Skilled Independent Visas

A number of Skilled Visas can be applied for independently (i.e. do not require nomination by an employer). Partners and dependent children can be included within the main applicants visa application. The skilled visas require the main visa applicant to nominate an occupation on the respective 'Occupation list' for that visa, plus to show that they have the required level of skilled experience for that occupation (qualifications/skilled work experience).

These visas are Points based (Points Calculator). and require the applicant to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) towards applying for a Skilled visa. A minimum points score of at least 65 points is required to submit an EOI. The Expression of Interest is a competitive process. Depending upon the visa stream applied under individual are prioritised against different criteria (see below). It is important to recognise that there is no guarantee of being invited to apply for a visa. EOI's remain in the pool for up to 2 years.

  • Subclass 189, Skilled independent visa :
    • Invitations for this visa are competitive and individuals within the 'EOI pool' with the highest Points scores receive invitations (NB: due to high demand some occupations are invited on a ProRata basis).
    • This is a Permanent Residence visa allowing its holders to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia.
  • Subclass 190, Skilled Nominated visa:
    • Before being invited to apply for this visa an Australian State or Territory must agree to nominate you for a 190 visa.
    • In exchange for their sponsorship you are generally required to commit to living and working within that state/territory for at least 2 years after grant or on arrival in Australia.
    • The states/territories select which occupations they may be interested in nominating individuals under plus may have additional criteria/requirements to be met when considering who they wish to nominate.
    • This visa allows its holders to live and work permanently in Australia.
    • One of the benefits of SC190 State/Territory nomination is that 5 additional points are provided.
  • Subclass 491, Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa:
    • This is a points based visa and requires the visa applicant to be nominated/sponsored by a State, Territory or an eligible family member.
    • The 491 is a five-year Provisional visa.
    • The 491 visa provides a potential pathway to Permanent Residence through the Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa (discussed below) assuming the eligibility criteria for the SC191 are subsequently met.
    • One of the benefits of SC491 State/Territory nomination is that 15 additional points are provided.
    • The aim of the visa is to encourage skilled workers to live and work outside the main cities. To ensure that 491 visa holders remain in designated areas holders visa are restricted, for a period of time (3 years), from applying for several other visas including the visa subclasses 189, 190, 186, 820, 124/858 and 132.

Definition of 'Regional'

The introduction of two new Regional visas, Subclasses 491 and 494, are aimed at encouraging migrants to migrate to areas outside the main cities of Australia. In the context of the 491 and 494 visas the Dept. of Home Affairs (March 2019) advised that, except for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, that all of Australia would meet the definition of 'Regional'. Therefore, 'Regional' still includes many large cities throughout Australia.

Pathway to Permanent Residence from the Provisional 491 visa holders

The 491 Provisional Regional Visas provides a potential pathway to Permanent Residence assuming that you meet the eligibility criteria which include:

  • Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)):
    • eligibility criteria include: that whilst holding a 491 visa ALL applicants have lived/worked/studied in the specified regional area, whilst holding a 491 visa; and
    • have complied with the Conditions of the 491 visa.
    • can show taxable earnings of at least a specified amount (as set by the Minister) for a period of at least three years whilst holding this visa.
    • the 191 visa will commence on the 16 November 2022 to align with the 3 year minimum regional commitment requirement.

Skilled Visa Application Charges

The 2022-23 visa application charges for the 189/190/491 Skilled Visas are as follows:

  • $4,240 main applicant
  • $2,120 spouse (or dependant children over 18 years of age)
  • $1,060 children (less than 18 years of age)
If you are looking for professional assistance with a Skilled Visa Application, feel free to contact us.