If you are looking to apply for a skilled visa to Australia, you may be interested in exploring options which require a State or Territory Government Sponsorship. Under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme, these options are the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa. These are both points-based visas which require you to achieve a minimum test score before you are eligible to apply.

One key benefit of applying under one of these pathways is that an approved Sponsorship will allow you to claim additional points towards the points test. You should also be aware that you will need to meet specific requirements for the sponsorship approval, which are in addition to Immigration requirements for visa grant, and which vary for each State and Territory. You will also be subject to additional obligations to your sponsoring State or Territory, as a condition of the sponsorship approval, should your visa application be successful.

In this article, we provide an overview of the GSM State Sponsorship options 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 Sponsorship approval and for visa grant. This will give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Otherwise, you risk unnecessary processing delays and/or a potential visa refusal.

Skilled (Nominated Visa)

The subclass 190 visa is a permanent residence visa which grants you an additional 5 points towards the points test, on account of the State or Territory Government Sponsorship.

The following main requirements apply:

  • You must first apply to a State or Territory Government for Sponsorship (note that the requirements and occupation lists vary for each State and Territory)
  • 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 Sponsorship 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 Sponsorship 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 Sponsorship.

The key requirements for visa grant are listed below:

  • You must first apply to a State or Territory Government for Sponsorship (note that the requirements and occupation lists vary for each State and Territory)
  • 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 Sponsorship 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

Sponsorship requirements

Each State and Territory Government set their own requirements for Sponsorship approval. They also each release their own Skilled Occupation List which specifies which occupations they may Sponsor, depending on their needs based on labour market shortages. These lists are updated from time-to-time, as the State or Territory assesses its changing labour needs. Special conditions may also apply to some occupations, meaning that they are subject to additional requirements for Sponsorship approval (for example, a higher minimum English language competency or specified employment experience).

Each State and Territory has a specific number of places each year for which it may issue Sponsorship approvals under the GSM programme. Once these are filled for a given year, the programme is then closed to new applications. If you find yourself in this situation, you will need to wait until the program re-opens to submit your application.

Requirements for Sponsorship approval can include:

  • Achieving a specified minimum test score in an English test, which is higher than the minimum score that is required for the visa application. English test results can also depend on the occupation which you are applying for
  • Skilled employment experience in the occupation for a specified minimum period. Some or all of this experience may need to have been performed in the Sponsoring State or Territory
  • Having resided in the sponsoring State or Territory for a specified minimum period
  • Minimum funds required for settling in the State or Territory

Requirements can also differ for international graduates who have completed a relevant qualification in a specified institution within the sponsoring State or Territory.

It is important to note if you are applying for a State Sponsorship-based visa, you will need to satisfy three sets of requirements as part of this process:

  • Requirements for Sponsorship approval, which will differ for each State and Territory (application made to the relevant Sponsorship authority);
  • Requirements for lodging a valid EOI (application made to Immigration); and
  • Requirements for visa grant (application made to Immigration).

Your obligations

If your visa application is successful and you are granted either a subclass 190 or 489 visas, you will be subject to additional obligations to your sponsoring State or Territory. These requirements differ for each jurisdiction but generally, can include the following:

  • Reside in the nominating State or Territory for a specified minimum period
  • Advise your address details
  • Complete surveys
  • Provide other information as requested

 

In conclusion, we note that the above provides an overview only of the GSM State Sponsorship options. 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 your application and avoid unnecessary processing delays or a potential refusal.