If you are considering applying for a visa to Australia based on your skills, there are several options which you may be able to consider. Each one has its own specific and distinct requirements, and each imposes different obligations on relevant parties to the application.

However, there are some set requirements that are always part of the selection process for Australian skilled migration.

The key points related to skilled migration

  • Requirements relating to age, occupation, employment experience and English language
  • Whether you apply independently, are nominated by a State or Territory Government, or are sponsored or nominated by an employer
  • A points test may apply which requires you to achieve a specified minimum score
  • You may be required to live and/or work in a specified regional area of Australia for a minimum period
  • Some visa options are temporary and others a permanent. In some cases, a temporary visa may provide a pathway to permanent residence, once certain requirements are met
  • Some skilled visas require that you first apply for an invitation to apply for the visa and only upon receipt of an invitation can you then proceed to apply for the visa
  • Labour market testing may be required in the employer-sponsored visa class to evidence that your nominated position cannot be filled in the local labour market

In this article, we outline the visa categories which comprise the skilled visa class and explain some of the key requirements that apply to each. It is also important to note that before you apply for any visa, it is vital that you are fully informed about all requirements for visa grant and what evidence you need to provide. This will give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Otherwise, you risk a visa refusal and/or unnecessary processing delays.

It is also important to be aware of the obligations which you must abide by if your application is successful, as some visas will impose quite stringent conditions on what you can and cannot do whilst you hold the visa (for example, you may be required to live in a certain part of Australia, or you might have to live and/or work for a specified employer for a certain period of time).

Skilled (Independent) Visa

The subclass 189 visa is a permanent residence visa with the following key requirements:

  • You must first apply for an invitation to apply for the visa
  • Your skilled occupation must be listed on a specified list of skilled occupations, and you must possess minimum qualifications and/or employment experience as specified for the occupation
  • You must be under 45 years of age at the time the invitation is received
  • A positive skills assessment is required
  • Minimum points test score of 65 must be achieved
  • You must have Competent English (note this a defined term and is based on either your country of passport, or by achieving a minimum English test result in a specified English language test).

Skilled (State Sponsored Visa)

The subclass 190 visa is a permanent residence visa which has similar requirements to the subclass 189 visa, but with the added requirement that you must be nominated by a State or Territory Government. This option also grants you an additional 5 points towards the points test, on account of the nomination.

The following main requirements apply:

  • You must first apply to a State or Territory Government for nomination
  • You must also apply for an invitation to apply for the visa (note this is normally required to be done at the same time as you lodge your nomination application)
  • Your skilled occupation must be listed on a specified list of skilled occupations, and you must possess minimum qualifications and/or employment experience as specified for the occupation
  • You must be under 45 years of age at the time the invitation is received
  • A positive skills assessment is required
  • Minimum points test score of 65 must be achieved
  • You must have Competent English

Skilled (Regional) Visa

The subclass 489 visa is a temporary visa which may provide a pathway to permanent residence after 2 years if you meet certain requirements at that time. This visa allows you to live and work in a specified regional area and requires a nomination by a State or Territory Government. You may also be nominated by a specified relative living in a designated area. This visa option grants you an additional 10 points towards the points test, for the nomination.

The key requirements for visa grant are listed below:

  • You must first apply to a State or Territory Government for nomination
  • You must also apply for an invitation to apply for the visa (again, this is normally required to be done at the same time as you lodge your nomination application)
  • Your skilled occupation must be listed on a specified list of skilled occupations, and you must possess minimum qualifications and/or employment experience as specified for the occupation
  • You must be under 45 years of age at the time the invitation is received
  • A positive skills assessment is required
  • Minimum points test score of 65 must be achieved
  • You must have Competent English

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa

The subclass 482 visa requires you to be sponsored by an employer and is a temporary visa allowing you to live and work in Australia for up to either 2 or 4 years, depending on your occupation. In some cases, it may also provide a pathway to permanent residence after 3 years if you meet certain requirements at that time. Note that this option imposes specific obligations to remain employed in the nominated position for the term of the visa (with exemption periods in certain instances).

The key difference between the subclass 482 visa and the skilled Independent and State Sponsored visas discussed above is the requirement that an employer applies to sponsor you to fill a position in their business. It involves submitting multiple applications to the Department:

  1. The employer must apply for, and be approved as, a Sponsor;
  2. The employer must apply to nominate you for the position; and
  3. You must separately apply for the visa.

Note that these above applications can all be lodged at the same time. It may also be the case that the sponsoring employer already has an existing approved sponsorship (as they last for 5 years generally) in which case you and your proposed employer may only need to submit a nomination and visa application.

This visa comprises the following streams:

  • Short-term stream, if the nominated occupation is included in the Short-term Skilled Occupation list (STSOL);
  • Medium-term stream, if the nominated occupation is included in the Medium-term Skilled Occupation list (MTSOL);
  • Labour agreement stream, which requires the sponsoring employer to enter into a labour agreement with the Department.

Some of the main requirements that apply include:

  • for the Sponsorship – the business must be lawfully operating in or outside Australia, and no adverse information must be known to Immigration about the business (or it is reasonable to disregard);
  • for the Nomination – the occupation must be listed on a specified list of skilled occupations and in some cases, you will need to obtain a positive skills assessment. The position must be genuine and labour market testing may be required;
  • For the Visa – you must possess minimum qualifications and/or employment experience as specified for the occupation, in addition to 2 years minimum skilled employment experience. You must also meet specified English language requirements.

Note also that as part of the nomination application, the employer must pay a training levy.

Also, special rules apply to visa applicants that held a 457 visa or a bridging visa associated with a 457 visa on 18 March 2018.

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

The ENS visa programme is an employer nominated visa class granting permanent residence and which comprises 2 subclasses, the subclass 186 and 187 visas. Each has two streams:

  • Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) – this requires you to hold a subclass 482 visa and to have worked for your nominated employer full-time for at least 3 years (note there are other specified requirements);
  • Direct entry – this applies if you do not qualify for the TRT stream.

The primary difference between the ENS and the RSMS is where the nominated position is located. Under the RSMS, the position must be carried out in the specified regional area.

This option requires 2 applications to be lodged in all cases: one for the nomination and one for the visa.

Some of the main requirements that apply include (note these vary depending on whether you apply for the ENS or RSMS, and also which stream you apply under):

  • Your skilled occupation must be listed on a specified list of skilled occupations, and you must possess minimum qualifications and/or employment experience as specified for the occupation
  • You must be under 45 years of age at the time of application (note there are exemptions to this requirement)
  • A positive skills assessment may be required
  • You must have Competent English (note there are exemptions to this requirement)

 

In conclusion, we note that the above provides an overview only of the skilled visa class. Given the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we recommend that you engage a registered migration agent as they will be able to provide you with detailed advice about skilled visa pathways that you may qualify for, and the most appropriate option/s for you. This will enable you to be fully informed before you lodge with the Department and avoid a potential visa refusal or unnecessary processing delays.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion!