The General Skilled Migration program allows certain types of skilled professionals to live and work in Australia temporarily or permanently. Not all visas under the program require an employer to sponsor you. Therefore, as a skilled professional, you may find the program an attractive alternative to the Employer Nomination Scheme. This article set outs the general requirements as well as the different types of visas available under the General Skilled Migration program.

General Requirements

To apply for a visa under the General Skilled Migration program, you will need to:

  • submit an expression of interest (EOI) online via the SkillSelect system. If approved, you will be invited to make a formal visa application;
  • meet the pass mark (65 points) at the time of invitation;
  • obtain a skills assessment for your occupation from an authorised skills assessment body;
  • have competent English;
  • be less than 45-years-old; and
  • meet health and character requirements.

Additionally, some visa subclasses will require you to meet further criteria on top of the general requirements.

The STOL and MLTSSL Occupations List

The General Skilled Migration program requires you to work in an “eligible skilled occupation”. That means your occupation must be on either the short-term skilled occupation list (STSOL) or the medium and long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL).

The Australian government provides a list of eligible skilled occupations that may fall under the STSOL or MLTSSL.

The lists show:

  • what visas you can apply for;
  • the length of stay; and
  • any additional criteria you need to meet.

The Points System

The points system is designed to set clear transparent standards for migrants who wish to live and work in Australia. The current points threshold to apply for a visa is 65 points. The eight categories that attract points include:

  1. age;
  2. English competency;
  3. skilled employment in the last 10 years outside Australia;
  4. skilled employment in the last 10 years in Australia;
  5. qualifications;
  6. Australian study requirement;
  7. specialist education qualification; and
  8. other criteria, such as partner skill qualifications.

The number of points you receive in each subcategory depends on your situation. Accordingly, the Australian Government has created a points table that helps you calculate how many points you may have.

General Skilled Migration Visa Options

The following table sets out the types of visas available under the General Skilled Migration program. Some visas are so popular that applicants may need to meet a higher points threshold so they can be eligible to receive a visa. Otherwise, many visas require state or territory governments to nominate the applicants.

In addition, visas are also available for international students who graduate from Australian universities and who are looking to work in Australia for a short time.

Skilled Professionals

Visa Type Length of Stay Notes
Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Permanent No sponsorship required for this visa. However, the ideal minimum points threshold is 70 points. In high demand occupations, the minimum points threshold can be between 75 – 85 points.
The Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Permanent The state or territory government must nominate the applicant. However, applicants should have 75 points as a minimum for high demand occupations.
Nominated or State Sponsored (Provisional) (Subclass 489) Temporary. The applicant must live for up to four years in a low-populated area in Australia. The applicant requires sponsorship by a relative living in the designated area or nomination by a state or territory government.
Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 887)

Permanent. The applicant must live in a regional area for two years and have worked full-time for 12 months in a designated area.



A state or territory government must nominate the applicant. The visa is best for professionals who have the education, skills and employability to contribute to the Australian economy.

Graduate Visas

Visa Type Length of Stay Notes
Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) Temporary, with two options:

  1. Graduate work stream: For up to 18 months, applicants can work in the occupation related to their studies and on the occupation list.
  2. Post-study work stream: For between two to four years, applicants can work in any occupation if they have a Bachelors degree, Masters or PhD at an Australian university.
The visa is suitable for international students who have graduated from an Australian university after two years of study and wish to remain in the country temporarily for further study or work.
Recognised Graduate (Subclass 476) Temporary. The applicant can stay and gain up to 18 months’ relevant work experience. The applicant must be under 31 years of age and recently graduated with an engineering qualification from a recognised institution or an accredited qualification under the Washington Accord. They also need to major in either:

  • civil;
  • structural;
  • chemical;
  • environmental;
  • electrical and electronics;
  • mechanical;
  • production and plant; or
  • mining and material engineering.

Key Takeaways

If you are a skilled professional, you might want to consider the General Skilled Migration program. However, make sure that you meet the general and specific requirements of the relevant subclass visa. The most appropriate visa for you depends on your:

  • length of stay in Australia;
  • educational qualifications;
  • employment history;
  • English language skills; and
  • specific circumstances.

Therefore, if you need help to decide which visa is right for you, get in touch with LegalVision’s immigration lawyers today on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.
Natasha Bahari

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