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A Comprehensive Guide to Australian Skilled Migration Program

Posted on August 10, 2019
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Australia is an ideal destination for skilled workers because there is a huge demand for skilled human resources in this country.  The country is always open to skilled migrants and the competitive salaries and attractive lifestyle are good reasons to try your luck here.

Australian Skilled Migration Program

To select workers with appropriate skills, the Australian government devised the General Skilled Migration (Skillselect) program in 2013 to replace the Australia skilled worker visas. Under this system, there are five visa subclasses.

  1. Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)
  2. Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190)
  3. Graduate Temporary visa (Subclass 485)
  4. Skilled Nominated or Sponsored visa (Provisional) (Subclass 489)
  5. Skilled Regional visa (Subclass 887)

Skillselect Program:

 The Skillselect program was devised to assess applicants with skills under a point-based system so that migrants with the right skills can be selected. The applicants are given points under the following criteria:

Age: Scores are given based on the age group the applicant belongs to.  Those between the ages of 25 and 32 score the most points while those above 45 do not gain any points.

English language proficiency: You are required to take the IELTS test.  If you score 8 bands or more, you get 20 points.

Skilled employment: If you have experience in a skilled occupation that is listed in the Skilled Occupations List you will get points based on the years of experience. 20 is the maximum points you can gain in this criterion.

 Educational qualification: Points are given based on your highest educational qualification. To get points, your qualification must be related to your nominated occupation. The highest is 20 points if you have a doctorate while a bachelor’s or master’s degree will give you 15 points.

 Australian qualifications: You can get five points if you have an Australian qualification from an Australian educational institute.  You should have done the course from an Australian institute while you were in Australia. And you should have studied for at least two years.

Regional study: You can gain an additional 5 points if you have lived and studied in regional Australia in a place with a low population.

 Community language skills: You will gain another 5 points if you have translator/ interpreter level skills in one of the country’s communities languages. These language skills must be recognized by Australia’s National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

Spouse/partner skills and qualifications: If you have included your spouse/partner in the application and he/she is not an Australian resident/citizen, then their skills are eligible to be counted towards your total points. You will gain an additional five points if your spouse/partner meets the basic requirements of the Australian General Skilled Migration like age, English language proficiency and nominated occupation.

Professional year: You will stand to gain another 5 points if you have completed a Professional Year in Australia in the last five years. In a professional year, you will undergo a structured professional development program that will combine formal training with on-the-job experience.

You must score a minimum of 65 points to qualify for a visa under the General Skilled Migrant Program. You can try some free online General Skilled Migration tests to see how well you are faring and whether you qualify for a visa. If you do, you can start the visa application process.

What are the first steps in applying for a work visa in Australia?

  • Determine the category of work visa that you are eligible for
  • Ensure that you satisfy the requirements of the points-based assessment (Skillselect)
  • Make sure your employer completes an online nomination/sponsorship form before you can apply for the visa.
  • Fill the online application form of the visa category you eligible for.
  • Submit the relevant information and supplementary documents along with your application.
  • Pay your application fee for processing your visa.

The application process varies between each subclass of the General Skilled migration subclasses which was mentioned at the top.

Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189):

You are eligible for this visa if you are not sponsored by an employer, territory or state or family members. This visa allows you to permanently live and work here and even bring your family members.

Prior to giving your application, you must give an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. This can be done within or outside of Australia.

 The applications are by invitation only, for this you should:

Have Experience in a nominated occupation on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List

Get a skill assessment report by a designated authority for that occupation

  • Submit an Expression of Interest
  • Be between 18-50 years
  • Must meet general Skilled Migration basic requirements
  • Score at least 60 on the points test

Once you receive an invitation to apply for this visa, you must do so within 60 days.

Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190):

You qualify for this visa if you are nominated by an Australian state or territory. The privileges in this visa are the same as the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)

The application requirements are similar except that you should have experience in a nominated occupation on the Skilled Occupations List.

Graduate Temporary visa (Subclass 485):   

This visa is for migrant students who have studied for two years in Australia. They can live and work here between 18 months and 4 years.

There are two streams for the Subclass 485 visa:

  • Graduate work: This is for students who have completed 2 years of study in Australia. Their course of study must be related to the nominated occupation. The validity of the visa is 18 months.
  • Post-study work: This visa is for international students who have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher degree at an Australian institution. They can stay on this visa for up to 4 years. However, these applicants will not need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
  • The length of stay depends on the applicant’s qualifications:
    • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree – 2 years
    • Research-based master’s degree – 3 years
    • Ph.D. – 4 years

Family members can be included in this visa. The privileges offered in this visa are:

  • Work and live in Australia on a temporary basis
  • Study in Australia
  • Travel in and out of the country during the visa’s validity

Skilled Nominated or Sponsored visa (Provisional) (Subclass 489):

For this visa, you should be nominated by a state or territory to live in a Regional or Low Population Growth Area or sponsored by a relative living in Australia. Features of this visa are:

  • Valid for four years
  • Visa holder must live and work in a designated regional area
  • Eligible family members can be part of the application

Legal permanent residence:

If you complete 2 years of living and 12 months of working in regional or low population growth are, you are eligible to apply for Skilled Regional Subclass 887 visa, which grants permanent residency in Australia.

The application is by invitation only. However, the application requirements are like those for other visas.

Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) visa:

This is a second stage permanent visa and does away with points-based requirements. This visa provides legal permanent residence as well.

The requirement to obtain the visa:

Applicant must have one of the following visas granted to him or the spouse or partner:

  • Provisional Skilled – Independent Regional (subclass 495) visa
  • Provisional Skilled – Designated Area – Sponsored (subclass 496) visa
  • A bridging visa if there is a valid application for a subclass 495 visa.

Applicant and dependents must have lived for at least two years and worked full time for one year in one of the specified regional areas.

If you have trouble decoding the various requirements of Australia Skilled Immigration visa, talk to an immigration consultant. Their end-to-end assistance will make the whole process a lot easier.

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