The General Skilled Migration program

The Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa designed for skilled migrants who want to live and work in Australia. The subclass 189 visa does not require the applicant to be sponsored by an employer, a State or Territory Government or a family member.

What are the requirements to obtain a subclass 189 visa?

A subclass 189 visa applicant must be under 50 years old and must have scored at least 60 points in the General Skilled Migration points test. 

In addition a subclass 189 visa applicant is required to have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List, to have obtained a positive skills assessment for that occupation and have at least 'competent' English language skills (i.e. score at least 6 in each of the four bands of an IELTS test).

What is the points test?

The points test awards skilled migrants points based on their skills and attributes. The number of points awarded to an applicant will depend on age, skilled employment, qualifications, Australian study, State or Territory nomination and a number of other factors. The minimum points required to be scored by an applicant wishing to apply for a subclass 189 visa is currently 60 points.

How can I apply for a subclass 189 visa?

To apply for a subclass 189 visa, applicants must first submit an 'Expression of Interest' ('EOI') via the Department of Immigration's 'SkillSelect' program and then be invited to submit a visa application by the Minister. 

Invitations are based on information provided in the EOI, meaning supporting documentation accompanying the visa application must corroborate information previously provided with the EOI. If invited to apply for the visa an applicant has 60 days to lodge an application.

What is SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is the online platform which facilitates the submission of EOI's.

Invitations to apply for a visa are based on a ranking of the information provided in the EOI and are also subject to occupation ceilings. Importantly, applicants should be aware that the ability to meet the points test threshold does not guarantee an invitation to apply. Invitations are issued periodically to the highest ranking EOI  subject to occupation ceilings. 

What is an Expression of Interest?

An EOI is not a visa application. It is an online form containing biographical information, details of qualifications, skills and experience and English Language ability. For subclass 189 visa applicants, the EOI also contains the 'points' claimed by the applicants under the points test.