 

Skilled Visa

Priority Group 3                   

Priority Group 4                         

Priority Group 5


189 Skilled - Independent        

N/AWithin 10 weeks of lodgmentN/A                                     

190 Skilled - Nominated

Within 7 weeks of lodgmentN/AN/A                       
489 Skilled - RegionalWithin 7 weeks of lodgmentWithin 10 weeks of lodgment



Skilled Visa Options

To determine which skilled visas best suits your particular needs and circumstances, please read the various skilled visa options listed below and then, take our Free Australian Visa Eligibility Assessment to find out if you meet the basic requirements for your preferred visa.

Skilled – Independent (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 189)

Skilled – Independent Migrant visa is a permanent visa intended for people that have skills which are in demand within Australia’s labour market. Applicants for this visa do not need a sponsor, but they must pass a points test.

Skilled - Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass 190)

Applicants for this visa need to be sponsored by an appropriate State or Territory government body.  Applicants for a Skilled - Sponsored visa still need to pass a points test but obtain five (5) bonus points for having a State or Territory sponsor.

Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489)

This visa entitles the holder to a three (3) year provisional residence in Australia.  Applicants need to pass the points test and receive 10 bonus points for having a sponsor.  Holders of this visa are permitted to apply for a permanent visa after they have lived for two (2) years and worked for at least one (1) year in a Specified Regional Area.

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