General Skilled Migration Visas


1. Australia has a non-discriminatory immigration policy. Anyone from any country regardless of origin, religion or sexual preference can apply to migrate to Australia. However, all applicants for permanent residence or in some cases temporary residence entry to Australia must meet the health and character requirements. This is to ensure that no one is allowed entry into Australia if his or her presence in Australia would not be in the interest of the Australian community.

2. Australia’s yearly migration program places emphasis on attracting new migrants who have the education, business, or work skills, which will contribute to Australia’s economic growth. Usually they would have at least one of the following characteristics: –

  • A high level of education and occupational skills; or
  • A good track record in business; or
  • Outstanding talents in a particular field.

3. Migrants are selected from four major streams namely: –

  • General Skills Migrant Stream;
  • Business Skills Migrant Stream;
  • Employer Sponsored Stream;
  • Family Reunion Migrant Stream;
  • Refugee & Humanitarian Stream.


4. Australia’s GSM program is designed to attract young, highly skilled applicants, with an acceptable level of English language ability and skills in particular occupations that are required in Australia. These occupations are listed on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL). If an applicant’s occupation is not in the Skilled Occupations List, the applicant is invited to  contact us for a more detailed opinion as this problem may be resolved in certain exceptional cases as some Australian states or territory may have an occupation that is in demand in that state or territory but is not listed in the Australian Department of Immigration’s skilled occupations list.

5. Applicants applying for a GSM visa must meet the following basic requirements:-

  • Be under 45 years of age at the time they apply.
  • Have their skills assessed in an occupation in the SOL as being suitable for the occupation nominated by the relevant skill assessing authority.
  • Have a level of English language ability of at least 6.0 points in each of the 4 bands of the IELTS “General Training” or hold the equivalent points in another approved English Test such as the Pearson PTE Academic Test.
  • Must score at least 65 points in the Points Test.
  • Have lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) through Skill Select with the Department of Home Affairs and subsequently received an invitation to lodge his or her visa application.
  • Once an invitation is received from Skill Select the applicant must lodge his or her visa application online within 60 days from the date of invitation.

6. Currently the visa structure for the General Skilled Migration Stream is divided into the following categories:-

  • Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa;
  • Skilled State/Territory Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa;
  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) Visa;
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 Visa.

7. The Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.

 This visa is for skilled applicants and can be lodged either onshore or offshore. If lodged onshore the applicant will be granted a Bridging A visa whilst waiting for the application to be finalised. Applicants for this visa do not require state/territory nomination and will require a minimum of 65 points to be eligible to apply. Due to the extremely competitive nature of this visa category some applicants with highly competitive occupations with require about 90 points to receive a letter of invitation.

8. Skilled State/Territory Nominated Subclass 190 Visa.

Applicants for this visa must be nominated by an Australian state or territory and will require a minimum of 65 points to be eligible to apply. This application can also be lodged onshore or offshore. In order to be nominated by a state or territory an application for nomination is usually submitted to the chosen state by the applicant first before the EOI is lodged.

9. Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visa.

To be eligible to apply for this visa the applicant must meet the following pre-requisites:-

  • Must not be more than 50 years old;
  • Must be in Australia and the application must be lodged onshore;
  • Must hold an eligible visa;
  • Must have studied in Australia for at least 2 academic years;
  • Must have at least competent level of English Language proficiency;
  • Must have recently completed a course of study, that is, not more than 6 months ago at the time of lodgement of the visa application;
  • Must have a successful skill assessment in an occupation in the Skilled Occupations List;
  • Must have already submitted an application to the Australian Federal Police for a certificate of no criminal conviction.

10. The Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa has two streams:-

  • Graduate Work Stream. This visa is for international students with an eligible qualification who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation in the Skilled Occupations List. The visa, when granted, will be valid for a period of 18 months to enable the applicant to live and work in Australia.
  • Post Study Work Stream. This visa is for international students with a higher education degree from an Australian university or education provider, regardless of their field of study. The stream is only available to students who applied for, and were granted their first student visa to Australia on or after 05 November 2011. A visa in this stream when granted will be for a period of 2 to 4 years depending on the visa applicant’s academic qualifications.
  • Upon the grant of either of the visas above the visa holder will have the opportunity to work and gain work experience in Australia or to improve his IELTS Test results to improve his or her Points Test scores to be eligible to apply for either a GSM visa or an employer sponsored visa.

11. The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 Visa.

This visa is generally suitable for an applicant who is not able to achieve the necessary 65 points without either sponsorship by an eligible relative living in a designated area or nomination by a state or territory government agency. When granted this visa it enables the visa holder to live and work in a designated area for 5 years. As usual the applicant must first submit an EOI through Skill Select and wait for an invitation to issue from Skill Select. Once the invitation letter is received the applicant has 60 days to lodge his or her visa application.

This visa will enable the visa holder to apply for permanent residence after residing in the designated area for three years and have an income threshold (TSMIT) of $53,900 for the three years through the Skilled Regional Subclass 191 visa.

12. To be eligible to apply for the Subclass 191 visa the applicant must meet the following pre-requisites:-

  • Must not be more than 45 years old;
  • Must have a suitable skill assessment in the occupation in the SOL;
  • Must have at least competent English;
  • Must have an income threshold of $53,900 for the three years;
  • Must have lived in the Designated Area for three years;
  • Must either be sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia or be nominated by an Australian state/territory government agency;
  • Can only apply from 16 November 2022.

13. Skilled – Regional (subclass 887) Visa.

This visa when granted is a permanent residence visa. To be eligible to apply the applicant must have the following pre-requisites:-

  • Must be holding a Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa;
  • Must have Functional English proficiency;
  • Must have lived in the designate area for at least two years; and
  • Must have been gainfully employed (at least 35 hours per week) or operated a business successfully for a period of at least 12 months.

14. Points Test.

Generally, unless otherwise specified all applicants for the GSM category of visas must pass the Points Test. Applicants are awarded points for:-

  • Age
  • English Language Ability
  • Australian Work Experience
  • Overseas Work Experience
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Australian Study Requirement
  • Credentialed Community Language, or Partner Skills Qualifications, or Study in Regional Area
  • Nomination by a State, or Sponsorship by an Eligible Relative


If an applicant is able to meet all the requirements of any particular category of visa and you intend to apply for the visa, then you are invited to contact James Tan Immigration Lawyer by completing the Assessment Form in this website for a proper assessment to determine whether an application should be lodged with the Department of Home Affairs. This assessment costs only $150.00 and is credited to the fees payable if you proceed to instruct us to proceed with an application. In all instances lodgement fees (which can be quite substantial) once paid to the Australian Department of Home Affairs is non-refundable. Therefore the $150.00 assessment fee paid is money well spent.

16. Please note that the immigration information provided in this website is a guide only. You are advised to contact James Tan Immigration Lawyer or the Department of Immigration & Border Protection for specific answers to any question affecting your case. For a prompt reply to any query with regard to your case you are invited to submit your confidential completed Assessment Form to James Tan Immigration Lawyer for an accurate and quick assessment of your specific case.

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    The information on this website is not legal advice. You should consult an Immigration Lawyer for advise specific to your situation.Liability is limited by a scheme approved by the Migration Institute of Australia professional standard liability scheme.

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