General Skilled Migration (GSM) (Subclasses 189, 190 & 489), is the most common way for skilled individuals and families to migrate to Australia. GSM is a points-based visa system where applicants receive points for their age, English language ability, qualifications, work experience and many other areas as listed bottom of the page.

Here are the different types of visa subclasses for GSM:

Skilled Independent Subclass 189 - (Permanent visa)

This skilled independent Subclass 189 visa can be granted based on the visa applicants own merits based on a points based system and there is no requirement for sponsorship.

To be eligible you need:

  • to be 44 years old or younger at the time of invitation to apply

  • have a minimum points score of 65 or higher

  • have Competent English (IELTS +6 in each band) or higher (especially if you need extra points, points are only given for English scores IELTS +7 in each or equivalent)

  • meet the health and character requirements

To apply for a Subclass 189 visa you need to:

  • First lodge an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited to apply

  • Once you receive an invitation to apply you have 60 days to lodge a valid application.

Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 - (Permanent visa)

The Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 visa is requires nomination by a State or Territory Government. To be eligible you need:

  • to be 44 years old or younger at the time that you apply.

  • have a minimum points score of 65 or higher.

  • have Competent English (IELTS +6 in each band) or higher .

  • meet the health and character requirements.

  • your occupation needs to be on the specific State's skilled occupations list.

To apply for a Subclass 190 visa you need to:

  • first lodge an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited to apply.

  • Have the required points score for the relevant State & occupation, as some states and occupations require a higher points score to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply.

  • Once again, when you receive an invitation to apply, you have 60 days to lodge a valid application.

We can assist you by assessing your eligibility and by completing and lodging an EOI, and then a State nomination and or visa application. 

Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 - (Provisional visa)

Important Note: from 15 November 2019 the Subclass 489 visa invited pathway visa will be closed to new applications. 

This is visa is valid for a period of four (4) years, however it only permits the visa holder to live in regional areas of Australia. A requirement of this visa is that you are sponsored by an Australian relative that also lives in Regional Australia, or by a state or territory government.

To be eligible you need:

  • to be 44 years old or younger at the time that you apply for a subclass 489.

  • have Competent English (IELTS +6 in each band) or higher.

  • meet the health and character requirements.

  • your occupation needs to be on the ANZSCO occupation list and be either a skill level 1, 2 or 3.

  • you will also need to have the required level of skills based on the skill level of your particular occupation.

To apply for a Subclass 489 visa you need to be sponsored by a relative living in a Designated Area. Your relative sponsor must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or Eligible New Zealand Citizen. One of the following relatives can sponsor you for the Subclass 489 visa:

  • Parent

  • Brother or Sister

  • Uncle or Aunt

  • Nephew or Niece

  • First Cousin

  • Grandparent

The applicable Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) if sponsored by a relative is the same as the list for the Skilled Independent visa Subclass 189.

To apply for a Subclass 489 visa you need to:

  • first lodge an expression of interest (EOI),

  • Once you receive an invitation to apply, you have 60 days to lodge a valid application.

You can include the following types of family members in your application: 

  • Spouse, de facto partner or same-sex partner.

  • Dependent children, up to 23 years of age (there are some exceptions).

Once the visa is granted, you and your included family members can only live, work or study in an approved regional area. The approved regional areas vary depending on whether you are sponsored by a State or Territory Government or a relative:

  • State or Territory Government: you can only live in a regional or low population growth area.

  • Relative: you can live in a designated area.

Skilled Regional Subclass 887 - (Permanent stage of the Subclass 489 visa)

The Subclass 887 Skilled Regional visa is the second (permanent) stage of the Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa pathway. To qualify for a Skilled Regional visa, you need: 

  • to have lived in a specific area of regional Australia for 2 years and work full time there for a period of at least 12 months.

Cost: The Visa Application Charge (VAC) for a GSM primary visa applicant is currently $4,045, the secondary (adult) applicant costs $2,025 and secondary (child) applicants cost $940 (VAC’s are updated and correct as of the 1st July 2019).

Skilled Migration Points Test:

GSM visas now have a minimum points score requirement of 65 points, you receive points for:

  • Your age: 18-24 = 25 points, 25-32 = 30 points, 33-39 = 25 points, 40-44 = 15 points (up to a maximum of 30 points).

  • English language ability: (IELTS +6 in each minimum = 0 points) Proficient IELTS: 7+ in each band = 10 points, Superior 8+ in each band = 20 points (up to a maximum 20 points).

  • Overseas qualifications: Recognised Trade Qualification including a Diploma or Trade Certificate completed at an Australian educational institution or other award or qualification recognised by the relevant skills assessing authority (e.g. VETASSESS) = 10 points.

  • Recognised Bachelor degree or higher = 15 points, Recognised PhD (Doctorate) = 20 points (up to a maximum of 20 points),

  • Australian qualifications (5 points), Study in Regional Australia or a Low Population Growth Area (5 points),

  • Specialist Educational Qualification (5 points),

  • Professional Year in Australia for certain occupations (5 points).

  • Overseas work-experience: 3 years = 5 points, 5 years = 10 points, 8 years = 15 points (up to a maximum of 15 points) (in the last 10 years in your nominated occupation or a closely related skilled occupation).

  • Australian work experience: 1 year = 5 points, 3 years = 10 points, 5 years = 15 points, 8 years = 20 points (up to a maximum of 20 points) (last 10 years in nominated or closely related occupation).

  • Your partner's Age (under 50), English ability (IELTS +6 in each band) & Skills Assessment (5 points),

  • NAATI Accredited para-professional interpreter or translator (5 points),

  • Subclass 190 (5 points), Subclass 489 (10 points).

Please note: the GSM visas and points system will be changing in November 2019, some visas will be replaced and the points system will change slightly.

GSM points test changes

The Federal Budget gave a glimpse of the changes to the GSM points test. These new amendments will come into effect on the 16 November 2019. New changes include:

  • Studying in a regional area for 5 points - will change to be studying in a designated regional area with the applicant to have lived in a designated area, the location of the campus of study was in a designated regional area and none of the study was undertaken through distance education. The applicant must also meet the Australian study requirement

  • Partner points will increase from 5 to 10 - 10 points - will be awarded for single applicants without a partner or their partner is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. Five points will be awarded for partners of applicants who is an applicant for the same visa, and is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident, and at the time of invitation has competent English - 5 points - for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’, and

  • Points for being sponsored for a 491 visa - either by a State or Territory government or an eligible relative will increase from 10 to 15 points.

Subclass 489 visa will be replaced by the Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

From the 16 November 2019, Subclass 489 visas will be closed to new applicants and a new 491 visa will take its place. This new visa will be classified as a GSM (General Skilled Migration) visa.

Main features for the Subclass 491 visa include:

  • Applicants in Australia must hold either a substantive visa or a Bridging visa A, B, or C

  • Subclass 491 will be subject to the new GSM points test and applicants must be invited to apply for this visa and must apply within a certain time-frame

  • A minimum of 65 points will be required as per all other GSM points-tested visas

  • Applicants must nominate a skilled occupation from the list

  • Sponsors can be a State or Territory or a relative who is either an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen or either the applicant or their spouse or de facto partner similar to the current eligible relative for a 489 visa

  • Sponsors who are relatives must be usually resident in a designated regional area

  • All applicants must declare they have a genuine intention to live, work and study in a designated regional area, and

  • Other visas, including partner, business skills, GSM visas, and 186 visas will require a Subclass 491 visa holder to have held that visa for at least 3 years and have substantially complied with the conditions for this visa unless certain exceptional circumstances apply.

New visa conditions MUST be imposed on all visa holders, including:

  • Condition 8578 – Notify Immigration within 14 days of any change to the visa holder’s residential address, email address, phone number, passport details, address of employer, or address or location of a position where they are employed;

  • Condition 8579 – Must live work and study only in a designated regional area listed at the time the visa was granted;

  • Condition 8580 – If requested, provide evidence to Immigration within 28 days after the date of request of any or all of their: residential address, address of each employer, address of each location of each position employed, or address of an education institution they are attending;

  • Condition 8581 – If requested, attend an interview with Immigration.

Once granted, this will be valid for a period of five (5) years.

If you would like more information or to have your skilled migration points score assessed please contact us, live chat, or phone us on +61 4 977 888 91.