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Skilled Visas
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General Skilled Visa

This visa is suitable for people who are well qualified with work experience in their field. It aims to meet Australia's skills shortages and gives successful applicants permanent residence. This visa is appropriate for those who hold a university qualification or trade qualifications.

How it works

If you want to apply for this visa you must be qualified and under 50 years of age when you apply for this visa. Your nominated occupation, which fits your skills and qualifications, must be on the list of approved occupations for migration to Australia, which is adjusted by the Government from time to time. ( (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) from DIBP).

Before you apply for a visa you have to obtain a positive skill-assessment by the relevant Australian skills assessing authority.

You also have to show recent work experience for a period of time in your field, or in another field that is on the skilled occupation list. In addition you have to show threshold English and also meet the health, character and public interest requirements.

To be granted this visa you must pass what is called the Points Test. Points are allocated for qualifications, age, English language ability, work experience, your spouse's skills. Extra points are given to those applicants who have family in Australia, who have Australian qualifications or those with skills in demand.

Skill Select

Australia manages its Skilled Independent Migration Visa Application Program, through an Expression of Interest (EOI), points based, "SkillSelect" program (subclass 189 and 190 visas).

The SkillSelect program is aimed at migrants who meet the requirements in respect of their qualifications and work experience in specific listed occupations. Individual visa applicants are invited based upon a Points Test, with applicants selected from the pool generally in relation to their score and EOI date. DIBP and the individual States and Territories have specified lists of occupations in demand (MLTSSL, STSOL lists and the State Migration Plans).

The demand for each occupation is monitored and quotas are set for each occupation. Several popular occupations are offered on a pro-rata basis targeting higher scoring applicants. Therefore, strategies and tactics may be useful when considering making an EOI.

The SkillSelect system means that DIBP, unlike previously, are no longer required to process all applications that meet the required number of points. Rather the new scheme provides DIBP with control of the ability to select who it invites to apply for visas based upon a combination of the individuals skills combined with occupation quotas to ensure certain occupations are not over-represented. The program was changed to ensure the skilled migration program addressed the needs of Australia.

The consequence for applicants is that just passing the points requirement may not result in a visa grant. The competition with other applicants as well as other factors influence the likelihood of being invited to apply for a visa. Depending on an individual's intentions and skills, tactics can be considered aimed at increasing the likelihood of selection.

Skilled Independent Migrants

It is no longer possible to apply directly for a skilled independent visas. Prospective applicants are now first required to submit an Expression of Interest, detailing how they fit the criteria for application. The individual criteria provide each applicant with a points score. Applicants with scores (currently) over 60 are eligible to make an Expressions of Interest.

Expressions of Interest are placed into a pool for up to two years. Individuals are selected from the pool based on the top-ranking scores (this score varies), or other selected criteria such as priority processing. Invitations to apply for a visa are then sent to selected applicants.

The Expression of Interest is not static and an applicant gaining extra points, e.g. for age, can increase their score and therefore the likelihood of being drawn for the pool.


  • For independent applications the applicants nominated occupation must be listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL .
  • Applicants with an occupation listed on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)may be eligible for State or Territory sponsorship.
  • be under 50 (at time of invitation - NB not EoI)
  • skills assessed required matching your skills and qualifications in the nominated occupation
  • English language skills
  • score at least 60 on the points test:
  • meet health and character criteria
  • partners and dependent family members may be included in the application

Applicants wishing to commit to living and working for 2 years in a specific State or Territory can also consider the State Sponsorship scheme (subclass 489)for a Skilled Sponsored visa.

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