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Skilled migration – can you pass the points test?

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  • Criteria

Skilled migration has for many years been the main migration program for Australia. In this program, there are three distinct visa subclasses that all require passing the points test. In this article Dr Etienne Hugo of Teleo Immigration Specialists will briefly discuss the different subclasses, the points test and the requirements for each of the subclasses.

Skilled Migration

Skilled migration allows skilled migrants to migrate to Australia either independently or through state/family sponsorship based on their skills and personal profile. This program applies to you if:

  1. You are under the age of 50 (at the time you are invited to apply for the visa),
  2. You have the minimum level of English required, have competent English with a score of 6 in each band of the IELTS test (or equivalent in another test),
  3. You obtained your skills assessment for your occupation by an assessing authority for your nominated occupation.

Once you know you will meet the above basic criteria, the points test will be used as a measure to assess whether you qualify for any of the following visas:

  1. Skilled- Independent – (Subclass 189) – Permanent visa

This visa allows skilled migrants whose occupations are listed on the SOL list (Schedule 1 occupations) to apply independently without necessarily needing state support. Nonetheless state support can be obtained for points reasons. Then an expression of interest (EOI) can be submitted and once invited, the visa application can then be lodged.

  1. Skilled- Nominated – (Subclass 190) – Permanent visa

If the occupation is listed on Schedule 2 of the CSOL, then you must get state support prior to applying for the visa. Each state and territory in Australia has its own occupation list that changes based on the demand and supply of jobs in that certain area. In order for a state/territory to nominate you, your occupation has to be on their list. The different state and territories include: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, ACT and NT.

Once you obtain the necessary state support, you can then apply for an expression of interest (EOI) and once invited, you can apply for the visa.

  1. Skilled- Regional Sponsored (Provisional) – (Subclass 489)

Under this stream, an applicant has to be sponsored by either an eligible Australian relative living in a ‘Designated Area’, or nominated by a participating state or territory government. This is a provisional visa that is valid for 4 years and you will have to live, work or study in the regional area where you were sponsored. You can then apply for a permanent visa: Skilled-Regional (Residence) visa (Subclass 887) after two years.

What is the points test?

The points test is a criteria (not an actual written test) that allows for points to be awarded for each of the following:

  • Age (0-30 points)
  • English language ability (0-20 points)
  • Overseas employment (5-15 points)
  • Australian employment (5-20 points)
  • Professional year (5 points)
  • Educational qualifications (10-20 points)
  • Australian study (5 points)
  • Credentialed community language (5 points)
  • Studying and living in regional Australia (5 points)
  • Partner skills (5 points)
  • State/territory government nomination (Visa Subclass 190) (5 points) and
  • Designated area sponsorship (Visa Subclass 489) (10 points).

The pass mark is 60 points. If you do not achieve the pass mark at the time of application, you won’t be eligible to apply for a skilled migration visa.

For most of the above criteria, there is minimum evidence required to prove your eligibility to the different points.

If an applicant meets all of the above criteria including age, English, skills and passes the points test, then skilled migration is a good option as it does not involve discretion on the part of the Department of Immigration. You will either meet the criteria and have the necessary skills assessment or not. Once you have the state sponsorship (if needed) and the skills assessment approval, you then apply for an expression of interest (EOI) as explained above. Once you are invited by the Department of Immigration to apply, you can then apply for a skilled migration visa.

Useful tips if you are interested in skilled migration

  • Always check the up-to-date SOL & CSOL list (new list was announced applicable from 1 July 2016 with 9 occupations will be REMOVED from the SOL list and 2 occupations will be added to the SOL.
  • Get your skills assessment early on in the process and be aware of the expiry date.
  • With English requirement, you can only receive extra points if EACH of the IELTS test components is at least 7 (you receive 10 points) or 8 (you receive 20 points) or equivalent in another test. The average is not relevant.
  • Alternative English tests include TOFEL, PTE, Cambridge English & OET (only relevant to certain health occupations).


IMPORTANT NOTICE: ImmiAdvisor recommends you obtain your own independent immigration, legal, accounting, financial or taxation advice as appropriate. It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all information provided through this blog/website. In no event will ImmiAdvisor Pty Ltd be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance upon any information contained on or omitted from this blog/website.

Marial Lewis

Marial is an accredited specialist lawyer in Immigration Law and a multi-award…

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