Lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI)

If you are a skilled person contemplating a new life in Australia, you will experience a far more complex visa programme and will face greater challenges throughout your visa journey. Nowadays, there is far more to consider, and much can change as you weave your way through the migration maze. The first thing to understand is that you cannot apply for a General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa until you have been invited by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). To do this you must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) but, Concept Australia recommends you should only do this once you have explored your visa options and are satisfied that you can generate 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 your future in Australia.

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. Although your EOI is valid for 24 months and you can update it during that time, you cannot change it once you have received an invitation. It is therefore very important that you aim to get it right first time as once you are invited, you will only have 60 days to submit your application. If you don’t have the right information and required documents to hand to support the claims you made on your EOI, your Australia visa application can be rejected. It is therefore vital that you ensure you are fully prepared before you submit your EOI in order to give yourself every chance of success.

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.

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 (from 16 November 2019) 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
  •   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.

Examples 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 and a new visa class - Skilled Regional Work visa (subclass 491) will come into effect on 16 November 2019. 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, Brisbane, The Gold Coast or Perth) for a minimum period of 3 years.Applicants will benefit from an increase in points awarded for state/territory nomination from 10 to 15.

The DHA has allocated a total of 14,000 places for this subclass and has introduced a ranking system for an invitation to apply for a 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 (yet to be announced).

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 General Skilled Migration 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 Compotent 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.

Changes for points awarded for English from 16 November 2019

Changes being introduced to the points test on 16 November 2019 will enable applicants to claim additional points to assist in reaching their points target which include:

Applicants with a partner under 45 with a positive skills assessment and with competent English - 10 points;

Applicants whose partner has competent English only - 05 points,

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. Invitation rounds are usually run on the 11th day of each month and places will vary depending on the number of applications being processed by the DHA with the highest ranked applicants by points score being invited to apply for the relevant visa. For applicants who have equal points scores, the time at which they reached their points score for that subclass (referred to as the date of effect) determines their order of invitation. Please note that selective occupations such as Accountants and some ICT and Engineering professionals require a higher points score. Applicants being nominated by a state or territory government are not subject to invitation rounds. Some states have, however, raised the number of points required by them in their quest to select the best and brightest applicants.  

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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