At first glance, Australia’s General Skilled Migration Program may appear complex, but it is actually quite simple. Each of the visas offered by the Australian government is explained in detail in this post, including the differences between and the basics of each visa.
To begin, here are some of the commonalities among the various categories of General Skilled Migration visas:
All three visas have the same basic requirements. The following is true for all three types of applicants:
- be under the age of 45 at the time of your visa application
- nominating an occupation for inclusion in one of the lists
- prior to submitting a visa application, have obtained a positive result on their Skills Assessment
- meet the linguistic requirements of the course
- In the Points Test, you must score at least 65 points
- The “points test system” applies to all these three visas
Once you have completed all those conditions, it is now time to prepare and submit an EOI (Expression of Interest), which is an electronic application to indicate your interest in apply for a visa inside the Skill Select, an online system operated by the Department of Home Affairs. All invitations are granted for these three visa subclasses: 189, 190 and 491 through this system.
Major Differences between GSM 189, 190 and 491 visas
So we showed you the commonalities and the requirements shared by all 3 General Skilled Migration Visas in Australia, but there are several distinctions and they start once the EOI is lodged. Let’s study them:
Permanent Skilled Independent Visa – Subclass 189
The 189 visa is the greatest option since, as its name implies, it is permanent and independent, allowing holders to reside and work in any part of Australia. No matter whether you were onshore or offshore when you applied or were nominated for this visa, there are no conditions linked to it once it has been granted.
There are a limited number of occupations that qualify for this visa, which makes it the most competitive, and only a select few specialists can apply. Relevant is the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skilled List).
Before/ after the epidemic it was already challenging to get invited for this visa because to the government’s decision to issue less invitations for it. There are currently even fewer invitations being issued as a result of the pandemic.
Just to put things in perspective, the Australian government issued around 30,000 invites to apply for the 189 Visa up until June 30th, 2019.
Due to the system’s prioritisation of those with greater points, those with lower points will be left out before those with higher points can be invited. Only those with 90 or 95 points have been invited in the past.
Permanent Skilled Nominated Visa Subclass 190
As with the 189, the 190 is also a permanent visa, and the application process is nearly identical, with the exception that in this case, applicants are invited to apply by a state or region, rather than the federal government (SkillSelect).
There are some states, like New South Wales and Victoria, where only candidates with high marks/ points are invited to participate.
Nomination requirements vary between states and territories of Australia, and each has its own set of rules for who it will accept as a candidate for a 190 visa.
Only those who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:
- You can apply if your occupation is on the MLTSSL or the STSOL list of short-term skilled occupations. But it’s not enough to just be on one of those lists; it also needs to be on a list for a specific state or territory.
- Individual states and territories choose which occupations they believe are in short supply in their region from lists such as MLTSSL and STSOL.
- It is highly usual for states and territories to offer preference to residents, students, or workers currently residing, studying, or working in the region.
- Nominations for foreign residents are also available in some states.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa Subclass 491
The 491 visa is similar to the 190 visa in that a State or Territory Nomination is required, but the 491 visa is a temporary visa with a five-year validity period.
You and your family must live in a selected regional area of Australia for at least three years and earn at least $53,900 per year if you are granted a 491 visa.
The Permanent Visa subclass 191 will finally allow you to live and work in any part of Australia for the rest of your life if you’ve met those two requirements.
To assist you plan your path to Permanent Residency in Australia we have an insider’s tip: State governments are prioritising 491 visas, which require applicants to live in a remote area for at least three years, above 190.
Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne are excluded from regional areas, which cover the rest of the country.
You should always check with a Registered Migration Agent to see if you qualify before you apply, so that you are aware of your options and can devise a strategy for achieving your goals.