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States and Territories are Still Open for Business: COVID-19 State Sponsored Migration Update

It was inevitable that COVID-19 would have a rippling effect on Australian Immigration.  With most of the workforce moving to a digital age (or working from home), or worse, being stood down or terminated, this leaves a question as to whether there is any room for Skilled Migration amidst the crisis.

Claims from various sources predict that migration numbers will fall sharply over the coming 12 months and that migration to Australia would have a bleak outlook.  Whilst there are certain merits to such claims (for example, the fact that the migration intake is being reduced) majority of States and Territories are still open for business. 


We need to look at the bigger picture.  Australia is a nation which is built on skilled migrants.  Our heavy reliance on skilled migrants dates back to the very foundation of our nation. This is something that we should embrace and also take a sign of comfort to get us through to the other side of the pandemic (which I personally believe is not too far away).  We have seen the impact of the GFC and we got through it.  Economy is anything but stable.  However, what remains to be certain is that we as a nation cannot function without a well-oiled global mobility program.

Many of us will agree that Australian citizens and permanent residents should have priority in terms of local jobs.  However, certain employment and industry sectors can only expand when there is a right skill set in place.  For example, bringing a Sales and Marketing Manager from overseas can potentially generate work for local staff. Foreign Engineers can transfer skills to our local workforce and this will in turn see us return back to “normal” sooner than we expect.

Given the nationwide gradual relaxation of social distancing laws and many businesses returning back to trade, this is a timely update on State and Territory Skilled Migration across the country.

New South Wales:

NSW is currently accepting nominations for subclass 190 visa. There is a greater push for regional migration for NSW.

Key Facts:

The regions of NSW offer many similar work opportunities, lifestyle benefits and services to those in major cities.

  • 2.6 million people live in regional NSW
  • They enjoy a diverse range of climates from tropical to alpine climates
  • NSW regional cities provide full amenities and facilities
  • Housing affordability is good 

491 Visa remains closed for the time being.


The 190 program is not open - it closed on 26 November 2019. 

Link to this can be found here: 

There have been more occupations removed from the list. 

Occupations removed from QSOL 12 March 2020 

•Onshore, (includes Queensland Postgraduate (Alumni)) and Offshore 

• Marketing Specialist ANZSCO 225113 


• Finance Manager ANZSCO 132211 

Occupations removed  from QSOL 25 November 2019 

•Onshore and Offshore -IT 

•ICT Business Analyst ANZSCO 261111 

•Systems Analyst ANZSCO 261112 

•Developer Programmer ANZSCO 261312 

•Software Engineer ANZSCO 261313 

•Software and Applications Programmers nec ANZSCO 261399 

•ICT Security Specialist ANZSCO 262112 

•Computer Network and Systems Engineer ANZSCO 263111 

•Analyst Programmer ANZSCO 261311 

•Onshore –Accounting 

•Accountant (General) ANZSCO 221111 

•Management Accountant ANZSCO 221112 

•Taxation Accountant ANZSCO 221113 

•External Auditor ANZSCO 221213 

•Internal Auditor ANZSCO 221214 

•Offshore -Engineering 

•Civil Engineer ANZSCO 233211 

•Mechanical Engineer ANZSCO 233512 

•Electrical Engineer ANZSCO 233311 

•Engineering Technologist ANZSCO 233914

Australian Capital Territory

Latest Invitation Round:

ACT 190 Nomination - invitations issued: 171

All Matrix submitted: 95 to 70 points

ACT 491 Nomination - No invitations were issued as there are sufficient 491 applications in the queue to meet the May 2020 monthly allocation of 491 nomination places.

The next invitation round will be held on or before 8 May 2020.


From 12pm AEST Thursday 9 April 2020, Victoria’s subclass 132 and 188 visa nomination program will be paused for the remainder of 2019-20. This means that no new nomination applications will be accepted.

Victoria will continue processing those received prior to this date, in accordance with our published processing times. New applications will be accepted in the 2020-21 financial year.

Victoria will continue to accept nomination applications for the following visas:

  • Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491)
  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)
  • Business Innovation – Extension only (subclass 188A Extension)
  • Significant Investor – Extension only (subclass 188C Extension)
  • Permanent Business Innovation (subclass 888A)
  • Permanent Investor (subclass 888B)
  • Permanent Significant Investor (subclass 888C).


Tasmania's skilled migration program is for people wanting to move to the state who have a skill that we need. Skilled migrants are attracted to Tasmania because of the state's enviable lifestyle, career opportunities, affordable housing, and reputable schools and a globally recognised university.

The Tasmanian Government actively pursues skilled and business migrants in recognition of the significant contribution migrants make to Tasmania’s economy and cultural diversity.

All streams remain open.

Western Australia

Invitations for State nomination are usually issued during the third week of each month. 

In April, this will be delayed by one week due to the Easter holidays.

Invitations were issued on 23 April 2020.

South Australia

South Australia continues to accept nominations for most streams.  As per the website, applicants are encouraged to check their eligibility criteria as well as availability of the occupations on a regular basis.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory continues to accept nominations for majority of the visa streams.

For up to date information, practitioners as well as prospective visa applicants are encouraged to visit the relevant State and/or Territory website given the ever evolving COVID-19 situation.

What is next for State Sponsored Migration?

This question is somewhat complex and is largely dependant on the continued flattening of the COVID-19 curve, the re-employment of local workforce and mapping out existing as well as new skills shortages. 

Updates are expected to be announced by New South Wales, Victoria as well as Queensland in the month of May.  For further details visit:

Further updates will be published as they become available.

Occupations and programs from State will change without notice.  Please ensure you visit the relevant state website for up to date information.

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