What is a subclass 190 state sponsorship visa?

The subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) visa is a permanent residence state sponsorship visa which requires nomination approval from a State or Territory Government. It is one of a number of skilled visa options available. Among the 190 visa requirements, you need to achieve at least 65 points in the Migration Points Test. Points are earned based on several factors, including age, qualifications, skilled employment experience and English language skills. Nomination approval for a subclass 190 visa grants an additional 5 points in the points test. See how many points you score with our points test calculator.

Another important feature of the subclass 190 visa is that it is based on an invitation system, whereby you must first submit an Expression of Interest (“EOI”) with the Department of Home Affairs (“the Department”), to express your interest in applying for the visa. You also need to apply for nomination approval from your selected State or Territory Government. If your nomination is approved, you will receive an invitation, which will then enable you to apply for the subclass 190 visa within 60 days. Nomination approvals are issued throughout each month. Check here for the monthly statistics for January 2020, which shows how many nominations were issued by each jurisdiction for that month, and for the 2019/20 migration year to date.

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Why should you consider a subclass 190 state sponsorship visa?

There are several skilled visa options available, including the Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) visa, and the recently introduced Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (which are all points-based). So why choose the subclass 190 visa?

Each visa subclass is designed to meet a specific purpose, and the most suitable one to select will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. Each option has its own benefits, potential drawbacks and requirements to qualify for the visa. It is therefore important to have a good and thorough understanding of how each one works to determine the best option for you. It would not be suitable for you to apply for a subclass 190 visa, for example, if you are not prepared to comply with subclass 190 restrictions, whereby you must commit to live in your nominating State or Territory for two years following visa grant. In such a case, a subclass 189 may be a better choice, as it does not require this residence commitment to be made (i.e. you may live anywhere in Australia once the visa is granted).

Similarly, as a subclass 491 visa holder, you would be subject to visa condition 8579, which requires you and your accompanying family members to live and work (and study, where applicable) in a designated regional area of Australia. Failing to adhere to this visa condition can lead to cancellation of the subclass 491 visa and prevent you from being eligible for the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa.

In terms of the points test, a subclass 189 visa does not grant any additional points, unlike the subclass 190 visa (for which 5 extra points are received). Earning these extra points can help you to reach, or exceed, the minimum 65 points required to lodge an EOI, and later, to apply for the visa itself. 5 points may seem like a small amount, but it can be significant to an applicant who needs these points (however small) to qualify, and who may otherwise not be eligible for the visa. Every little bit helps.

Let’s now consider how this compares with the subclass 491 visa. One of the benefits of this visa option is that it grants an additional 15 points in the points test. Again, this may be a substantial number of points, but on the flip-side, the subclass 491 visa is only a provisional visa, meaning it does not grant immediate permanent residence (you may qualify for PR only after a minimum period of three years, subject to meeting certain requirements), unlike the subclass 189 and 190 visas, which both lead to permanent residence upon grant of the visa.

Another important consideration is how invitations are granted for each visa subclass. In the case of the subclass 189 visa, invitations are issued only once per month to the highest scoring EOI applicants in what are called “invitation rounds.” This is a highly competitive process, and due to the sheer number of applicants applying, coupled with the relatively small number of available places (which may change from month-to-month), the minimum points score that is required to secure an invitation is often much higher than the base-line score of 65 points that is needed to apply. A cut-off score of approximately 80 points has been the recent trend, and even higher for certain occupations. This has meant that the subclass 189 visa can be out of reach for many potential applicants, who may look to other visa options which may in some ways, have less attractive features, but at least be a more viable option.

The same process for granting invitations for the subclass 189 visa applies to the Family Sponsored stream of the subclass 491 visa (although the cut-off score and number of invitations issued each month may differ).

Now consider how this compares with the process for allocating invitations for the subclass 190 visa. In this case, State and Territory Government agencies assess each application that they receive and make their nomination approval decisions based on several factors, and not just simply on the points score alone. The individual nomination requirements set by each jurisdiction will determine whether an application is successful. This may include achieving a certain English language competency and/or having a certain amount of skilled employment experience. Meeting a residency requirement in the relevant State or Territory for a certain period is also normally required. Nomination approval criteria varies across each jurisdiction, and as part of your visa planning, you should consider what these requirements are and assess whether you meet them before you apply.

The process for granting nomination approvals under the State Nominated stream of the subclass 491 visa is the same as for the subclass 190 visa (although requirements may differ between the two).

As you can see from the examples above, the subclass 190 visa has both advantages and disadvantages, which is true of all the skilled visa options. Importantly, you need to be fully aware of all these factors, so that you can select the best option for you. It may be the case that you qualify for only one visa subclass and may not have the luxury of being able to choose from a range of options. To decide whether to proceed with an application in such a scenario would require careful consideration of whether that one available option is suitable to you. If not, then are there things you can do to qualify for another skilled visa option? Formulating a pathway to achieving your goals is an important part of the planning process when applying for a visa. Speaking to a professional is recommended, as they have the skills and experience to guide you in the right direction. They can provide comprehensive advice on each option, and what you can do to get to where you want to go.

Get More Information

To read more about the main features and requirements that apply to the subclass 190 visa, please see our article on a Roadmap for skilled applicants – which road should I take? (this article also provides a good summary of the other skilled visa options available, including employer sponsored and nominated visas, to help you to compare).

For further information on applying for State Nomination, please see the following articles

State Sponsorship Options

Why should you consider SA skilled regional sponsorship visa as a pathway to live the Australian dream

Please be aware that the above articles on State Nomination refer to the Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa, the predecessor to the current subclass 491 visa (it was abolished from 16 November 2019).

See also our Spotlight on South Australia article, for more information on what it is like to live in the State if you are considering applying for SA State nomination (the entire State is also classified as a designated regional area for the subclass 491 visa).

For further information on the subclass 491 visa, please see the following articles:

New Skilled Regional Visas to be introduced

Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa

Further Regulations released for the new regional sponsored visas to commence from 16 November 2019

Applications for the new provisional regional sponsored visas are now open

The above articles on the subclass 491 visa also discuss the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, which is another skilled visa option you may like to consider (it was also introduced on 16 November 2019).

To read about some of the issues affecting the subclass 189 visa, see our article on What is behind the longer processing times for the Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa?

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