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How to apply for a Skilled Visa?


If you are a skilled worker and looking forward to starting your career in Australia, skilled Visa is one of your best options. With this type of visa, you can live, study and work in Australia for a long period of time or even permanently. In this article, we will give you a comprehensive introduction to Skilled Visa.  

What is a Skilled Visa?

Skilled Visa is designed for workers with certain skills, which is needed by Australia, to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia. Though there are various types of skilled visa, most of them are based on a point-tested system to select who will be issued this visa among all its applicants. This article will introduce 4 common skilled visa immigrants usually apply for; they are:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) 
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional Visa (Provisional) (subclass 489)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

Who is eligible to apply for a Skilled Visa?

In essence, this type of visa is Invite-only. It means you can apply for a Skilled Visa only if you are invited to apply. To be eligible to receive an invitation, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You need to provide proof that you have a suitable Skill assessment, which must be obtained within 3 years before the date of invitation.
  • Your occupation, which is identified through the Skill assessment, must be listed in skilled occupation list ( this list can differ among different types of skilled visa) https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/skill-occupation-list
  • Your age must be under 45 before you receive the invitation.
  • You need to have at least competent English skills (6 for each band of IELTS or equivalent).
  • You need to score at least 65 points.
  • You need to fulfil the health and character requirement.
  • You must not have debts to the Australia government
  • You do not have a history of having a visa cancelled or an application refused.

Which type of skilled visa should I apply?

To apply for a skilled visa that is most suitable for you, it is necessary to first understand the difference among visas. In general, Skilled visa can be classified into two categories:

  • Permanent visa

Permanent visa (e.g. Skilled Independent subclass 189 and Skilled Nominated visa subclass 190) means once you are issued this visa, you can stay and work in Australia permanently

  • Provisional visa

Provisional visa (e.g. Skilled Regional visa subclass 489 and Skilled Work Regional visa subclass 491) can provide you a period of time for you to stay and work in Australia temporally

Additionally, each visa has its own particular requirement for its applicants. Please check these requirements before you decide which type of visa you will apply for.

  • For 190 Skilled Nominated Visa, it is required for applicants to be nominated by Australia state or territory government agency.
  • For 489 Skilled Regional Visa and 491 Skilled Work Regional Visa, you need to either be nominated by Australia state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative. In addition, you need to live, work and study in specific regional areas of Australia for at least 2 years.
  • For 189 Skilled Independent, it is not required for you to be nominated in any way. However, you will need a higher score compared to the other types of visa to ensure you can be invited.

The step-by-step process to apply for a skilled visa

  1. Since this is an Invite-Only type of visa, you need an invitation to apply. To be able to receive an invitation, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through Skill select system (https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/skillselect) to inform Australia Home Affairs Department that you want to apply for this visa
  • Prepare all the document that can support the claims you make in the EOI, as well as the proofs that you can meet the eligibility criteria of the visa you are applying for
  • Once you receive the invitation to apply letter, you must apply for the visa within the next 60days
  • After you apply, you will be receiving a bridging visa before this visa is granted to you.

How much do you know about the point-tested system used in Skilled Visa?

Skilled visa is based on a point-tested system where points will be awarded to you if you possess certain skills. The minimal points you need in order to be eligible for receiving an invitation is 65. However, this score does not guarantee you will receive an invitation as other applicants may have a higher score. In other words, you will be competing with other applicants for the limited number of invitations, which is normally issued to the applicant with the highest score.

How can I achieve higher points? 

In this point-tested system, your points are closely linked to the following criterion:

  • Education qualification
  • Level of English Skills
  • Age
  • Skilled employment experience
  • Professional year program in Australia
  • Credentialled community language
  • Partner skills
  • Nomination or sponsorship

Here is a point calculator that can help you determine how many points you currently have (https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/points-calculator). Also, you can consider completing skill assessment mentioned above to increase your points, which will give you an advantage over other visa applicants.


Overall, Skilled Visa uses a point-tested system to select the most skilled applicant. The level of skill of an applicant is reflected by his/her points.

Compared to 189 Skilled Independent Visa, 190 Skilled Nominated visa and 489/491 Skilled Regional Visa provide extra points to their applicants, which give them an advantage during the applicant selection phase. However, they also have additional requirements for their applicants such as being nominated by the state or obligated to live in a regional area etc. Therefore, it is wise to choose a type of skilled visa that is most suitable for your situation. But if you are still having trouble with anything involved in the Visa application, our Pathway Education and Visa Service’s registered immigration consultant are happy to help you out!

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