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Home Affairs Announces Major Changes to General Skilled Migration Programme

From 1 July 2018, applicants wishing to apply for the following visa subclasses will be required to obtain a pass mark of 65 to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply: 

•             Skilled-Independent (Permanent) (Class SI) Subclass 189;

•             Skilled-Nominated (Permanent) (Class SN) Subclass 190; and

•             Skilled-Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP) Subclass 489

This is an increase of five points.  

The new pass mark reflects the high level of interest in skilled migration to Australia and the high calibre of prospective applicants who express their interest in the General Skilled Migration program

Under the transitional arrangements, the pool and pass mark from the previous instrument is preserved for all visa applications for the above visas made before, on or after 1 July 2018 in response to an invitation given by the Minister before 1 July 2018. 

The abovementioned visas are part of the Skill Select initiative launched by the Australian Government on 1 July 2012. SkillSelect is an online service that enables skilled persons who are interested in obtaining an Australian visa to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) that includes information about their skills and other attributes. SkillSelect then issues invitations to apply to migrate based upon a ranking of the attributes of nominees and subject to ceilings on occupation numbers. SkillSelect also enables staff of certain State/Territory government agencies and Australian employers to view relevant information in an intending migrant’s Expression of Interest (EoI).

This information assists State/Territory government agencies to identify persons who they may nominate to help meet labour market needs in their respective jurisdictions. Similarly, SkillSelect assists employers to identify skilled workers in circumstances where vacancies are unable to be met through the Australian labour market. 

By way of background, SkillSelect is a three-stage process:

1/ intending migrants submit details of their qualifications, experience, English language ability and other information in their EOI

2/ intending migrants who possess the skills and qualifications needed in the Australian labour market and are sufficiently highly ranked will be invited by the Minister to make a visa application or may be nominated or sponsored by an Australian employer

3/ intending migrants make a visa application which is assessed and granted in circumstances where all criteria are satisfied.

The Minister has determined that invitations should not be issued if the occupation ceiling has been reached for any occupation. GSM categories of the skilled migration program deliver a wide variety of occupations which are in need in the medium to long term in the Australian labour market. This mechanism is known as the occupation ceiling.

In simple terms, the occupation ceiling limits how many persons are invited to apply for a skilled independent, skilled regional sponsored and State/Territory government nominated GSM skilled visa from a particular occupation group (as per the 4 digit ANZSCO occupation group).  Its purpose is to prevent the skilled migration program from being over-supplied by a narrow range of occupations.  Once the annual occupation ceiling for a unit group is reached there will be no further invitations issued for skilled migration from this unit group 

Repealed Visa Subclasses: 

Previously repealed visa categories within the General Migration Scheme will preserve their pre- 1 July eligibility requirements. These include:

 • Subclass 175 (Skilled – Independent) visa; 

• Subclass 176 (Skilled – Sponsored) visa; 

• Subclass 475 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa; 

• Subclass 487 (Skilled – Regional Sponsored) visa; 

• Subclass 885 (Skilled – Independent) visa; and 

• Subclass 886 (Skilled – Sponsored) visa. 

Immi Account Maintenance:

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed that Immi account maintenance is expected over the weekend considering 1 July changes.  All applicants are encouraged to lodge their visa applications by close of business, Friday 29 June. 

Invitation Rounds 

There were two invitation rounds conducted in June.  It is not anticipated that further invitation rounds will be issued for this Migration year which concludes this Saturday.  Invitations for new migration year FY 2018/19 are expected to be issued in the first half of July. 


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  • Guest
    Jameca Friday, 29 June 2018

    It seems Australia does not need tradesman anymore since it is difficult for them to reach points 65 with the current points allocation system.

  • Guest
    Edman Friday, 29 June 2018

    Does this pass mark and the points really reflect the calibre of the candidate. A guy who is 26 yrs old, with a degree, a 3 years experience and 8,8,8,8 for IELTs carries 70 points. Another guy in the same field 41 yrs old, having a degree/maybe even a masters, 15 years work experience and IELTs score of 7,7,7,7 in the field has only 55 points. Who is more skilful in the occupation ? Who is of higher calibre ? Who has better skill in the job ? What exactly are we looking for ? The whole thing is simply a mockery. How does one with a mere 3 years of work experience be of higher calibre than the other one and stands in higher priority of being invited ? I think the whole thing is silly. Further, the skill migratiuon is being confused and made complicated each year.

  • Guest
    Surinder Singh Partola Tuesday, 03 July 2018

    Very true Edman..i have been in this migration business from last almost 10 years and still cant figure out how and who formulate these policies were even a common person can see the drawbacks...

  • Guest
    John Friday, 29 June 2018

    I think the government is considering the cost of retired people, a 26 year old will earn more money in his/her working life here and therefore contribute more taxes than say a 41 year old who migrates here/
    Not saying this is right... certainly I believe the age qualification should vary from industry to industry. In academic circles, well respected professors etc are more experienced and more valuable at an older age than young professors...
    But the government is intent on raising the bar...

  • Guest
    Sunny Saturday, 30 June 2018

    Edman's comment highlights the over-rated importance being placed on ENGLISH for the points score. Btw, comparing apples to apples, if both applicants had the same IELTs scores, the difference would be only 5 points. My question is: why is such a high value (upto 20 points) placed on English language expertise? How does this stack up versus SKILLED migration expertise? The EOI level should be a pass-mark score of 6 OVERALL. Australia is an English-speaking country and a 6 OVERALL makes sense, that is why the 5 'chosen countries' have been granted 6 OVERALL. A pass-mark of 6 is necessary, just as a clean Health-check. There are no EXTRA points for being a 6'-6" tall athlete vs a 5'-6" person! Skills Assessment anyway is a must/prerequisite and different Skills Assessing Authorities lay out their own levels for English scores. Leave it to them. The Enlish level barrier appears to be discriminatory, if not simply racist, to me.

  • Guest
    Anthony Thursday, 23 May 2019

    Racist policies! We all know what Australia really wants. Just white immigrants regardless of who is worthy or has better skills!

  • Guest
    edman Saturday, 30 June 2018

    I think they should reward experience higher. At the end of the day it is the work skills that we want and is far more important. That is the idea of the GSM. The issue is wanting skilled people not just one who has superior English but has very little or limited experience. I am not saying they shouldn't but people with 10 - 20 years experience should be considered differently. What is the idea of having some one who lacks experience but has superior English. What are we really looking for ? Compare a civil engineer with a year experience and superior English against another with 15 years but a competent or proficient English. What are we really looking for ? Just my thoughts

  • Guest
    Azam Tuesday, 03 July 2018

    I agree with Sunny, it is very discriminatory and racist.

  • Guest
    Pankaj Tuesday, 24 July 2018

    Hello friends, can anybody tell what pte scores do i need to get PR in Australia....i am 40yr.....14yr work experience and 68 scores in PTE.....someone told me that PTE score requirements have increased from 5th July 2018 and its 79 for a case like mine. Surprisingly i found no such update at this website.

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