General Skilled Migration

Australia’s General Skilled Migration Program includes a number of options designed to attract migrants who make a significant contribution to the Australian economy. It is the most common form of migration to Australia, and it is one of the core areas of CNA Immigration’s expertise.

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Current Skilled Migration visa options are designed to fill occupations in demand in areas where Australian workers are in limited supply.

Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent) Permanent Visa – Points Tested Stream

The Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa is a permanent residence visa for skilled professionals who have an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) and who have a qualifying score in the points test.

Subclass 189 visa applicants must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs and wait for an invite to apply before they can apply for the visa. Invitations are issued on a monthly basis and places are competitive. The Australian Government operates a merit-based skilled migration program, with applicants achieving the highest score are given priority each month.

Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent) Permanent Visa – New Zealand Stream

The Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa pathway for New Zealand Citizens who hold Special Category subclass 444 visas. The New Zealand stream offers a simplified permanent visa option for New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to and are resident in, Australia.

Visa applicants must demonstrate that they were usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of a least 5 years before the date of application and that continuous period of usual residence in Australia started on or before 19 February 2016.

Note: New Zealand citizens whose first arrival in Australia was after 19 February 2016 are not eligible to apply for this pathway.

Visa applicants must also have had a taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) in the four years immediately applying for the Subclass 189 visa. The TSMIT is currently $53,900 per annum. The figure does not include compulsory employer superannuation.

Subclass 190 (State Nominated) Permanent Skilled Visa

The Subclass 190 State Nominated Permanent Skilled visa is for visa applicants with occupations on the Medium and Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) or the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and secure nomination by a State or Territory Government.

Subclass 190 State Nominated Permanent visa applicants must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs and wait to receive an invitation before they can apply for the visa. Eligible Subclass 190 visa applicants must obtain a qualifying score of 65 in the general skilled migration points test.

Subclass 489 (Skilled-Regional) Provisional Visa

The Subclass 489 visa is a four-year provisional visa which allows holders to live only in certain areas of Australia. Visa applicants would need to be sponsored by an Australian relative living in a designated area, or by a state or territory government. The visa provides applicants with a two-step pathway to permanent residence in Australia.

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 491) visa will commence on 16 November 2019. The Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa will cease at 11:59 pm on 15 November 2019. This will affect the ability of states and territories to nominate and issue invitations for the Subclass 489 visa and for intending migrants to lodge EOI’s and applications for this visa.

The Australian government has confirmed that 10 September 2019 is the last day for states and territory governments to nominate and invitations to be issued to an intending migrant or a Subclass 489 visa. 15 November 2019 will be the last day for individuals who have been invited to apply for a Subclass 489 visa to submit their application with the Department of Home Affairs.

The Subclass 489 visa will be replaced with the Subclass 491 visa from 16 November 2019.

Subclass 887 (Skilled-Regional) Permanent Visa

The Subclass 887 Skilled Regional Permanent visa enables 489 visa holders who have lived in regional Australia for at least two years and worked for at least one to apply for permanent residence. Holders of the subclass 489 visa obtained through a sponsorship by a close family relative must live in a designated area of Australia for a minimum of two years and work in that area for a minimum one year to be eligible for a subclass 887 Skilled Regional permanent visa.

Subclass 485 (Graduate) Temporary Visa

The subclass 485 (Graduate) visa allows international students to live, study and work after they have completed their studies in Australia. Applicants may qualify under the Graduate Work or the Post-Study Work stream.

The Graduate Work stream is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations in Australia.

The Post Study work stream is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian educational institution.

Subclass 476 (Recognised Graduate) Visa

The subclass 476 visa allows recent engineering graduates from certain Universities to live, work or study in Australia for up to 18 months. Visa applicants must have completed a degree or higher qualification from a specified institution within the past two years and be under 31 years of age.