Skilled Migration Visas

| December 29, 2016


Overview of General Skill Migration process

If you are looking to migrate to Australia and have skills that are in demand in Australia, you may be able to gain permanent residency through the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program. The GSM program is different to other types of visa applications and it can be confusing. We have noticed an increased interest in the GSM program but also a general misunderstanding of the process, so in this blog we have set out information that will help you decide whether the GSM program is for you and if so what you need to know to make your application.

The Australian Skilled Migration visas are points based system designed to attracted high qualified and experienced professionals on fields in demand in Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection introduced The Australian SkillSelect system on 1 July 2012, which brought big changes to the General Skilled Migration program. SkillSelect is an online service that helps Australian government to manage the inflow of skilled migrants according to job market demand. In this way, Australian government also choose who can apply for skilled migration and when they can apply. This reduce waiting time and faster processing times for applications. This will enable people to reach their migration outcome much quicker than was previously possible. These changes created great opportunities for people who may not have previously been eligible for migration to Australia

The application process

The visa process can be broken down into a four main stages;

1. Preparation

Before lodging your expressions of interest (EOI) you must prepare all your required documentation. This can include applying to the appropriate skills assessing body for a skills assessment for your nominated occupation, obtaining an IELTS English exam, appropriate police checks, medicals, military discharge documents, references and other suitable documents to evidence current and previous employment. Depending on your circumstances divorce documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates, de facto relationship evidence and sorting out any custody issues. It is also important to self assess yourself to see if you meet the require threshold and are indeed eligible.

2. Lodge an expression of interest (EOI)

The first stage for applying for a visa in the GSM program is to lodge an EOI. In doing so you will be required to provide basic personal information, your nominated occupation, work experience, study and education history, level of English skills, details from your Skills Assessment and your business and investment experience. You will then be given a score and will be ranked. You will not be shown your ranking. DIAC uses the ranking system to determine who to invite to apply for a skilled visa. Your chances of being asked to apply for a visa therefore strongly depend on the quality of your EOI. Your EOI will be valid for a maximum of two years. You are able to update it when your circumstances change. It is important to keep your EOI up to date. It may be too late to update this information after you have been invited to apply.

If you are applying for the 190 subclass most state/territories authorities require you to make an application to them and provide your EOI details. All state/territories have different requirements and processes to be followed.

3. Be invited to apply

Based on your EOI, DIAC may invite you to apply for a visa. Invitations are currently being made twice monthly for 189 visas and are normally automatic once sponsorship from a state/territory authority is confirmed.

For Independent and family sponsored visas, people with the highest ranking EOIs will be invited to apply subject to preset occupation ceilings.

For applicants sponsored by a state or territory government, you only need to have enough points to meet the current pass mark for the visa for which you are applying.

4. Apply for a visa

If you receive an invitation to apply for a GSM visa, you will have 60 days from the date of invitation to make a valid visa application. After 60 days, your invitation will expire and you will have to wait for another invitation to be eligible to apply for a GSM visa.

Advantages of the GSM process for applicants

Employers can have access to skilled workers with relative ease and speed. This means that by lodging an EOI you are making yourself known to possible employees. This could improve your chances of being sponsored by an employer to work in Australia.
Once you have been invited and then you make your application to DIAC the processing of your visa will be considerably faster than pre 1 July 2012 applications.

Disadvantages of the GSM program for applicants

You can only apply for a GSM visa if you have been invited to do so.

There are no avenues to have your case reviewed until you have lodged an application. You cannot appeal DIAC’s failure to invite you to apply for a GSM visa even if you have lodged an EOI.
You are not eligible for a bridging visa until you have physically lodged your visa application. This means that you are not eligible for a bridging visa if you have submitted an EOI or have been invited to apply but have not yet lodged your visa application. The GSM program therefore may not be a good option for you if your visa is due to expire soon.
If you have any questions about the GSM application process or would like help with any of the four stages of the process please contact us.

There are basic requirements you must meet to apply for this visa.

You must:

  • Be invited to apply after lodgement of your EOI (Expression Of Interest)
  • Be younger than 50 years of age when you are invited to apply
  • Nominate an occupation that matches your skills and qualifications and is on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • Have your skills assessed by the relevant assessment authority as suitable for your nominated occupation
  • Have a competency in English
  • Score at least 60 on the points test
  • Meet the health and character requirements

Please note that:

  • to apply for independent skilled visa (subclass 189) for Australia you need to be able to meet the qualifications and experience for an occupation that is on one SOL List.
  • for employer sponsored and state sponsored visa types your occupation has to be on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.

There are a variety of skilled migration options:
Skilled Independent Subclass 189
Permanent visa option, the skilled independent does not require sponsorship by a relative or state/territory government
Skilled Nominated Subclass 190
A permanent visa requiring nomination by an Australian State or Territory government
Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 
This is a 4-year provisional visa which allows holders to live only in certain areas of Australia. You would need to be sponsored by an Australian relative living in a designated area, or by a state or territory government. This points-based visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area in Australia.
Skilled Regional Subclass 887
The Skilled Regional visa is the permanent stage of the Skilled Regional Provisional visa. To qualify for a Skilled Regional visa, you must live in the required region of Australia for 2 years and work full time there for 12 months.
Graduate Temporary Subclass 485
The Graduate Temporary visa is a work visa which can be applied for by international students who have completed a qualification taking 2 years of study in Australia.
Recognised Graduate Subclass 476
An 18 month work visa for recent engineering graduates

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Category: General Skilled Visas, MIgration

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