If you are considering applyingfor a skilled visa to Australia, it is important to be aware that for certain visas in this visa class, you will first be required to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs. The EOI is not a visa application; rather, it is the process by which you can express your interest in applying for the relevant skilled visa.

The visa subclasses that would require an EOI

  • Skilled – Independent (subclass 189)
  • Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190) visa
  • Skilled – Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa


If your EOI is successful, you will receive an invitation to apply for the visa, as specified in the invitation letter. This then enables you to proceed with lodgement of your visa application (provided you meet all other visa lodgement and visa grant requirements).

Invitations are issued by the Department once a month, in what is called ‘invitation rounds,’ with the results being made publicly available. These results are a very useful source of information for anyone who is considering applying for, or who may have already applied for, an EOI. It can help you to assess your prospects for a successful skilled visa application and to plan your pathway based on your own individual circumstances.

Note that these invitation rounds are used to issue invitations for visa subclasses 189 and 489 only. The subclass 190 is treated differently in that individual State and Territory Governments issue their own invitations to applicants independently of these invitation rounds at various times throughout each month (i.e. these are not set dates) based on their own individual needs and allocated places (they too are subject to annual limits as set by the Department).

The process of visa grant for skill migration

Each visa class is capped annually, meaning a maximum number of visas can be granted for each visa class in any given year. The 2018/19 migration program overall is capped at 190,000 places (note this covers the period from 1st July 2018 to 30 June 2019). For the skilled visa class, the following maximum levels have been set for the current 2018/19 year:


Skilled visa classNumber of places for the 2018/19 year
·         Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) – 43,990 places43,990
·         Skilled – Nominated (subclass 190) visa

·         Skilled – Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa



Skilled occupations are also each subject to a ‘ceiling,’ with a limited number of places allocated to each one annually.

Invitations rounds are expected to run on the 11th day of each month, but this is subject to change. So far this year, invitations rounds have taken place on:

  • 11th July 2018
  • 11th August 2018

The next invitation round is expected to occur on 11th September 2018.

The number of invitations issued for the subclass 189 visa is dependent upon the number of applications processed by the Department each month. For the subclass 489 visa programme, the number of monthly invitations has remained at 10 per month since the 22nd November 2017 invitation round.

To help you to plan your own visa pathway, each month we will be publishing a summary of the results for each invitation round. We start with the most recent round, which took place on 11 August 2018.

August 2018 invitation round

The table below shows the total number of invitations issued so far in the 2018/19 year and the number of invitations issued for each month:

Visa subclassJuly 2018August 2018Total issued so far in 2018/19
Skilled – Independent (subclass 189)100024903490
Skilled – Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa101020

Note that the number of invitations issued for the subclass 189 visa has increased quite substantially between July and August 2018, rising from 1000 to 2490 invitations issued in the most recent invitation round.

Invitations issued for the subclass 489 visa programme have remained at 10 per month in the August 2018 round (which has been the case since the 22nd November 2017 invitation round), making this the 10th consecutive month that invitations have remained at this level. If this were to continue for the remainder of the current 2018/19 program year, we can expect a maximum number of 120 invitations to be issued for the subclass 489 visa for the year.

This low level of invitations indicates that the process is a very competitive one to qualify for an invitation for the subclass 489 visa and if you are looking to apply, you would be advised to use this data to carefully consider the chances of receiving an invitation and how long you can expect to wait, especially given the likely high number of EOI’s submitted for this visa subclass.

Points score cut-offs

To submit an EOI, you must achieve a minimum score of 65 points in the points test. Note however that this is not often enough to secure an invitation and is only the base level minimum required to apply. You are also required to pass your skill assessment test conducted by the authorities. Be aware that the process for issuing invitations is very competitive, with the highest ranked applicants invited first. Additionally, the subclass 189 programme is prioritised when it comes to issuing invitations, meaning that if all places are filled for the subclass 189 visa for a given invitation round, then no further invitations will be issued for the subclass 489 visa class for the relevant occupations.


The following table shows the minimum points score required to receive an invitation in the August 2018 round:

Visa subclassMinimum points scoreDate of effect*
Skilled – Independent (subclass 189)7030th May 2018
Skilled – Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa8024th June 2018

You will see from the information listed in the above table that the minimum points to receive an invitation in the most recent round exceeded the minimum 65 points required to lodge an EOI. The Department has not issued invitations to anyone at 65 points since September 2017. This means the backlog of applicants at 65 points is now reaching one year.

Note also that the ‘Date of effect’ column refers to the date on which invited applicants in the August 2018 round reached their points score (which is effectively the date when they submitted their EOI). Invitations are issued according to EOI lodgement date order, with a ‘first-in, first-served’ process for issuing invitations. The dates shown in the table above indicate that for the subclass 189 visa, applicants who lodged their EOI on or before 30th May 2018 with 70 points or higher received an invitation. For the subclass 489 visa class, the relevant EOI lodgement date was 24th June 2018. This means that there is currently an approximate 1-2 month ‘waiting time’ for applicants who achieve the required cut-off points score to receive an invitation (depending on the visa class they have applied for).

The following table shows the number of invitations issued in the 11th August 2018 round based on the points score:

Points score for invited applicantsNumber of invitations issued for the subclass 189 visaNumber of invitations issued for the subclass 489 visa



As noted above, each skilled occupation is also subject to a cap for places allocated for each year under the migration program. Occupations which are in high demand are pro-rated such that invitations for these occupations are spread throughout the year. Otherwise, all available places in these popular occupations would be filled up quickly in the early part of the year, with no places left for the remainder of the year.

Set out in the table below is more detailed information for the most in-demand skilled occupations for the 2018/19 program year:



Occupation (ANZSCO code)Minimum points score required in the Aug 2018 invitation roundDate of effectOccupation ceiling for the 2018/19 yearTotal invitations issued so far in 2018/19
Accountants (2211)8015th March 20183,753300
Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers (2212)8014th March 20181,342107
Electronics Engineer (2334) 7519th July 201830024
Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers (2335)704th December 20171,780142
Other Engineering Professionals (2339)   7516th May 201870056
ICT Business and System Analysts (2611)757th April 20181,466117
Software and Applications Programmers (2613)   7520th June 20187,271581
Computer Network Professionals (2631)   7027th September 20172,167173

To explain what the above information means, we take as an example the nominated occupation for accountants. The table shows that for the August 2018 invitation round, applicants who submitted their EOI up to 15th March 2018 and who had a minimum points score of 80 points received an invitation. It also shows that there are a maximum number of 3,753 places available for applicants applying in this occupation in the 2018/19 programme year. Of these available places, 300 have been filled to date this program year.

Note that the occupation ceilings shown in the table above are applied only to the subclass 189 and 489 visa subclasses.

If you are seeking to apply for an occupation which is not listed above, you can refer to the Department’s website for further information 

about occupation ceilings and the number of places filled for each so far this year:



State and Territory Government nominations

The Department also publishes monthly data for applicants who have received nominations from State and Territory Governments for the subclass 489 and 190 visa programmes. The table below shows the number of invitations issued in July 2018:

Subclass 190 visa904257360224420716
Subclass 489 visa01963460643311389


What does this information mean for you?

The visa requirements are constantly changing, with the recent trend being a gradual tightening of visa grant requirements. One example of this is the increase in the minimum points scores required to lodge an EOI, rising from 60 to 65 points as of 1st July 2018. This was a significant change to the requirements and has likely had a significant impact on a great many numbers of potential applicants. The employer sponsorship programme has also recently undergone a raft of changes, resulting in added requirements for nomination and visa grant as well as higher costs to employers, thus likely making this pathway a less attractive option for potential applicants. This is likely to add further pressure to the skilled (independent) and skilled (state-sponsored) visa subclasses (as discussed in this article) with higher demand from a larger number of applicants.

It is therefore very important to be fully informed about the process and the changes made, and how this may impact on your application. The above data and analysis are a very useful tool for assessing and planning your own visa pathway as it allows you to identify what your prospects may be, based on your own individual circumstances, and the time frame in which you can expect to achieve a result. We hope this helps you in your planning and note that we are always available to discuss with you further and to provide advice tailed to your own individual circumstances.

For up to date advice on your eligibility to apply for an Australian skilled visa and the process for applying, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide. We can prepare and lodge your application for you, ensuring that you submit a complete and correct application with the required supporting documentation, which will give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today to find out more!