Skilled Migration Overview
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 (Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa); or
- on the basis of sponsorship by a relative (Subclass 489 Skilled Visa); or
- nomination by a state or territory government (Subclass 190 / 489 Skilled Nominated 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 four (4) 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.
Skilled Migration Process
Applications for Skilled Migration to Australia are made under the Skill Select scheme.
Under Skill Select, intending skilled migrants are required to first lodge an online Expression 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.
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 at: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L00299
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).
You can find a complete list of the relevant skills assessing bodies here: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/work/skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities/assessing-authorities
Step 3: Complete an English Language 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).
English language testing bodies are listed on the Department of Home Affairs website: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/lega/lega/form/immi-faqs/aelt
Step 4: Lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI)
Once you have obtained a positive skills assessment outcome letter and a suitable English language test result:
- Complete our online Questionnaire; and then
- Schedule a consultation to speak directly with our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist
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 Home Affairs 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.