Lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has reduced the number of General Skilled Migration (GSM) places available for invitation in the 2020/2021 program year and priority is being given to applicants whose skills and work experience will contribute to Australia's economic recovery and public health response. Offshore applicants in general professional and trade occupations will therefore have less priority until the employment market recovers in Australia.

You cannot apply for a GSM visa until you have been invited by the DHA. To do this you must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI). Concept Australia recommends you should only do this once you have explored your visa options, obtained a positive skills assessment and generated the required number of points to receive an invitation. It is therefore important that you seek professional advice and guidance at the very beginning of your visa journey as this will enable you to make an informed decision about how you approach the visa process.

General criteria

All applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply for a GSM visa for Australia:

  • Have a skilled occupation on the relevant skills list
  • Be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation from the DHA
  • Have received a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
  • Have achieved the required number of points for the visa class selected
  • have at least competent English
  • have lodged an Expression of Interest
  • Be nominated by a state/territory government (subclass 190)
  • Be nominated by a state/territory government or sponsored by a close relative (subclass 491)

What is SkillSelect and an Expression of Interest (EOI)?

SkillSelect is the Australian Government’s online system for anyone interested in applying for a GSM visa to live and work in Australia. Your EOI is valid for 24 months and you can update it at any time before you receive an invitation but, you cannot change it once the DHA invite you to submit an application which must be done within 60 days. It is important that you up-load all documents to support and verify the claim made in your EOI as your Australia visa application can be rejected if you cannot substantiate your claims.

When should I apply for a skills assessment?

Concept Australia recommends that you only apply for a skills assessment once your visa options have been fully assessed, the appropriate visa pathway selected, and your potential points score correctly calculated. Skills assessing authorities have limited knowledge of the skilled visa process as their responsibility is to determine whether your qualifications and skills are comparable to someone working in your nominated occupation in Australia. They have no interest in whether you will achieve sufficient points to receive an invitation from the DHA or whether you will be granted a GSM visa for Australia.

Is my nominated occupation on the Medium Long Term Skilled Shortage list (MLTSSL), the Short Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL) or the Regional Occupations List (ROL)?

If your nominated occupation features on the MLTSSL you can lodge an application under visa sub-classes 189 (Skilled Independent), 190 (Skilled Nominated with the support of a state or territory government) or subclass 491 (Skilled Regional Work visa with either nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a close relative settled in a designated area of Australia). If, however, your occupation only features on the STSOL or ROL 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.

How can I generate the required number of points to receive an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs?

Once you have received a positive skills assessment from an Australian assessing authority and by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) you can generate points for:

  •   Your age
  •   Being a single applicant
  •   Recognised qualifications
  •   Employment
  •   English language skills
  •   Being nominated by a state or territory government
  •   Partner skills
  •   Study in Australia
  •   Specialist education qualifications
  •   Accredited language skills
  •   Professional year in Australia

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

Each state and territory has different selection criteria and publishes a list of occupations in demand which can change at any time. If you are relying on nomination support as part of the migration process, it is important to research and understand before you start out on your visa journey the nomination requirements for the state or territory that you wish to settle. Currently, only New South wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are offering nominations to offshore skilled visa applicants.

Examples of the range of criteria applied by the state and territory governments include:

•    A commitment to living in the state or territory
•    Between 1 and 5 years work experience in your nominated occupation
•    The level of English required for your nominated occupation
•    A firm job offer in your nominated occupation
•    Evidence of current vacancies in nominated occupation
•    Specialised skills in your nominated occupation
•    Nomination only available if you are currently living in the State or territory
•    Amount of funds available for settlement
•    Your overall points score
•    Current availability of places for your nominated occupation

Am I prepared to live in regional Australia?

The DHA is actively encouraging people to settle in regional or low population growth areas of Australia via the Skilled Regional Visa - (subclass 491). To qualify for this visa, you and family members included in your application must be prepared to live, work and study in regional Australia (anywhere other than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) for a minimum period of 3 years.Applicants will benefit from being awarded 15 points for being nominated by a state or territory government.

The DHA has introduced a ranking system for an invitation to apply for this visa as follows:

  1. Applicant with a skilled partner or applicants without a partner;
  2. Applicant with a partner with Competent English (but does not have a skills assessment);
  3. Applicant with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or skilled partner points.

Pathway to permanent residence

After 3 years of having lived, worked/studied in regional Australia, you can apply for permanent residence (subclass 191 - Skilled Regional) but must have complied with all the conditions of your visa including evidence of taxable income.

Will I need to sit an English language test and what level will I need to achieve?

Generating points for English via an English language test can pose the biggest obstacle for people applying for a GSM visa for Australia. Although primary applicants who hold a passport from the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland are considered to have a level of Competent English they will not be awarded any points for this level of English. To be awarded points for English you will need to sit an English language test and be examined for the components of reading, writing, listening and speaking to claim 10 points for Proficient English and 20 points for Superior English.

Have I correctly calculated the number of points I can claim in my EOI?

By submitting an EOI you are providing critical information about your age, education and qualifications, skills assessment, employment history and English language skills which will attribute points and enable the DHA to consider inviting you to apply for a skilled visa for Australia. This information needs to be accurate as it cannot be changed after an invitation to apply is received. If you have miscalculated your points and for example, claimed points for work experience that cannot be verified, your application may be refused.

Will I automatically receive a visa application invitation if I have 65 points?

The simple answer is no, unless you are a health professional such as a registered nurse or doctor. Invitation rounds are now held quarterly, and places have been restricted to a small number of targeted occupations.

Seeking professional advice with a MARA registered migration agent can help you with your skilled visa application

It is easy through research to become overloaded with information, which is difficult to interpret leaving you with many questions unanswered. Before you start out on your visa journey it makes sense to discuss your plans in detail with a MARA Registered Migration Agent. MARA monitor the conduct of registered agents to ensure that only the highest level of advice and assistance is provided to prospective applicants. To achieve this, MARA agents must subscribe to the same regulations used by DHA case officers and undertake professional development on an annual basis. We will discuss your visa options in detail and provide clear constructive advice on the visa process to enable you to make an informed judgement regarding your future migration plans. The appointment will also provide you with an opportunity to ask key questions that you may not have found answers to during your research.

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News

16/01/2021

Tasmania nomination program

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

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