Changes 1st July, 2018 – higher points required for GSM visas

Higher points required – GSM points test to increase by 5 points 

As usual at this time of the year, there have been some changes announced to the GSM visa programme by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). 

From 1 July 2018, applicants will need to score 65 points to eligible to be considered for a GSM visa. This is an increase of 5 points. The effected GSM visa subclasses are:

  • Skilled-Independent (Permanent) Subclass 189;
  • Skilled-Nominated (Permanent) (Subclass 190; and
  • Skilled-Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Subclass 489

The increase is in response to the high demand for GSM visas. It also reflects the high scores that current applicants in the Skill Select Expression of Interest (EOI) pool are claiming. 

For applicants who are invited to apply for a GSM visa prior to 1st July 2018, they won’t be effected by the increase in points. These invited individuals can continue to prepare and submit their application. As is stands currently, any invited applicants will need to ensure that they lodge their applications within the required 60 days. 

If you could like to discuss how this will effect you please Contact Us.

Updated – Australian Skilled Occupation Lists (April 2018)

Occupation lists change … again … 

2018 has already seen a number of changes to Australian immigration. Some of these were detailed in our most recent post.

Following on from these changes, last week the Northern Territory have updated the occupations that they will consider nominating for the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa or the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 489) Visa.

If you would like to look at whether you may be eligible for a General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa, be a state or territory nominated visa – such as the Subclass 190 or Subclass 489 visa – or the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa please check out the list below.

Skilled Occupations – April 2018

If you would like a detailed assessment of your Australian visa options, please CONTACT US .

Australian immigration changes – new visas and their impact on Australian immigration

The Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482), the effect on GSM visas and the Global Talent Visa scheme

A lot has been happening in Australian immigration in 2018. It has started with the skilled list for the Subclass 189 being amended. Some of the states & territories followed and their Subclass 190 & 489 visas have consequently been effected.

Most significant of all is that as fo 18th March, 2018 the Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa has been replaced by the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa (Subclass 482).

The changes and differences between the Subclass 457 & Subclass 482 are significant. We wont attempt to address them all here but will highlight some key points and how these changes may effect your plans and reinforce the importance of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa program.

GSM Visa program

The GSM program has remained intact. It significance is shown by the figures below:

  1.  Subclass 189: 176 occupations remain eligible for this visa
  2. Subclass 190: 416 skilled occupations remain eligible for this visa program
  3.  Subclass 489:
    • 475 skilled occupations remain eligible for the State Territory nominated 489 visa program OR
    • 176 occupations remain eligible for the Family Nominated 489 visa programme

Temporary Employer sponsored visas – new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) 

As mentioned the temporary Employer Sponsored visa (Subclass 457) has been replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482).

Whilst the Subclass 457 could be granted up to 4 years, the Subclass 482 visas can vary:

  1. Short term – up to 2 years if the occupation is on Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  2. Medium term – up to 4 years if on Medium Long Term Skilled Shortages List (MLTSSL) and a new Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  3. Labour Agreement Stream – this is where an employer has negotiated visa arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the DIBP Department of Immigration & B0order Patrol).

Applicant requirements:

  • Work experience – Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years
  • English Language – Applicants must meet minimum english language requirements. e.g For an IELTS test they must score 5 overall, but have a minimum score of at least 4.5 on each component
  • Police clearances – Mandatory police clearances.


  • Labour-market testing is required (e.g prescribed advertising standards must be met by the employer)
  • Applicant must be nominated in one of the 509 skilled occupations, unless the negotiated Labour Agreement allows otherwise.

Transitional arrangements – Individuals who are already in Australia on a Subclass 457 visa and need to renew this visa or apply for another visa (such as the Subclass 482 or a permanent visa – see below) will need to check with their employer or Migration Agent what their options are. 

Permanent Employer Sponsored visa – Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa & Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa

  • Applicants must be under 45
  • Applicants must have worked in Australia for 3 years (it was 2 years) on a 457 visa or 482 visa OR have undertaken a skills assessment under the Direct Entry Scheme
  • Applicants must have at least 3 years work experience
  • Applicants occupation must be on the:
    • MLTSSL for Subclass 186 visas (208 occupations)
    • MLTSSL or ROL list for Subclass 187 (673 occupations)

What are the key takeaways about these changes?

  •  It is more difficult to obtain a visa for Australia under both employer nomination schemes –  temporary and permanent residence. e.g Labour Market testing is required for almost all applications under the TSS visa. This wasn’t the case previously.
  • Students hoping to transfer onto an employer sponsored visa must have at least 2 years experience in the occupation for a temporary visa, or 3 years for a permanent employer visa.
  • Skilled applicants wanting to obtain permanent residency need to be under 45 years – unless some very limited exemptions are met.
  • If an applicant or their spouse is eligible for a GSM visa – 189/190/489 – then it is likely to be their best long term option to migrate to Australia permanently

Final comments

These changes have been a long time coming and even before the details were laid out, they have been widely criticised by the business community. They see this as as a significant disadvantage to recruiting, employing and incentivising skilled migrants to fill positions in Australia.

With this is mind, employers will be forced to look closer at the Australia employment market to fill their workforce needs. This will advantage applicants who hold a GSM visa or intend to apply for a GSM visa.

Global Talent Scheme 

In addition to the above there will be further changes to the Australian immigration program. The Department of Home Affairs have flagged a new scheme known as the Global Talent Scheme. This is a  pilot programme aimed at attracting high-income employees and tech specialists.  It is hoped it will alleviate some of the concerns from employers in Australia that they will miss out of skills need to grow their business due to the restrictions in the new Subclass 482 visa.

It will allow eligible established business and start-up companies seeking talent in STEM fields like biomedicine and agricultural technology to sponsor foreign nationals on a temporary residency basis, as well as offering a pathway to permanent residency. The scheme is due to commence on 1st July. As details emerge we will release them here.


If you would like to discuss your options – whether you would be eligible –  then please Contact Us.


General Skilled Migration (GSM): 2017-18 skilled occupations lists

Current Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – as @March 2017

We are coming into the time of year where the Australia Skilled Occupation (SOL) List and the State/Territory nomination lists are being reviewed. These lists form the basis for whether applicants can apply for a visa under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program. These visas are predominantly

  1. Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa
  2. Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa
  3. Skilled Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 489) Visa

Skilled Occupation List (SOL) 

The SOL is usually updated on the 1st July of each year, in line with the new financial year (FY) in Australia. If you have a positive skills assessment in an occupation on the SOL list, and you can meet the points test of 60, you can apply for a Subclass 189 visa.

The SOL has not changed in the 2016-17 FY. There has however been a number of occupations have been affected by occupation ceilings that have been introduced throughout the FY. These ceilings have meant that some occupations have a higher points test that must be met before you are eligible for a visa. The ANZSCO codes groups, occupations and points required for these are below.

  • 2211 Accountants (70)
  • 2212 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers (70)
  • 2334 Electronics Engineer (60)
  • 2335 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers (65)
  • 2339 Other Engineering Professionals (65)
  • 2611 ICT Business and System Analysts (65)
  • 2613 Software and Applications Programmers (65)
  • 2631 Computer Network Professionals (65)

State/Territory skilled occupations 

If individuals are unable to meet the criteria for the Subclass 189 visa they can look at state/territory nominated visas. Under the Subclass 190 & 489 visas if you can be nominated by a state or territory of Australia you could be eligible to obtain a residency visa. Further information about the conditions of the visas can be found here.

The key to these visas is usually (but not always) having an occupation that they will nominate you for. The current status of the states/territories is below:

  1. Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – Currently not accepting any onshore application for the Subclass 190 or 489 visas. To be reviewed as at 1 July 2017.
  2. New South Wales (NSW) – Currently accepting nomination for specific occupations, for both the Subclass 190 or 489 visa.
  3. Queensland (QLD) – Currently accepting nominations for specific occupations.
  4. Northern Territory (NT) – Currently accepting nominations for specific occupations or any skilled occupation if you can evidence appropriate job opportunities. The occupation list is usually updated annually in April.
  5. South Australia (SA) – Currently accepting nominations for specific occupations, or if you can meet a points score of 80 in a skilled occupation.
  6. Tasmania – Currently accepting nominations for specific occupations.
  7. Victoria – Currently accepting nominations for specific occupations
  8. Western Australia (WA) – The WA list is currently being reviewed. Currently WA are not accepting nominations for any occupation.

For details of the current nominated occupations on the SOL and state/territories please see the attached. If your occupation is not on this list, but you believe you have a skilled occupation that has strong employment prospects or you score highly under the points test please get in touch.

2016-2017 Skilled Occupations (March 2017)

If you would like to discuss your options, or you have any questions, please get in touch.