The skilled nominated visa (subclass 190) allows points-tested skilled workers to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. To apply for this visa, you must nominate an occupation that is on the occupation list and is in high demand in the Australian labour market. You also need to:

  • meet the points threshold;
  • submit an Expression of Interest (EOI);
  • be nominated by a state or territory government; and
  • receive an invitation to apply.

Historically, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) operated on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis with its 190 nominations. However, the ACT has introduced a new regime to assess applications for nomination. The government will assess applications for the ACT government nomination on a merits-based matrix regardless of the time of application. This article explains the new system for applicants looking to apply for the ACT nomination.

How Can I Apply for the ACT 190 Nomination?

Before applying for the ACT nomination, you need to make sure that you are eligible to apply for the 190 visa. In other words, you need to meet the points test from the Department of Home Affairs.

Once you meet the points test, you can then apply for nomination from the ACT government. There are two stages to this process:

  1. submit an expression of interest by completing the ‘Canberra Matrix’. You need to demonstrate the economic contribution or benefit you can bring to the ACT. You must also show a genuine commitment to be part of the ACT community. Scores of 20 points and above will be ranked and the highest ranked candidates will receive an invitation to apply for ACT nomination; and
  2. if your score is high enough, you will be invited to apply for the ACT 190 nomination. You will need to complete and submit the online application (and pay the service fee) within 14 days. It is important you attach supporting documentation with your application.

What is the ‘Canberra Matrix’ Based On?

The ‘Canberra Matrix’ is like another points test, based on your economic contribution and ongoing commitment to the ACT.

Canberra-Based Applicants

For Canberra residents, the eligibility criteria are you must:

  • have held or previously held a student or temporary graduate visa within the last two years;
  • have been a resident of Canberra for at least 12 months at the time of receiving an invitation (or two years if you submit an EOI after 1 July 2019 on a student or temporary visa);
  • be working in Canberra for at least three months (this can include part-time work, full-time work, self-employed work or working for a number of ACT employers);
  • demonstrate a ‘proficient’ level of English If you are nominating an ANZSCO Major Occupation Group 1 (Managers) or Group 2 (Professionals) occupation; and
  • sign a statutory declaration committing to continuing to live and work in Canberra for at least two years from the date the government grants your 190 visa.

Applicants working and living in another state will not be eligible to apply for ACT nomination.

Overseas Applicants

For overseas applicants, the eligibility criteria are you must:

  • demonstrate a ‘proficient’ level of English if you are nominating an ANZSCO Major Occupation Group 1 (Managers) or Group 2
    (Professionals) occupation;
  • have at least 12 months’ experience in the nominated occupation in a relevant industry to the ACT economy. Relevant industries do not include heavy industry, manufacturing, production, mining; shipping, gas and oil, head office banking and railways;
  • have evidence of sufficient ACT employment opportunities in your nominated occupation, relevant to your skill set;
  • sign a statutory declaration committing to living and working in Canberra for at least two years from the date of your permanent arrival in Australia; and
  • demonstrate you have adequate means to financially support yourself from the time you arrive in Canberra until when you find employment.

You are not eligible for ACT 190 nomination if you, or any dependents, are living or have lived in another Australian state or territory within the last 12 months.

What is the Ranking and Selection Criteria?

You need to score at least 20 points to be ranked and considered for ACT nomination. The highest ranked candidates will be selected and invited to apply for the ACT 190 nomination.

The ranking and issuing of invitations will be conducted monthly. However, this may vary due to the economic priorities of the ACT government.

The number of monthly invitations will depend, pro rata, on the annual Department of Home Affairs allocation. However, the cut off for selection will depend on the number and quality of applications the ACT receives. If there are more candidates with the same score than the number of invitations available, selection may be based on the date and time of the application submission.

Apart from this selection criteria, the government can also select and invite candidates if it believes you will be of significant benefit to the territory.

Key Takeaways

The ACT’s new approach is a strategic initiative to select applicants with the desired skills, qualifications and experiences to offer long-term economic benefit to the ACT government. It also further incentivises students and temporary graduate visa holders to remain in the ACT, rather than moving to another state or territory.

However, the new process for the skilled nominated visa adds another layer to the state nominated points tested visa. The onus is on you to establish how your skill set will enhance and positively contribute to the ACT.

You must also demonstrate your commitment to residing and working in the ACT, which can be tricky to establish. If you’re interested in applying for the skilled nomination visa and need help knowing what the ACT government is looking for, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Natasha Bahari
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