Skilled Independent Visa for Australia (subclass 189)

The Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) Programme

Skilled Visas for Australia
•    Am I eligible to apply for a Skilled Independent visa for Australia?
•    How can Concept Australia help me apply?
•    What services can I expect to receive from Concept Australia?
•    Why should I use a professional MARA registered migration agent?
•    How much does it cost to apply for a GSM visa for Australia?
•    How long will it take for my visa to be granted?
•    Free Preliminary Assessment
•    SKYPE or personal consultations

Am I eligible to apply for a Skilled Independent visa?

The Skilled Independent visa - subclass 189 is a permanent General Skilled Migration visa which does not require nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship by a relative residing in a designated area of Australia.

Invitation rounds

This visa class is subject to monthly invitation rounds and occupational ceilings and only the highest ranked applicants by points score are being invited to apply for a Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa for Australia. In the last invitation round held on 11 September 2018, all applicants on 75 points and above received invitations and additionally, applicants whose visa date of effect was on or before 21 June 2018 and who had a points score of 70 also received invitations. A total of 2490 applicants were invited to submit a Skilled Independent visa application.

Points test

Most applicants applying outside Australia will only be able to claim points for:

  • their age (must be under 45 at the time of invitation)
  • Recognised qualifications via a positive skills assessment,
  • Work experience in their nominated or closely related occupation
  • Proficient or Superior English via a test.

If applicable, additional points can be claimed for:

  • A partner who has received a positive skills assessment
  • A specialist education qualification awarded by an Australian education institution
  • Completing a qualification in Australia for 2 academic years
  • Studying in regional Australia
  • A community language (accredited for interpreting or translating by the NAATI)
  • A professional year in Australia in the 4 years before you apply

You must be able to meet the following basic criteria:

  • Nominate an occupation that is on the MLTSSL
  • Obtain a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
  • Be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation
  • Have at least Proficient English in order to claim points
  • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
  • Be invited through SkillSelect to apply for a subclass 189 visa
  • Satisfy health and character requirements

Other visa options

Many applicants are currently struggling to achieve the required number of points to receive an invitation and increasingly are applying for a Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) or a Skilled Regional visa (subclass 489). Applicants selecting these visa options will need to meet individual state/territory nomination criteria but will benefit from not being subject to invitation rounds and can be considered for nomination with a points total of 65 (including nomination points) as well as priority processing with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

How can Concept Australia help me to apply for a Skilled Independent Visa?

The most Frequently Asked Questions we receive from skilled applicants are:

  1. Will my skills or work experience be recognised in Australia?
  2. How much work experience can I claim under the Australian points test?
  3. What evidence do I need to submit in support of my employment?
  4. How detailed do my work statements need to be?
  5. How likely is it that the invitation mark will be lowered?

For peace of mind we can offer you the benefit of our knowledge and experience so as to ensure all aspects of the visa process are addressed at an early stage and that all visa options are examined before you commence on your visa journey. This will ensure that there are no hidden barriers you may have to face and that you have a realistic chance of being invited by the Department of Home Affairs to apply for a skilled visa for Australia. 

What services can I expect to receive from Concept Australia?

Concept Australia has been assisting people since 1991 to obtain visas to reside in Australia.  All of our staff are based permanently in the UK and have previously been employed by the Department of Home Affairs.  Concept Australia works directly with its clients and does not sub-contract work out to other companies or individuals. We will take responsibility for the entire management of your application so as to ensure that your case runs as smoothly as possible. Our services include:

•    Advising whether you qualify for a visa and recommending the best pathway
•    Identifying the correct ANZSCO occupation to nominate for skills assessment
•    Completing your skills assessment form  
•    Advising what work experience can be claimed under the points test
•    Outlining nomination criteria applied by the state and territory governments in Australia
•    Lodging your EOI once your skills have been recognised for migration purposes
•    Ensuring claims made in your EOI can be substantiated
•    Completing and submitting your visa application form for Australia
•    Uploading all relevant documents to the online ImmiAccount
•    Managing your application until your Skilled visa for Australia is decided

Why should I use a professional MARA registered agent?

Registered Migration Agents are skilled people who must meet professional standards, follow the code of conduct and maintain up-to-date knowledge of migration law and procedure. The Office of the MARA approves continuing professional development activities and monitors the conduct of agents both in and outside Australia to ensure that only the highest level of advice and assistance is provided to prospective applicants.  

How much does it cost to apply for a General Skilled Migration visa for Australia?

The Department of Home Affairs charge a fee of AUD3, 670 for the primary applicant, AUD1, 835 for the spouse and AUD920 for each dependent child. Other costs you will incur on your visa journey include skills assessment, English language test, health and character checks.

Concept Australia’s fees are charged in stages as we undertake the work on your behalf which in total are in the region of £1,800 and covers all persons included in the visa application.  

How long will it take for my visa to be granted?

The processing timetable can be influenced by a number of factors such as the nominated occupation, sitting an English language test or your points score. Generally, the overall timetable is between 9 – 12 months and in our experience the length of time is determined by the quality of documents presented throughout the entire process.  

Preliminary assessment of your potential eligibility

Concept Australia can offer you a preliminary assessment and advise you in plain English whether you have a realistic chance of being granted a Skilled Independent visa to reside permanently in Australia. If you would like to know how we can assist you in obtaining your Skilled Independent visa, please telephone your nearest Concept Australia office (London 020 8468 1076) or (Manchester 0161 669 5836) or complete the Enquiry form below and submit your details to Concept Australia.

Personal or SKYPE consultations

If we have assessed that you have the potential to be granted a visa and you would like to find out more, the next step is to arrange a no-obligation consultation which will not only provide you with an opportunity to ask key questions about the visa process but also enable us to explain how the migration regulations will be applied to you. A small fee is charged for the consultation which will be deducted from our overall fee should you decide to appoint Concept Australia as your migration agent. Consultations are conducted in the London Borough of Bromley or Manchester but if you are unable to travel to see us, we can also arrange a SKYPE or telephone appointment at a mutually convenient time.


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What visa options are there?

Choose the best option for you:



What is SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is an online service for skilled workers that helps Australia manage its skilled migration program and address skill shortages.

Your visa options include applying independently or being nominated by a state or territory government or employer or being sponsored by a close relative living in a designated area of Australia.

Once you have researched your visa options and prepared the information required, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) which will remain in SkillSelect for a maximum of 2 years. During this period you can update your information such as an improved English language score or additional work experience which may improve your ranking and lead to an automatic invitation to apply for a visa. You should be aware, however, that once you receive an invitation, you will not be able to update your EOI and the information you submitted will be used to process and decide your application. If you provide incorrect information on your EOI, your application could be refused if you are subsequently unable to substantiate the claims made in your EOI.




What is the points test?

If you apply for a General Skilled Migration visa you will need to pass the points test. The points test is used to help Australia select people who have recognised skills. In the UK, most applicants will generate points for age, English, qualifications, work experience, nomination by a state/territory government or sponsorship from a close relative residing in a designated area of Australia. Points can also be awarded for Professional year, Australian study, Credentialed community language, studying and living in regional Australia and partner skills.


What is an Expression of Interest and invitation?

An expression of interest (EOI) is an online form in SkillSelect which enables you to record specific information about your circumstances. This information has the potential to lead to an invitation to lodge a skilled application but is also be made available to state and territory governments and employers which may result in a nomination being lodged on your behalf. An invitation is issued through SkillSelect which allows migrants to apply for a General Skilled Migration visa for Australia. 


What is an occupation ceiling?

An occupation ceiling is a limit on the number of invitations that can be issued through SkillSelect each program year which runs from 01 July until 30 June. When an occupational ceiling is reached, no more invitations will be issued during the program year so as to ensure that the migration program is not dominated by a small number of occupations. Occupational ceilings do not apply to state or territory nominated applications.

Additionally, where high numbers of EOI's are received for certain occupations, invitations will be issued on a pro-rata basis and applicants will have to score a higher number of points in order to receive an invitation. 


What is a Designated area of Australia?

Designated areas of Australia are defined by postcode and include the entire states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales (except Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong) Queensland (  anywhere outside the Brisbane metropolitan area) and the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. If your nominated occupation is on the Skilled Occupations List you can be sponsored by a close relative under the Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489). The visa is valid for a period of 4 years but after 2 years you can apply for a permanent visa providing you have lived for 2 years and worked full-time for 1 year in a designated area of Australia.


What is a Regional and low population-growth metropolitan area of Australia?

Regional and low population-growth metropolitan areas are also defined by postcode and include the entire states of South Australia and Tasmania plus the Northern Territory, Western Australia (except Perth and the surrounding areas), Victoria (except Melbourne), Queensland (except the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast), New South Wales (except Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong), Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government under visa subclass 489 and agree to live and work in the region for a period of 2 years.


Do I need to undertake an English language test?

If you have a passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland you are regarded as having Vocational or Competent English and therefore you will not be required to present evidence of your English language skills. You will, however, need to sit an English language test if your circumstances dictate that you need to claim points for this factor or if your nominated occupation requires a certain level of English. The tests are designed to assess your English language ability and you are able to claim 10 points for Proficient English and 20 points for Superior English.


When should I take my English language test?

The results of your English language test can often dictate which visa pathway you select and how much work experience you need to claim when calculating your potential points score. Concept Australia recommends that you prepare for your English language test at the same time as you are applying for a skills assessment. Once a satisfactory outcome of these factors are known you will be able to proceed to the next step of the visa process and lodge an Expression of Interest.


Will my skills be recognised by an assessing authority if I do not have any qualifications?

This will depend on your nominated occupation and which assessing authority is responsible for assessing your skills. Most professional occupations require an education level of a degree or higher diploma with a combination of relevant work experience. Specific occupations such as Teachers, Nurses and Engineers require relevant qualifications whereas  senior managers and IT professionals can be assessed on the basis of work experience or accountants if they are a member of a recognised accounting body. Trades-persons assessed by Vetassess can be considered with a combination of informal training and work experience over 4 or more years but occupations assessed by Trades Recognition Australia require formal college based training and at least 3 years post qualification work experience or an AQF3 certificate awarded by a Registered Training Organisation with evidence of at least 3 years skilled employment.    


What are the benefits of using a MARA registered migration agent?

The decision to engage a migration agent is a personal choice which will depend on the complexity of your visa application and whether you are confident that you have fully understood all the rules and regulations which will be applied to your case.

If you do need assistance with the visa process, the DIBP strongly recommend that you appoint an agent who is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). A registered migration agent must satisfy a strict code of conduct and:

  • maintain current knowledge of migration law and procedure
  • keep a professional library with direct access to migration regulations via Legend
  • undertake continuous professional development in order to maintain knowledge of migration regulations and policy


An agent who is not registered with MARA cannot offer you any legal protection and is not accountable for his/her actions and therefore might:

  • make false claims about your chances of success
  • give you incorrect advice
  • have limited knowledge about current Australian visa legislation and procedures
  • increase your risk of being exposed to migration fraud
  • charge fees which are unreasonable and excessive.
What is the difference between the MLTSSL and the STSOL

If your nominated occupation features on the MLTSSL you can lodge an application under visa subclasses 189 (Skilled Independent), 190 (Skilled Nominated with the support of a state or territory government) or subclass 489 (Skilled Regional (Provisional) with either nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a close relative settled in a designated area of Australia).

If your occupation only feature on the STSOL you must be nominated by a state or territory government or by an employer. You will not be able to apply under subclass 189 and you cannot be sponsored by a close relative.


What is an ANZSCO code?

ANZSCO is the Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations. All skilled occupations have been given an ANZSCO code to help with the assessment process. Each occupation outlines the main tasks performed in your nominated occupation and includes specialisations and whether licensing or registration may be required in Australia.


If I am nominated by a state or territory government will I be guaranteed a job?

The state and territory governments have created their own skills in demand lists and operate within planning levels agreed by the Minister. Although being nominated is a reasonable guide to your occupation being in demand, a state or territory government cannot guarantee employment, particularly as sometime will elapse from being nominated to you arriving in Australia which may see a shift in employment opportunities.

It is important to take responsibility for keeping up-to-date with employment trends. You can do this by regularly viewing Australian newspapers which can be found under the "useful links" section on the home page of this website. Once you have been granted your visa and you have booked flights, you may find an approach to an Australian more receptive. Concept Australia also recommends that you prepare a CV for presentation to an employer.


Can I combine my overseas work experience with my Australian work experience?

You can claim work experience (up to a maximum of 20 points) for both overseas and Australian work experience in the past 10 years but you cannot combine the two together. For example, if you completed two and a half years overseas work experience and then travelled to Australia on  a working holiday and was employed for six months you could not claim 5 points for evidencing a total of 3 years work experience. You would either need to have completed 3 years overseas work experience or 1 years work experience in Australia in order to claim the 5 points.

It is also important to remember that any work experience claimed whilst you were in Australia must be lawful and in accordance with any conditions endorsed on your visa grant notice.


Skilled Independent Visa Enquiry Form

If you are considering applying for a skilled independent visa (subclass 189), please complete and submit the form below. The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will not be stored onto a data-base or distributed to third parties.

Concept Australia will contact you to discuss your circumstances and to explain the visa process together with costs for submitting an application for a Skilled Independent visa for Australia.




Sponsorship reforms planned for Partner visa applicants

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is planning to introduce reforms that seeks to increase the obligations on sponsors of Partner and Prospective Marriage applicants.  


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