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Do you have skills and experience in high demand in Australia? You may be eligible for temporary or permanent visas.

Read our general information and document checklists in relation to these visa categories below. Contact us directly for specific advice.
Overview

Australia’s General Skilled Migration Program (GSM)

The General Skilled Migration program is used by the Australian government to fill skill gaps in the Australian economy by targeting specific occupations and people with relevant skills and experience. The program covers a number of visas, including pathways to direct permanent residence (the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa, the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa) or a staggered provisional pathway through the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 491) visa. Additional points are awarded to those willing to relocate to designated regional areas.

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In demand occupations
  • Engineers (various)
  • IT professionals (various)
  • Medical professionals (various)
  • Construction and building professionals (various)
Occupation lists
Visa categories
  • Skilled Independent (Subclass 189)
  • Subclass Nominated (Subclass 190)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)
Eligibility

Skilled Independent (Subclass 189)

Generally speaking, the Subclass 189 visa is a points tested permanent residence application (unless applying through the New Zealand stream) which can lead directly to permanent residence. Although anyone can submit an expression of interest through Skill Select, it is an invitation only application where the Department selects the highest scoring candidates out of the eligible pool.

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General eligibility
  • have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • be invited to apply for this visa
  • be under the age of 45 if you are invited to apply for the visa
  • satisfy the points test (score 65 points or more, though pragmatically the minimum score is much higher)
  • have competent English at the time of invitation
  • meet health and character requirements
Documents required
  • your passport biodata page
  • evidence of relationship to family members included in the application (e.g. birth certificates for children, marriage certificate for spouse)
  • police clearances from any country you have lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
  • evidence that you have at least competent English at the time you have been invited to apply for the visa
  • evidence of a positive skills assessment
  • evidence of your qualifications
  • evidence of your employment history (e.g. employment reference letters, payslips)
Process
  • ensure you have evidence of the points you claim and submit an expression of interest through Skill Select
  • wait until you are invited to apply for the visa
  • submit an application within 60 days of your invitation
  • wait for processing until visa grant
Eligibility

Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190)

The Subclass 190 visa is a State sponsored and points tested application which leads directly to permanent residence. Additional steps are required to obtain State/Territory nomination which awards an additional 5 points to the applicant. Although anyone can submit an expression of interest through Skill Select, candidates will only be invited to apply once the State/Territory nomination is approved.

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General eligiblity
  • have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • obtain State nomination from the relevant State authority
  • be invited to apply for this visa
  • be under the age of 45 if you are invited to apply for the visa
  • satisfy the points test (score 65 points or more, though pragmatically the minimum score is much higher)
  • have competent English at the time of invitation
  • meet health and character requirements
Documents required
  • your passport biodata page
  • evidence of relationship to family members included in the application (e.g. birth certificates for children, marriage certificate for spouse)
  • police clearances from any country you have lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
  • evidence that you have at least competent English at the time you have been invited to apply for the visa
  • evidence of a positive skills assessment
  • evidence of a positive State nomination 
  • evidence of your qualifications
  • evidence of your employment history (e.g. employment reference letters, payslips)
Process
  • ensure you have evidence of the points you claim and submit an expression of interest through Skill Select
  • obtain a valid State nomination through the relevant authority
  • wait until you are invited to apply for the visa
  • submit an application within 60 days of your invitation
  • wait for processing until visa grant
Eligibility

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)

The 491 visa is a State / Territory sponsored, 5 year temporary visa designed to permit individuals to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia. It can lead to permanent residence, if eligible, through the Skilled regional (subclass 191) visa which will commence from 16 November 2022.

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General eligibility
  • have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation 
  • be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or an eligible relative must sponsor you
  • be invited to apply for this visa
  • be under the age of 45 if you are invited to apply for the visa
  • satisfy the points test (score 65 points or more, though pragmatically the minimum score is much higher)
  • have competent English at the time of invitation
  • meet health and character requirements
Documents required
  • have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation 
  • obtain State / territory nomination from the relevant government authority
  • if sponsored by a family member, a complete visa Sponsor declaration form along with evidence that they are an eligible relative living in a designated area
  • be invited to apply for this visa
  • be under the age of 45 if you are invited to apply for the visa
  • satisfy the points test (score 65 points or more, though pragmatically the minimum score is much higher)
  • have competent English at the time of invitation
  • meet health and character requirements
The process
  • submit an expression of interest through Skill Select
  • obtain a valid State / territory nomination through the relevant authority or an eligible relative living in a designated regional area
  • wait until you are invited to apply for the visa
  • submit an application within 60 days of your invitation
  • wait for processing until visa grant
  • reside in a designated regional area after your visa is granted

Processing time

20%

Price

50%

Pathways to PR

100%

Simplicity

20%

Work authorisation

100%
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A suite of visas that can lead to unrestricted work authorisation, permanent residence, and pathways to Australian citizenship

Despite being highly competitive, the general skilled migration visas are attractive to candidates who have recognised skills, but lack an employer willing to sponsor the. These visas lead to permanent residence, and are particularly suited for those willing to live in regional Australia. For more information, click the FAQs button on the top right.

GSM Visas

Frequently Asked Questions

I hold a current visa and am in Australia, what if it expires before my general skilled migration visa is approved?

If you are in Australia and hold a substantive visa when you lodge your general skilled migration visa application, in most cases you will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA). This BVA will allow you to remain in Australia during processing of your further visa. However, bear in mind that the general skilled migration visas are usually invitation only. This means simply lodging an expression of interest is not a visa application and will not grant you a bridging visa.

Do I need health, character and / or English assessments for a skilled visa?

Depending on your country of nationality and your travel history, you may require health examinations to process your visa. Hannan Tew will advise you of the relevant assessments once you have completed the information questionnaire.

You will need to provide police clearances for all countries in which you have resided for 12 months or more in the last 10 years.

Do I have any conditions once I have obtained my skilled visa?

Generally speaking the permanent residence visa is granted without conditions (apart from, in some cases, the condition to enter into Australia before a particular date).

However, bear in mind that if you have applied for a regional visa you may have Condition 8579 which provides that visa holders must live, work and study only in a part of Australia that was a designated at the time the visa was granted.

How long is my skilled visa valid for?

The permanent visas so does not have an expiry date. However, these visas are  granted with a 5 year travel facility. This means that unless you obtain citizenship, after the travel facility expiry you will require a further visa (such as a Resident Return Visa) to enter Australia.

The temporary visas are valid for 5 years.

Can I include my family?

Yes, you generally can include your spouse/partner and children in your visa application. They will be granted the same visa as you.

There are specific requirements for children over the age of 18 to demonstrate dependency. Children 23 years or above cannot be included except in very limited circumstances.

I have a dependent partner, can they work?

Yes, your partner will have full work authorisation in Australia which means they can work for any employer.

Can my children study?

Yes. However, different States/ Territories in Australia have different requirements and fees may be applicable. We strongly recommend that you explore this with the education provider directly.

Do the skilled visas grant access to Medicare?

Yes, applying for permanent residence gives you access to Medicare.

Should I just book my health examinations and obtain police clearances?

The Department have appointed particular panel doctors who are authorised to conduct health examinations for Australian visa purposes.

If the health examinations are not carried out by these individuals, they will need to be redone.

The Department also require specific police clearances.

Please wait for instructions from your HT advisor to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily incur any costs or loss of time.

What is the points test?

The points test is the Department’s innovative way of determining how you rank against other applicants applying for the same visa category. You can read more information about the points test here.

What's the difference between a 189 visa and a 190 visa?

Broadly speaking, the subclass 189 visa is the “independent” visa and the subclass 190 visa is state-sponsored (requires a further application to be approved by the State but provides additional points and unlocks further occupations).

What is an EOI?

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is not a visa application. When you submit an EOI you are indicating that you would like to be considered for a skilled visa.

All people interested in the points based general skilled migration visa program will need to submit an EOI and receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.

Your EOI will be stored in SkillSelect and is valid for two years.

Disclaimer

The information contained here is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. The information: (i) must be regarded as a practical guide for general information and not a process guide for determining the specific immigration requirements of the countries covered, (ii) should not be a substitute for a more indepth analysis of applicable facts and circumstances conducted by competent professionals, and (iii) does not represent an opinion from Hannan Tew or any of its agents with regard to the laws of any of the jurisdictions concerned. The information does not guarantee the outcome or approval of any particular immigration application.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience representing applicants apply for general skilled migration visas from all corners of the world, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the general skilled migration program including: skills assessment applications, State / territory nomination applications, visa applications and general advisory.

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