The Australian permanent migration program is highly regulated and currently capped at 160,000 places per annum for the next four years. Of these, about two-thirds are set aside for skilled migration, and the rest are left for family and humanitarian entrants.
For the year 2018-19, 42,840 points-tested visas were issued.
What is the points-tested visa?
The points-tested visa is a permanent visa based on factors – such as age, English language, work experience and qualifications of tradespeople and skilled professionals (‘the applicants’). In order to qualify for this visa, the applicants are required to lodge an expression of interest (EOI) with SkillSelect, an online system that ranks applicants based on the above-mentioned factors, and accordingly invites highly-ranked applicants to apply for permanent points-tested visa.
The applicants are also required to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List and be assessed by a relevant assessing authority as having the skills required for the occupation.
What are the points-tested visas?
There are three (3) main types of points-tested visas in the following:
- Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa
- Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa
- Skilled Regional (subclass 489) visa – to be replaced by subclass 491 and 494 in November 2019.
How does the points-test system work?
|18-24 years: 2525-32 years: 30
33-39 years: 25
40-44 years: 15
|A Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution or a Doctorate from another educational institution that is of a recognised standard: 20A Bachelor degree from an Australian educational institution or a Bachelor qualification, from another educational institution that is of a recognised standard: 15
A diploma or trade qualification completed in Australia: 10
An award or qualification recognised by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated skilled occupation: 10
|Competent English: 0
Proficient English: 10
Superior English: 20
|Skilled employment in the last 10 years – outside Australia|
|Less than 3 years: 0
3-4 years: 5
5-7 years: 10
8-10 years: 15
|Australian Study Requirement|
|At least one degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution that meets the Australian study requirement: 5|
|Skilled employment in the last 10 years – in Australia||Specialist education qualification|
|Less than 1 year: 01-2 years: 5
3-4 years: 10
5-7 years: 15
8-10 years: 20
|A Masters degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution that included at least two academic years in a relevant field: 5|
|Accredited in a community language: 5
Study in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area that meets the Australian study requirement: 5
Partner skill qualifications: 5
Professional year in Australia: 5
|Nomination by a state or territory government: 5|
Minimum points to apply for the points-tested visa is currently 65. This is called the ‘pass mark’.
Example: A person who is 26 years old, has “superior English”, and a Bachelor degree would be able to obtain 65 points on these factors alone.
Points score is soaring
It is important to be aware that obtaining a pass mark of ‘65’ does not guarantee an invitation to apply for a visa. The points for skilled visas remain inflated and many people are applying for state and territory sponsorship.
Realistically, the applicant will require a minimum of 85-90 points (as at 10 June 2019). The highest minimum points score was 95 as at 10 June 2019, for the occupation of Accountants.
Note: When applying for State Sponsorship under the 190 or 489 visa, it is important you are aware of your obligation to live and work for the first 2 years of the visa in the State that sponsors you.
Upcoming changes to the points test
In or around April 2019, the Department of Home Affairs released Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019 to ‘assist regional Australia’.
“The amendments introduce a revised points system for the subclass 491 visa as well as existing General Skilled Migration visas. Points are awarded for attributes that are linked with the applicant’s ability to make the greatest economic contribution, as the key purpose of the skilled migration program is to maximise the economic benefits of migration to Australia.”
The changes to the points test are to introduce:
- more points for having a skilled spouse or de facto partner (10 points);
- more points for applicants nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by a family member residing in regional Australia (15 points);
- more points for having certain STEM qualifications (10 points);
- points for applicants who do not have a spouse or de facto partner (10 points); and
- points for applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English (5 points).
These new changes will benefit both singles and those who have a skilled spouse.
The new system will commence on 16 November 2019.
Whilst Australian migration has become more challenging, there are still viable pathways for many applicants. If you are determined to relocate to Australia then it’s important you seek professional and trusted advice. The rules are constantly changing and it is not enough to rely on expat advice online.
It is undeniable that migration to Australia requires both financial and emotional commitment. At Migration Centre of Australia, we are well-trained to handle highly complex matters. Book one of our agents for professional advice by calling 02 4626 1002 or email us to book in a time at email@example.com.