HomeComprehensive Guide to Australia’s Skilled Migration Program: Visa Options and Eligibility CriteriaAustraliaComprehensive Guide to Australia’s Skilled Migration Program: Visa Options and Eligibility Criteria

Comprehensive Guide to Australia’s Skilled Migration Program: Visa Options and Eligibility Criteria

Australia has established itself as a global hub for skilled migration, attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds with valuable expertise. Skilled professionals and eligible workers are pivotal in Australia’s economic advancement through specialised visa programs. These initiatives target specific skill shortages within the Australian labour market, fostering a competitive and vibrant workforce.

The Australian skilled migration system uses a points-based assessment to evaluate candidates based on criteria such as age, education, work experience, English language proficiency, and essential skills. This meticulous screening process aims to identify individuals poised to make significant contributions across various sectors, including healthcare, IT, engineering, and more.

The skilled migration program remains integral to Australia’s long-term economic sustainability and innovation strategy. As immigration laws evolve to meet evolving labour market demands, Australia prioritises skilled migration as a cornerstone of its economic growth trajectory.

The skilled migration program addresses skill shortages in the Australian workforce and contributes to the country’s economic development. As part of the Skilled Migration Program, Australia grants a number of visas, including:

189 (Skilled Independent) Visa

The Skilled Independent Visa, also known as the Subclass 189 Visa, is a points-tested visa designed for individuals with in-demand skills to reside, work, and settle in Australia permanently. This visa offers three streams: the Points-Tested Stream, the New Zealand Stream (now closed to new applicants), and the Hong Kong Stream.

Under the Subclass 189 Visa, individuals gain the freedom to live, work, study, and settle in Australia indefinitely. Furthermore, visa holders can travel to and from Australia for a period of 5 years, sponsor relatives for migration to Australia, access Medicare benefits, and apply for Australian citizenship once eligible.

To qualify for Subclass 189, applicants must meet several criteria, including having a profession listed on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), obtaining a suitable skills assessment, scoring at least 65 points, submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), receiving an invitation to apply, and meeting health, skills, and character requirements.

190 (Skilled Nominated) Visa

The Skilled Nominated Visa, also known as the Subclass 190 Visa, offers a points-tested pathway for skilled workers to obtain permanent residency in Australia, granting them the freedom to reside, work, and study across the country. Visa holders can also sponsor their relatives for permanent residency, enjoy travel to and from Australia for a period of 5 years, access Medicare benefits, and pursue Australian citizenship if they meet the eligibility criteria.

To qualify for the Subclass 190 Visa, applicants must meet several requirements. They must have an occupation in demand for this visa, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect*, receive a nomination from a government agency, and be invited by the Department of Home Affairs to apply. Additionally, applicants must score a minimum of 65 points and meet health, character, age, and English language proficiency standards.


491 (Skill Work Provisional) Visa

The Subclass 491, also known as the Skilled Work Provisional Visa, is tailored for skilled workers seeking to establish themselves in regional Australia. Applicants can either receive a nomination from an Australian state or territory government agency or be sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area.

Holders of this visa are entitled to live, work, and study in a designated regional area of Australia for up to 5 years. If eligible, they can also apply for permanent residence after holding the Subclass 491 visa for 3 years. To qualify, applicants must meet various criteria, including scoring at least 65 points, obtaining a suitable skills assessment, being under 45 years of age, and satisfying health and character requirements.

191 (Skilled Regional PR) Visa
The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa, also known as the Subclass 191 Visa, offers an opportunity for individuals who have resided and worked in designated regional areas of Australia under an eligible visa to establish permanent residency in the country. This visa encompasses two streams: the Regional Provisional Stream for those who have fulfilled requirements in designated regional areas and the Hong Kong Stream for eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders committed to Australia.

The benefits of the Subclass 191 Visa include permanent residency status, access to Medicare services, the ability to sponsor relatives, 5 years of unrestricted travel to and from Australia, and authorisation to work and study in the country. Notably, there is no minimum income requirement for this visa pathway. Eligibility criteria entail meeting health and character standards, having no prior visa rejections, and holding an eligible visa while adhering to its conditions.

887 (Skilled Regional) Visa

The Skilled Regional Visa, also known as the Subclass 887 Visa, is designed for individuals who have previously resided and worked in specified regional areas under an eligible visa. This visa grants permanent residency, allowing individuals to live and work indefinitely in Australia, pursue permanent study, access Medicare services, sponsor relatives for migration, and travel to and from Australia for five years.

To be eligible, applicants must have resided for a minimum of 2 years as the holder of one or more eligible visas in a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area if nominated by a state or territory government for the previous eligible visa. Alternatively, applicants must have resided in a designated region of Australia if sponsored by a family member for their previous eligible visa. Additionally, applicants must have engaged in full-time employment for at least 12 months in the specified areas. Meeting health, character, and English language proficiency requirements is also crucial for visa approval.

485 (Graduate Temporary) Visa

The Subclass 485 (Graduate Temporary) Visa allows international students to temporarily reside, work, and study in Australia upon completing their education. Basic eligibility requirements include being under 50 years of age, holding a student visa within the last 6 months, and obtaining a recent qualification from a course registered under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Applicants must nominate only one stream, as changes cannot be made after application. The Graduate Temporary Visa offers four streams to choose from: Graduate Work Stream, Post-Study Work Stream, Second Post-Study Work Stream, and Replacement Stream.

The skilled migration program in Australia undergoes frequent updates and revisions, reflecting the evolving needs of the country’s labour market and immigration policies. To ensure accurate and up-to-date information, individuals interested in migrating under this program should regularly check the Department of Home Affairs website. Consulting with an Australian Legal Practitioner or registered migration agent can also provide personalised guidance and advice tailored to individual circumstances. With their expertise and knowledge of the latest regulations, migration agents can assist applicants in navigating the complexities of the skilled migration process and optimising their chances of success.

* SkillSelect is the Australian Government’s online system that allows skilled individuals to register their interest in applying for a visa to live and work in Australia.

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