General Skilled Migration Australia - Visa classes 189, 190, 491/191

General skilled Migration - visa options

The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact on the General Skilled Migration Program and priority is being given to inviting applicants who are already in Australia. The Australian government has announced that the 2021/2022 migration program will be maintained at 160,000 with approximately 50% allocated to highly skilled migrants in the employer sponsored, business innovation and investor program and global talent cohorts. Until border restrictions are lifted, invitations will focus mainly on applicants already in Australia. 

Although opportunities for offshore applicants are at present limited, Australian employers are beginning to report skilled shortages. The Australian Government provides forecasts for future employment growth across a wide range of sectors including information on average salaries which can be found here.

Applying for a skilled visa is not a straightforward process and understanding how the regulations and policy will be applied to your application is complex. Many applicants are successful in receiving a positive skills assessment but, these authorities are not responsible for you meeting Department of Home Affairs (DHA) criteria. Before you start out on your visa journey you need to look at the bigger picture and ask:

  • Is my nominated occupation on a state or territory skills list?
  • What are the maximum points I can claim?
  • Is my points score enough to be nominated?
  • Do I need to achieve proficient or superior English?
  • How much work experience can I claim points for?
  • Where do I want to live in Australia?
  • Am I prepared to reside in regional Australia?
  • Am I able to meet state/territory criteria?
  • Will special conditions or ranking reduce my prospect of being nominated?
  • Will I need a job offer?
  • How much funds are required to settle in Australia?

These are the questions you should be asking before planning your move to Australia. Seeking advice at an early stage will provide you with a clear understanding of what you have to achieve to be granted a General Skilled Migration visa for Australia.

SkillSelect and the General Skilled Migration points test

SkillSelect is the DHA online system which enables you to record points based details about yourself and spouse by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI). To receive an invitation for a Skilled Independent visa or if you are sponsored by a relative residing in a designated area of Australia you must achieve the minimum points published by the DHA in SkillSelect invitation rounds held in January, April, July and October. If you are nominated by a state or territory government you will automatically receive an invitation from the DHA to submit a visa application. Please note that some states and territories may require more than 65 points for some occupations.

You can generate points for the following factors:

  1. Your age (you must be under 45)
  2. Being a single applicant
  3. Partner skills and or competent English
  4. Recognised qualifications via a skills assessment
  5. Skilled employment in your nominated occupation
  6. English language skills (via a test)
  7. Nomination by a state or territory government
  8. Sponsorship by a close relative residing in a designated area of Australia
  9. Previous study in Australia
  10. Specialist Education qualifications
  11. Accredited language skills
  12. Professional year in Australia

What General Skilled Migration visa sub-classes can be applied for?

Skilled Independent visa for Australia - subclass 189

The Skilled Independent visa is a permanent General Skilled Migration visa which does not require nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship by a relative. Your nominated occupation must be on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and you cannot apply for this visa if your nominated occupation is only on the Short Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL). Invitation rounds are held in January, April, July and October by the DHA and places for this visa class are competitive with a strong focus on applicants living and working in Australia with skills and work experience who will contribute to Australia's economic recovery and health response.

Skilled Nominated visa for Australia - subclass 190

The Skilled Nominated visa is a permanent General Skilled Migration visa which requires a commitment to living and working in the nominating state or territory for 2 years. The benefit of being nominated by a state or territory government is that you will not be subject to DHA invitation rounds and will automatically receive an invitation if you are nominated. This visa class also offers a pathway to applicants whose nominated occupation is only on the STSOL. At present, this visa class is generally not available to offshore applicants.

Skilled Regional Work visa for Australia - subclass 491/191 

The Skilled Regional Work visa for Australia is for applicants who are willing to live in a regional area of Australia (anywhere except Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane) for a minimum of 3 years. You can either be nominated by a state or territory government or sponsored by a close relative settled and residing in a designated area of Australia. If you are sponsored by a relative your nominated occupation must be on the MLTSSL Holders of a subclass 491 visa (primary applicant, spouse and children) will become eligible to apply for permanent residence (subclass 191 - Skilled Regional visa) providing they have lived, worked (with a minimum annual taxable income of $53,900) and studied in a designated regional area of Australia for a minimum of 3 out of a total of 5 years as the holder of a subclass 491 visa.

What are the benefits of being nominated by a state or territory government?

The Skilled Nominated and Skilled Regional visa sub-classes have become increasingly popular due to the Skilled Independent visa remaining beyond the reach for many applicants. To be nominated you must have an occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupations List or a state/territory skills list and satisfy individual selection criteria of the state or territory you have selected. Successful candidates are generally selected in accordance with economic requirements which may include the number of years work experience, specialised skills, employability, a job offer, English language skills, relatives residing in the state or territory, settlement funds and overall points score.

If you are nominated, you will:

  • Automatically be invited by the DHA to submit an application.
  • Receive priority visa processing with the DHA.
  • Receive 5 points for a Skilled Nominated visa towards the DHA points test
  • Receive 15 points for a Skilled Regional visa towards the DHA points test

Visa stages

The GSM program has a number of stages that need to be completed before an invitation to apply for a visa can be issued by the DHA. You must score a minimum of 65 points and be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation.

Skills assessment

All applicants must receive a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority in Australia which will establish that your skills and qualifications are comparable to someone working in your nominated occupation in Australia.

English language

If you hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Republic of Ireland or New Zealand you are considered to have competent English but if you need to claim  points for this factor you will need to sit an English language test.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

Submitting an EOI will enable you to record details about yourself which will generate points. It is important that the information you record is accurate as it will need to be substantiated during the visa assessment process by a DHA case officer. Please click here for a full summary of the points test. 

Nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a relative 

If you are nominated by a state or territory government you will automatically be invited by the DHA to submit an application but if you are sponsored by a relative you will be subject to quarterly invitation rounds held in January, April, July and October.

Invitation to submit an application

Once you receive an invitation from the DHA your application must be submitted within 60 days and supported with all of the evidence claimed in your EOI. Following a formal assessment by a DHA case officer and the claims in your EOI have been verified you will be instructed to arrange health and character checks and if satisfactory, you will then be granted your visa.   


There is much to consider before embarking on your visa journey and undertaking research on the internet or seeking advice from forums can leave you with more questions than answers. A consultation will enable us to provide you with an overview of the skilled program, answer your questions and determine whether your visa prospects are realistic before you outlay fees to an assessing authority or arrange to sit an English language test.

Concept Australia charges a fee of £65 + VAT for a 30-minute consultation which is deducted from the first stage of our fee outlined below should you appoint us as your migration agent. 

What services can I expect to receive from Concept Australia?

Concept Australia has been assisting people since 1991 to obtain skilled visas to reside in Australia and offers a full range of bespoke visa application services tailored to meet your specific requirements. All of our staff including the Registered Migration Agent (9901024) are based permanently in the UK and have previously held positions with the DHA. We work directly with our clients and do not sub-contract work out to other companies or individuals. We take responsibility for the entire management of your application and offer a personal service throughout the visa process so as to ensure that your case runs as smoothly as possible.

Our services include:

  • A consultation to examine your visa options and discuss the visa process
  • Completing the skills assessment and visa application forms
  • Lodging your EOI once your skills have been recognised for migration purposes
  • Ensuring claims made in your EOI can be substantiated and are correct
  • Uploading all relevant documents to the online SkillSelect ImmiAccount
  • Managing your application until your skilled visa is decided by the DHA
  • Discussing any other issues such as health and character

Why should I only use an agent registered with MARA?

Registered Migration agents are managed by the DHA who is responsible for monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents both in and outside Australia. An agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) must meet professional standards and is accountable for the advice and information provided to its clients. MARA agents must subscribe to DHA migration regulations and undertake annual professional development activities to ensure they maintain up-to-date knowledge of migration law and procedure. For more information click here.

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

Concept Australia’s fees cover all persons included in the visa application and are charged in stages as we undertake the work on your behalf which range from £1,800 - £2200 depending on the visa class selected.

  • DHA – A$4,115 (main applicant), A$2,055 (spouse) A$1,030 (dependent child)
  • Skills assessment – will depend on nominated occupation
  • English language test £155 - £175
  • Nomination – will depend on the state or territory selected
  • Health checks – Adult £300, Child 11 - 14 - £235, Child 4 - 10 years - £85
  • UK police report - £55.

How long does the skilled visa application process take?

The processing timetable from start to finish is influenced by a number of factors which can include your points score, nominated occupation and the decision by a state or territory government to nominate you.

Making an initial enquiry for a preliminary assessment of your potential eligibility

When you contact Concept Australia, an experienced staff member will provide you with an honest appraisal of your visa options and whether a pathway is available to you. If you would like to know how we can assist you in obtaining a General Skilled Migration visa for Australia, please complete the Enquiry form below and submit your details to Concept Australia or send an email to


> Make an Enquiry

What visa options are there?

Choose the best option for you:


Australian Skilled Visa Enquiry Form

If you are considering applying for a skilled visa, 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.

Please answer all questions as this will enable us to make an accurate assessment of your potential points score and which visa sub class would offer the best chance of being invited to apply for a General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa for Australia.

Concept Australia will contact you by email to outline your visa options and the costs for submitting an application for a GSM visa for Australia.




Tasmania nomination program

Tasmania reopens Skilled Regional subclass 491 offshore nomination visa program from 29 January 2021.  


What our clients are saying

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