Skilled Migration also referred to as General Skilled Migration (GSM) is made up of independent , nominated and sponsored skilled migration. They are different but they form part of the overall Skilled Migration program. The terminology is confusing however because categories include independent skilled categories as well as employer, family, state and regionally nominated and sponsored categories.


SkillSelect, is the mandatory system designed to meet market demand for skilled labour. The SkillSelect process is initiated by the lodgement of an Expression of Interest (EOI).

19 April 2017 changes

As a news flash, the previous Skilled Occupation List ( SOL) has been replaced by the new Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the previous secondary Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) has been replaced by the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). Some occupations have been removed from the MLTSSL & STSOL

The Department of Home Affairs ( DHA) uses the tools below to ’select’ applicants to receive an invitation from the SkillSelect database based upon the following factors:

  • Choosing an eligible occupation from the MLTSSL and the STSOL;
  • Entry English language ability;
  • A positive skill assessment from an authorised assessor; and
  • Passing the Point Test (points test pool score  is now 65). The DHA is able to manipulate the entry point score generally (for all applications) or for specified in-demand occupations (such as accountant (80), certain engineers (75) and selected ICT occupations (75)). The general entry score and scores for selected occupations can vary over the program year.

*SkillSelect is also the portal for the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) but this information on this page is limited to GSM visas:

worker while doing a welding with arc welderA basic explanation of the procedure:

Stage 1 Applicant submits an online EOI.  Before doing so applicants should complete a mandatory skill assessment and English language testing so they can accurately record their information for ranking purposes. When the EOI is lodged, the applicant will need  to include basic biographical and other occupation and work experience information. They may also register their interest in one or more visa programs depending on their eligibility and personal preferences.

The GSM visas that this will affect include the independent, family sponsored, State or Territory nominated and business skills visas. At this stage, it will be important for applicants to have a good understanding of which visas they are eligible to apply for. It is important that applicants keep all of their options open, so please seek our advice to ensure that you register your interest in as many options as possible.

Stage 2 – Upon meeting the current mandatory points score independently for the Skilled Independent SC189 visa or including a nomination from a State & Territory and nomination points to reach 65 points for the Skilled Nominated SC190 and Skilled Regional (Provisional ) (State & territory nominated) SC 489 visas, a formal invitation will be issued by the DHA to make a skilled migration visa application. Invitations from the MLTSSL are issued on a highest points basis and are competitive, whereas for the nominated visas (which can include occupations on the MLTSSL) once the score of 65 is reached with or without points but always with a nomination, an invitation is issued automatically.

Stage 3 After receiving an invitation to lodge an invitation for one of the selected options, a visa application together with supporting information substantiating the information noted in the EOI must be lodged within sixty (60) days from the invitation date.

Selected employers (both state and territory governments and authorities and non-government alike) will also be able to access the SkillSelect database to offer applicants non-points tested temporary employer sponsorship (457 visa program) or permanent employer nomination (Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)). Once selected the visa application procedure will continue separately for whichever visa was selected and is not a part of the SkillSelect procedure.

Ranking and take-up of invitation

EOI’s will be ranked in accordance with the points claimed against the skilled migration points test, at the time of the EOI submission.(time of effect).

The time of effect will be updated each time the intending migrant amends their EOI resulting in a change to their points test score or eligibility for a visa subclass. If an intending migrant changes their information, but it does not change their points score or eligibility, this will not alter their date of effect for the purposes of ranking against a particular subclass of visa.

The Points Test  allocates values to the core indicators such as:

  • Age (under 45 after 1 July 2017),
  • English-language ability (Superior, Proficient or Competent – Functional for adult dependents);
  • Relevant work experience (both inside and outside Australia – maximum 20 points);
  • Qualifications (Doctorate, Bachelor, Diploma, trade qualification or award recognised by the assessor)
  • Specialist qualifications (A Masters degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution that included at least two academic years in a relevant field).
  • State or territory nomination points;
  • Other factors (Accredited community language, Partner points, Australian study points)

Ranking is an objective and automated process.Invitations for migration under GSM visa categories are now issued  monthly -see below:

The Subclass 189 points tested visa stream and Subclass 489 invitation rounds have traditionally been run fortnightly. The Department has reviewed this process and will now extend invitations ON A MONTHLY BASISThe invitation numbers will be increased accordingly, to ensure the number of applications received will maintain a strong pipeline for the skilled program. There are no other changes being implemented aside from moving to a monthly invitation process.
There is currently a very healthy pipeline of applications and they will continue to monitor those so they can make sure they invite an appropriate number each month.  The invitation rounds are not set in stone in terms of invitation numbers, they can fluctuate depending on the department’s processing capacity and pipeline.
The department has indicated that they have been allocated the same number of places in the Migration Program as last year and will continue to work as hard as they can to meet finalisations while maintaining their optimum level of scrutiny and integrity in the program.
The pro-rata occupations will continue to maintain the same split as previous to allow room for other non pro-rata occupations to also be invited.
Those applicants with equal points will be invited in earliest date order.
SkillSelect scores released for the 11 September 2018 show that for the independent visas including the pro-rata occupations listed, scores remain extremely competitive. 
Visa Subclass Points score Date of effect
Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) 70 21/06/2018  5:55pm
Skilled – Regional Provisional (subclass 489) 80 10/07/2018  11:22am

Due to high levels of demand, and in keeping with previous years, the below occupation groups will be subject to pro rata arrangements to ensure availability of invitations across the programme year.

Point scores and the dates of effect cut off  for the pro-rata occupations in the 11 September 2018 invitation round.

Occupation ID Description Points score Date of effect
2211 Accountants 80 25/05/2018 9:59am
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 80 1/05/2018 10:54am
2334 Electronics Engineer 70 15/11/2017 10:32am
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 70 18/01/2018 9:55pm
2339 Other Engineering Professionals 75 3/07/2018 6:37pm
2611 ICT Business and System Analysts 75 28/05/2018 6:25pm
2613 Software and Applications Programmers 75 20/08/2018 3:13pm
2631 Computer Network Professionals 70 17/01/2018 11:36am

Where applicants require state or territory nomination for the points-tested categories like the
Skilled Nominated sc 190 and Skilled Regional sc489 visas, the process requires the applicant to lodge the EOI whilst nominating the preferred state or territory. Provisional points will be allocated upon lodgment of the EOI subject to nomination. The practice of states or territories vary (some require liaison before lodging and others prefer to view the database first and follow-up afterwards) but we recommend – wherever possible- to try and make contact with the state or territory body, to ensure that the nominator’s criteria can be met before lodging the EOI. Upon nomination approval points will be confirmed and invitations will be issued. by DHA State and Territory nomination links:


Occupation ceilings for the 2018-19 program year

Occupation ID Description Occupation Ceiling Value 2018-19 Invitations to 11/09/2018
1213 Livestock Farmers 4,841 0
1331 Construction Managers 5,982 13
1332 Engineering Managers 1,131 10
1341 Child Care Centre Managers 1,000 1
1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers 1,302 3
2211 Accountants* 3,753 636
2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers* 1,342 227
2241 Actuaries, Mathematicians and Statisticians 1,000 25
2245 Land Economists and Valuers 1,000 12
2247 Management consultant 3,894 79
2321 Architects and Landscape Architects 1,251 87
2322 Cartographers and Surveyors 1,000 23
2331 Chemical and Materials Engineers 1,000 133
2332 Civil Engineering Professionals 3,510 339
2333 Electrical Engineers 1,000 172
2334 Electronics Engineers* 300 51
2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers* 1,780 301
2339 Other Engineering Professionals* 700 119
2341 Agricultural and Forestry Scientists 1,000 45
2346 Medical Laboratory Scientists 1,600 38
2347 Veterinarians 1,000 25
2349 Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals 1,000 7
2411 Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers 2,488 70
2414 Secondary School Teachers 8,480 115
2415 Special Education Teachers 1,000 1
2512 Medical Imaging Professionals 1,224 5
2514 Optometrists and Orthoptists 1,000 3
2519 Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals 1,000 2
2521 Chiropractors and Osteopaths 1,000 10
2524 Occupational Therapists 1,227 19
2525 Physiotherapists 1,613 31
2526 Podiatrists 1,000 1
2527 Speech Professionals and Audiologists 1,000 21
2531 General Practitioners and Resident Medical officers 3,348 100
2533 Internal Medicine Specialists 1,000 15
2534 Psychiatrists 1,000 2
2535 Surgeons 1,000 4
2539 Other Medical Practitioners 1,145 221
2541 Midwives 1,000 11
2544 Registered Nurses 17,322 413
2611 ICT Business and Systems Analysts* 1,466 248
2613 Software and Applications Programmers* 7,271 1231
2621 Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists 2,660 295
2631 Computer Network Professionals* 2,167 367
2633 Telecommunications Engineering Professionals 1,000 251
2711 Barristers 1,000 0
2713 Solicitors 3,770 54
2723 Psychologists 2,228 19
2725 Social Workers 2,125 53
3122 Civil Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians 1,000 14
3123 Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians 1,000 4
3132 Telecommunications Technical Specialists 1,000 7
3211 Automotive Electricians 1,000 0
3212 Motor Mechanics 6,099 10
3222 Sheetmetal Trades Workers 1,000 0
3223 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers 4,639 3
3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists 6,989 3
3233 Precision Metal Trades Workers 1,000 0
3241 Panelbeaters 1,000 0
3311 Bricklayers and Stonemasons 1,594 1
3312 Carpenters and Joiners 8,372 6
3322 Painting Trades Workers 3,277 3
3331 Glaziers 1,000 1
3332 Plasterers 2,081 0
3334 Wall and Floor Tilers 1,259 0
3341 Plumbers 5,766 3
3411 Electricians 9,303 15
3421 Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics 1,836 0
3422 Electrical Distribution Trades Workers 1,019 0
3423 Electronics Trades Workers 1,769 13
3513 Chefs 2,821 18
3941 Cabinetmakers 1,421 1
3991 Boat Builders and Shipwrights 1,000 0

*Occupations that are subject to pro rata arrangements. For Accountants (2211) the occupational ceiling also reflects volumes in other skilled visa categories.

*Occupations that are subject to pro rata arrangements. For Accountants (2211) the occupational ceiling also reflects volumes in other skilled visa categories.

Occupation ceilings do not apply to State or Territory Nominated, Employer Sponsored or Business Innovation and Investment visa subclasses.

State & Territory nomination (and shortage lists – see below)
The likely result of this will be to force more applicants to consider the State and Territory nominated and sponsored visas. However in doing so applicants should consider the various state and territory restrictions or additional conditions which may be applied by states and territories in these competitive times, because will not want to be seen as taking ‘the leftovers’.

See:  State and Territory Migration plan lists on the Skilled Nominated (sc190 ) visa and  the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (sc489)  visa pages.



It is essential if preparing your own EOI, that any /all information inputted on-line is accurate and can be verified at that time because if an invitation is issued, the points will be frozen in time. All points claimed must be proved. If you are unable to do so, then this will render your visa application invalid.


If invited by DHA to apply, the applicant will have 60 days in which to lodge the visa application. If a visa application is not lodged within this time-frame, the invitation will become null and void. The EOI will remain in the database and the applicant may be eligible for selection in the next or subsequent invitation round.

It is important to note the the EOI is not a visa application so lodgment will not result in a bridging visa. Applicants must have an existing visa to apply for an EOI, but in a helpful departure, bridging visas A, B and C holders will be able to lodge an EOI. Applicants must understand that SkillSelect is different to the processing of applications in order of receipt subject to processing priorities.

An invitation to apply will depend upon ranked score and occupation ceilings, so there is no guarantee that an invitation will be made if a score is too low (but still be 60 or above) in a popular occupation.

Next steps:

If you don’t feel confident registering your EOI personally and wish to appoint us to ensure the best result and continuity if you are offered an invitation – with the capacity to lodge a visa application within 60 days – then please go to our Contact page and request our assistance.

Skill Assessment for migration purposes

The explanation above confirms that a positive skill assessment from the relevant skill assessing authority is required before you can lodge an EOI. We receive many queries as to the equivalence of educational qualifications and non trades occupations this can be verified visa the NOOSR web-site. For trade occupations however the question of equivalency is more hit and miss , which makes it difficult for us to advise you categorically because everyone ‘s circumstances differ. There are several web-sites which attempt to list equivalent Australian AQF and C&G and NVQ or SNVQ qualifications from the UK, but this can be tricky for the same reason. I have included a statement from Trade Recognition Australia (TRA) from their web-site FAQs which addresses this matter in relation to the equivalence of certain trade qualifcations:

‘TRA will accept an NVQ 2 as a comparable qualification in some cases and for some occupations. Generally, TRA considers the United Kingdom NVQ 2 to be at a level broadly comparable with that of the AQF Certificate III that is required for the majority of occupations assessed by TRA. However, training programs leading to an NVQ 2 can be highly varied in their content, duration and delivery methods. For this reason, TRA cannot guarantee that your NVQ 2 will be accepted in all cases. 

 When assessing your NVQ 2, TRA will look at the length of your training or apprenticeship period and the subjects you studied for your qualification.  Your NVQ 2 will not be accepted if it is missing components which are major requirements of the comparable Australian qualification for your occupation.  For example, the NVQ 2 in Gas Network Operations is not accepted for Gasfitters because it does not include training in gas appliances, flues or ventilation as is required in the relevant Australian qualification for that occupation, the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Certificate III in Gasfitting.

 If you decide to use an NVQ 2 as the main qualification in your TRA application, you should ensure that you have included detailed evidence of the training that you did to receive your qualification.

 Please note that TRA considers the NVQ 2 to be at most comparable to an AQF Certificate III.  Some occupations require a comparable level of qualification higher than a Certificate III. In these cases, your NVQ 2 will not be accepted as comparable.’

For further information on these issues or Skilled Independent, Skilled Nominated or Skilled Regional visas please click on the links.