Australia is a popular place for people who want to start a new life in a different country and students looking for good universities abroad. There are many reasons for these. These include world class universities for international students, a good balance between work and life, a high standard of living, the awesome weather and the variety of outdoor activities available to residents of Australia.
For people wishing to get an Australian permanent resident visa, which gives the right and privilege to live and work permanently in the country, there are a number of options open to them. One of these options is through the Australia General Skilled Migration Program.
Australia General Skilled Migration Program
This program provides the easiest way to get a permanent resident visa in the country. For the government, the purpose of the program is to attract people who are highly employable to Australia. Highly employable means these people possess the skillset to join the workforce whether in the public or private sectors.
Basically, what the programs looks out for are highly trained individuals with some years of experience in their chosen careers. It is open to all candidates who are below the age of 50
Visa options for applicants
For the skilled program, there are 3 main options or subclasses through which applicants can get the permanent resident visa.
1. Skilled independent subclass 189
This permanent visa does not require a candidate to be sponsored by a relative or regional/state government
2. Skilled Nominated subclass 190
In this option, candidates would need to be nominated by the state/territory government before they can get the visa
3. Sponsored Provisional subclass 489
This option is only for a limited time of 4 years and candidates would be restricted to only certain parts of the country as residents. Sponsorship is through a relative living in that area or the regional or state government.
Criteria for skilled migration to Australia
Getting a permanent resident visa is based on a points system graded based on variables such as age, educational qualification, English language proficiency, work experience and others.
One must get at least
- 60 points for visa subclass 189
- 55 points for visa subclass 190 and
- 50 points for visa subclass 489
How the points are calculated
- 18-24 years — 25 points
- 25-32 years — 30 points
- 33-39 years — 25 points
- 40-44 years — 15 points
- 45-49 years — 0 points
English language proficiency/ability
Applicants must show their English language competency to qualify for the visa. To show competency or proficiency, you must show prove of
1. A valid passport from an English Language-speaking country like the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand as prove of citizenship
2. For those not from the above countries, a score of at least 6 in all the test categories ( speaking, listening, writing and reading) of IELTS.
3. A score of at least B in all the test categories of Occupational English Test (OET)
4. For those presenting TOEFL Internet-based test as prove of English proficiency, they must have at least the following scores in each category
- Listening – 12
- Reading – 13
- Writing – 21
- Speaking – 18
5. For Pearson Test of English Academic test, applicants must have a score of at least 50 in each of the four categories
6. A score of at least 169 in each of the four test categories of the Cambridge English Advanced test taken not more than one year from the date of the application
Points allocation for English language test
Proficient English (10 points) – the minimum score candidates must have for the various tests are
- IELTS test – 7
- Occupational English test – B
- TOEFL – 24
- Pearson Test of English – 65
- Cambridge English Advanced test – 185
Superior English test (20 points) – to prove that your ability to speak English is above the basic proficiency level, applicants must have the following scores in the various tests
- IELTS – minimum of 8 in all categories of the test
- Occupational English test – ‘A’ in all categories
- TOEFL – at least 29 in all test categories
- Pearson Test of English – not less than 79 in all test categories
- Cambridge Advanced English test – at least 200 in all test categories
Applicants must show evidence of having worked regularly for at least 20 hours per week in a paid employment for some time, preferably in their chosen profession.
Below is how the years of experience affect your points haul or total
- 0-3 years experience —0 point
- 3-5 years experience — 5 points
- 5-8 years experience — 10 points
- 8-10 years experience — 15 points
- PhD from internationally recognized institutions – 20 points
- Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from recognized institutions – 15 points
- Diploma or skilled qualifications done in Australia – 10 points
- Skilled occupation qualification assessment recognized by the relevant authorities – 10 points
Australian Study prerequisites
This only applies to those who studied in Australia or are currently studying in Australia
- Degree(s), diploma(s), or trade qualification awarded from an institution recognized in the country. – 5 points
- Nomination by territory/state government – 5 points
- Skilled nominated or sponsored provisional subclass 489 – 10 points
To know if your skill or occupation is among the required ones needed for the Permanent Resident visa, go to this link or this one. The first link is the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) while the second link is the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL)
If your occupation or skill appears in the SOL, you can apply for visa subclass 189. But if it is on CSOL, you can apply through visa subclass 190 and 489.
After confirming your occupation or skill is on the list, the next step is to head to the website of the Assessing Authority (AA) to know the requirements needed for assessment. Note that each Assessing Authority has different prerequisites.
Getting to the AA’s website is by clicking names of the AA listed on the lists above. On the AA’s website is the information on everything you might need to qualify including whether it is necessary to pass the English language test.
In other words, some AA might not require prove of English proficiency. Basically different AAs have different requirements.
A positive response from your AA means you can go to the next step. For this, you head over to this website to fill in your application also known as Expression of Interest (EOI).
Then it is all a matter of waiting to be invited. Once invited, the next steps are as follows
- Apply for visa
- Do a medical test
- Then wait for your visa to be approved.
The whole process of getting a PR visa should be about 9 months.
For subclass 189 one must meet a minimum of 60 points
To know the state/territory sponsor (in case you are applying for subclass 190 or 489) for your occupation/skills, go to this website.
Here is the summary of the steps needed to get an Australian Permanent Resident visa through the General Skilled Migration Program
- Check the list of occupations/skills on the websites above to see which category you fall into and who your AA is.
- Write all tests especially the English tests as specified by the AAs
- Submit all documents required by the AAs
- Calculate your points based on your age, qualifications and so forth
- If you have up to 60 points for subclass 189, you can submit you EOI and wait for an invitation
- Proceed to apply for a visa when you get the invitation. Also, do all the necessary tests required to get a visa to Australia in your country