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General Skilled Migration

The General Skilled Migration program is by far the best way to migrate to Australia, if you are eligible for it. It does not require sponsorship by an employer or a partner, neither do you have to commit to investing large amount of money. You cannot apply directly for this visa but instead must be invited to apply based on your score on a points test (link) that ranks people based on their age, experience, education and qualities.

All General Skilled Migration visas have the same basic process:

1.    Identify a skilled occupation (if possible, on the MLTSSL , otherwise on the CLESO)

2.    Apply for and receive a positive skills assessment for your skilled occupation

3.    Lodge an expression of interest in Skill lSelect 

4.    If you receive an invitation to apply, apply for the visa to migrate to Australia

There are three subclasses under the General Skilled Migration program, and depending on the specific visa you are aiming for there may be more or less steps involved in your Australian visa process.

General Requirements

There are some criteria that are the same across all General Skill Migration program visas:

·         You must have English skills of at least IELTS 6 or equivalent 

·         You must have a positive skills assessment in the occupation you are nominating

·         You must not have turned 45 at the time you receive an invitation to apply

·         You must score a minimum of 60 points on the General Skilled Migration points test . Please note that some occupations require more than 60 points to receive an invitation to apply.

General Skilled Migration Visa Subclasses

There are three subclasses and four streams of Australian visa under the General Skilled Migration program:

Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa (without any sponsorship or nomination)

The points-tested stream of subclass 189 is relevant for tradespersons and eligible professionals with the ability to directly contribute to the Australian economy. For this category you must have an occupation on the MLTSSL. 

Subclass 189 – New Zealand Citizen Stream 

This is a non-points-tested visa for New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for over 5 years and have been earning taxable income above a particular threshold during that time. You do not need any particular occupation for this visa. 

Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated Visa  (permanent nominated or sponsored visa)

This visa is for people who have an occupation on a state or territory’s migration plan list or otherwise fulfill the state or territory’s nomination criteria. It is especially useful if you need an extra 5 points to reach the minimum points score for an invitation. You will have to commit to living and working in your nominating state or territory for at least two years. 

Subclass 489 Skilled Regional Visa ( (provisional nominated or sponsored visa)

This visa is for candidates who need a further boost of points to reach the 60-point pass mark, as sponsorship for a subclass 489 visa gives 10 points. It is provisional, which means that candidates must live and work in their sponsoring state or territory for two years before applying for a subclass 887 permanent visa. Applicants can be sponsored either by a state or territory, or an eligible family member. 

Skilled Graduate Visa

Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa 

This visa bridges the gap between graduating from an Australian institution with a degree or trade certificate and having enough experience to apply under the General Skilled Migration program. If you have recently graduated from an Australian university or other higher education provider you may be eligible for this visa.