In Australia, there are two main visas that allow skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently. They are the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) and the Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190). Both the subclass 189 and 190 visas are points-tested visas. This means that when you submit your expression of interest (EOI) for the visa, your eligibility for the visa is assessed based on the points you score. These points are based on a range of factors including:

  • your age;
  • English language skills;
  • employment experience; and
  • educational qualifications.

You will be required to provide evidence supporting your claims when you lodge your visa application. This article will explain the key points criteria for the subclass 189 and 190 visas and provide some tips on how to maximise your score to satisfy the points-test. 

Subclass 189 and 190 Visas

Although the subclass 189 and 190 visas share many similarities, there are a few distinguishing elements. The following table outlines a few of the key similarities and differences between the subclass 189 and 190 visas.

Subclass 189 Subclass 190
This visa allows you to:
  • stay in Australia permanently;
  • work and study in Australia;
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence;
  • travel to and from Australia for 5 years; and
  • become an Australian citizen if eligible.
You must:
  • be invited to apply by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA);
  • have your skills assessed by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation;
  • be under 45 years of age; and
  • have competent English.
  • score at least 65 points for the points-test;
  • be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency; and
  • nominate an occupation on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List or MLTSSL.

 

Here are a few tips when it comes to maximising your score, and subsequently your eligibility, for these visas.

Tip 1: Ensure You Have Competent English

Both the subclass 189 and 190 visas require you to have at least competent English. However, you will not be able to claim any points for this criterion unless you can demonstrate that you have proficient or superior English. This table outlines the requirements for each English skill level and how many points you can claim at each level. 

You must provide evidence that you have:  You can claim:
Competent English
  • citizenship and a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland; 
  • an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 6 for each test component; 
  • a Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) score of at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, and 18 for speaking
  • a Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) score of at least 50 for each test component; 
  • an Occupational English Test (OET) score of at least B for each test component; 
  • a Cambridge C1 Advanced Test (CAE) score of at least 169 for each test component.
0 points
Proficient English
  • an IELTS score of at least 7 for each test component; 
  • a TOEFL iBT score of at least 24 for listening, 24 for reading, 27 for writing, and 23 for speaking
  • a PTE Academic score of at least 65 for each test component; 
  • an OET score of at least B for each test component; or
  • a CAE score of at least 185 for each test component.
10 points
Superior English
  • an IELTS score of at least 8 for each test component; 
  • a TOEFL iBT score of at least 28 for listening, 29 for reading, 30 for writing, and 26 for speaking
  • a PTE Academic score of at least 79 for each test component; 
  • an OET score of at least A for each test component; or
  • a CAE score of at least 200 for each test component.
20 points

 

In each case, you must undertake the relevant test within the last three years from the date you are invited to apply (with the exception of the CAE test, which must be dated on or after 1 January 2015).

Tip 2: Ensure You Have Work Experience in Your Nominated Occupation

You may also be able to claim points if you have paid work experience in your nominated occupation (or closely related occupation) inside or outside Australia. This requires you to work in the occupation for at least 20 hours per week and be employed within the last 10 years from the date you are invited to apply. This table outlines how many points you can claim for paid work experience inside and outside Australia.

You have been employed for:  You can claim:
Inside Australia 
<1 year 0 points
1-3 years 5 points
3-5 years 10 points
5-8 years 15 points
>8 years 20 points
Outside Australia
<3 years 0 points
3-5 years 5 points
5-8 years 10 points
>8 years 15 points

 

It is important to note that you can only be awarded a maximum of 20 points for this criterion.

Tip 3: Ensure Your Educational Qualifications Are Recognised

You can also claim points if you have an educational qualification from an Australian Educational Institution (AEI). If you hold an overseas qualification, you can also claim points if your skills assessing authority determines that your qualifications are comparable to the relevant Australian qualification. 

You must provide evidence that you have:  You can claim:
a diploma or trade qualification from an AEI;  10 points
a qualification or award recognised by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated skilled occupation as being suitable for that occupation;  10 points

at least a Bachelor degree from an AEI;

at least a Bachelor qualification from another recognised educational institution; or

15 points
a Doctorate from an AEI or another recognised educational institution. 20 points

Note that you will only be awarded points for your highest qualification.

Additional Points

You can earn additional points if you can demonstrate any of the following criteria:

  • a Masters degree by research or Doctorate degree from an AEI that included at least two academic years’ study in a relevant field (5 points);
  • you meet the Australian study requirement (5 points);
  • completion of a Professional Year in Australia (5 points);
  • a recognised qualification in a credentialled community language (5 points);
  • at least 1 degree, diploma or trade qualification from an AEI that satisfies the Australian study requirement obtained while living and studying in regional Australia (5 points);
  • your spouse or de facto partner is also an applicant and meets the age, English and skill criteria (5 points); or
  • you were invited to apply for the subclass 190 visa and the nominating agency has not withdrawn their nomination (5 points).

Key Takeaways

Both the subclass 189 and 190 visas are points-tested visas which allow you to live and work in Australian permanently. To maximise your score, you should ensure that at the time you are invited to apply, you have: 

  • competent English or higher;
  • employment experience in your nominated occupation; and
  • recognised educational qualifications. 

You will be required to provide evidence supporting your claims when you lodge your visa application. For a full list of the points criteria, visit the DOHA website. If you have any questions about the subclass 189 or 190 visas, get in touch with LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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