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Immigration Blog


Posts with tag: 190 visa

Immigration Blog

Migrating is more than just filling in forms and submitting paperwork; its a complex process that will test even the most resilient of people. Understanding Australia & New Zealand at a grass-roots level is paramount to your immigration survival, and to give you a realistic view of both countries, its people and how we see the world, as well as updates about any current or imminent policy changes, subscribe to our regular blog posts by entering your details below.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Posted by Myer on Jan. 24, 2020, 9:31 a.m. in Australia

These days those wanting to immigrate to Australia are increasingly having to compromise on the type of visa they apply for and having to “settle” for a visa that affords lesser rights than those that they would ideally prefer to have. This has prompted me to use the expression mentioned in the title of this blog more and more these days in consultation with those wanting to immigrate to Australia.

So many people express a preference for the points tested skilled independent visa (189 PR visa), perhaps because a friend or family member had used this visa to immigrate to Australia in the past. Or because they like the thought of a visa that doesn’t require ‘sponsorship’ of any kind, is valid for five years and enables one to immigrate to any part of Australia. When put like that, what’s not to like?

These days however obtaining a 189 visa is a bit like attending a Mexican party, having too many tequilas and trying to hit the piñata with a blindfold. In other words, very difficult to predict the required points score, and even more difficult to obtain.

The points for the 189 PR visa sit around 95, which is almost impossible for most people. It has almost been designed for those that have studied in Australia. Australia has provided incentives to international students to study in Australia by giving them certain bonus points for study towards an Australian degree, points for study in regional Australia, completion of a professional work year, and points for one year of work experience in Australia.

 It’s very difficult for anyone else based overseas who hasn’t studied in Australia to compete with the point scores that these onshore international students could potentially obtain. As a result highly qualified and experienced skilled migrants with maximum points for age, english, and work experiences simply cannot get the points required.

Part of the problem is that 42% percent of the annual quota of 189 visas has been allocated to regional state-sponsored visas, and because the 189 visa is a function of limited supply and high demand passmarks have reached impossibly high levels. Four years ago we were successfully processing significant numbers of clients for 189 visas at 60 points, today one needs a minimum of 95 points.

I don’t think that anyone should be contemplating a move to Australia expecting a subclass 189 visa and should always rely on our “backup plan”. That plan is a state-sponsored visa as it is the most likely option as these visas have a fixed pass mark of 65 points (although some states will insist upon higher point scores for certain occupations before they agree to sponsor).

There are essentially two state-sponsored visas the subclass 190 visa and the subclass 491 visa. The first is a permanent resident visa (just like the 189) and the second is what we call ‘work to residence or temporary residence).

The 190 visa allows one to live and work anywhere in Australia although an undertaking is made to the sponsoring state to live and work in that state for a period of two years.

The 491 visa is a regionally sponsored visa with conditions. These include the requirement to live and work in regional Australia (any part of Australia excluding metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and work for a period of three years earning a minimum gross income of AU$53,900 for each of those three years before one can then apply for permanent residence. The permanent residence process is not overly complicated nor prolonged.

State sponsorship of the 491 visa is worth more points and perhaps more significantly, increasingly many more states will sponsor occupations for the 491 visa than the 190 visa. It’s generally therefore an “easier” visa to obtain.

Given the fact that the 189 visa is off the table for most applicants and given a choice of state-sponsored visas, most applicants would of course prefer the 190 visa rather than the more restrictive 491 visa. The question arises how long is one prepared to wait for either a 189 or 190 visa when the 491 visa is the one that is more readily available because it’s the easier one to obtain.

At what point do you decide to take the bird in the hand (the 491 visa) as opposed to hoping, for hope is what you are signing up for, for one of the other two types of general skilled migration visa?

The 491 visa allows you to live and work anywhere in Australia that is regarded as regional (and regional should not be confused with rural). Each member of the family unit is covered for state funded healthcare (Medicare), children can attend primary and secondary schools at the same rates that Australian citizens can and both spouses have full work rights. There is no requirement for the main applicant to work at all, let alone work in their ‘nominated occupation.

I think the 491 visa should be seriously considered, if only because for many people in 2020, it is the only credible option. The reality is many of our clients don’t want to live in the larger cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. One reason is property prices are considerably higher in these cities (the median house price in Melbourne is AU$850,000 and in Sydney the median house costs 11 times the median salary). Both Melbourne and Sydeny are groaning under the pressure of too many people so the smaller capital cities (with between 1 million and two million people - we aren’t talking villages here) offer a superior work/life balance. Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Perth and Hobart (to mention a few) are regarded as ‘regional’ under the policy.

In fact the 491 shouldn’t be called a ‘regional’ visa, it should be called a ‘stay from the Big 3’ visa.

Many Australians are opting to move out of the ‘big 3’ cities to take advantage of all that regional Australia has to offer, so we suggest our clients do likewise - if the priority is to secure a future in Australia.

At the end of the day the visa that you apply for has to meet your objectives and if it is your intention to settle in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, the 491 visa is not for you. Equally the possibilities of being allowed to settle in one of the big three cities is being increasingly restricted by design.

If you want a visa that provides a definitive pathway to permanent residence and gets you to Australia in the shortest possible time the 491 certainly is our 'go to' option these days as it very much represents little and to us is 'the bird in your hand'.

Skill List Changes

Posted by Myer on March 13, 2019, 1:06 p.m. in Australia

On 11 March certain changes were made to the lists of occupations suitable for different subclasses of visas in Australia, and if you have been reading these changes as reported in the media, you would be excused for being confused. The problem is that the media reporting treats these changes as being changes to a single list when in reality there are different lists that apply to different types of visas.

The purpose of this blog is to highlight some of the changes that have occurred to general skilled migration visas (these visas are points tested and not dependent upon obtaining sponsorship/ by an employer in Australia.

As most of our clients tend to be overseas and don’t hold offers of employment in Australia I’ve concentrated on the changes to the lists of occupations for general skilled migration visas and have not concentrated on the changes that have occurred to those visas that require sponsorship/nomination by an employer in Australia.

The general skilled migration visa list consists of three separate schedules or parts namely the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL).

The advantage of being in an occupation that is on the MLTSSL is that if one scores sufficient points one can qualify for an independent permanent resident visa that doesn’t require you to be sponsored by a state government. There are eight states or territories in Australia that all produce list of occupations in short supply in that particular state for the current immigration year but the independent visa doesn’t require your occupation to be in short supply in a particular state, it’s generally assumed, because your occupation is on the MLTSSL that your skills are in demand across the whole of Australia.

Occupations that appear on the STSOL and the ROL require state sponsorship; in other words there has to be a need for your occupation in a particular state. The difference between the two schedules is that the regional occupation list confines applicants to qualifying for visas that require them to spend at least two years living in "regional Australia".

Certain occupations were added to the MLTSSL schedule namely:

Arts administrator or manager

Environmental manager

Dancer or choreographer

Music director

Musician (instrumental)

Artistic director



Mining engineer (excluding petroleum)

Petroleum engineer

Engineering professional not elsewhere classified


Food Technologist

Environmental consultant

Environmental research scientist

Environmental scientist (not elsewhere classified)



Life scientist (general)




Marine biologist



Life scientists not elsewhere classified




Physicist (this occupation was previously limited to medical physicists only)

Natural and physical science professionals not elsewhere classified

University lecturer

Multimedia specialist

Software and applications programmers not elsewhere classified

Telecommunications network planner

Pressure Welder

Horse trainer

Tennis coach


The lists of occupations are reviewed twice a year. Sometimes lists don't change, but on other occasions, there are significant changes to the lists such as the one that occurred yesterday. Some of the occupations had previously appeared on the MLTSSL, were removed and now added again and other occupations hadn’t previously appeared on this list.

The implications of your occupation appearing on the MLTSSL are potentially significant and the fact that so many occupations have been added to the list is evidence of the government’s support of a program that essentially picks winners from overseas (in other words those people that because of their occupations and points are, in the opinion of the Australian government likely to settle well in Australia) and also the strong growth in the Australian economy with unemployment rate at just 5%.

If your occupation isn’t amongst those named in this blog don’t despair, the lists of occupations available for general skilled migration visas are extensive. There are 212 occupations now available for the independent visa and 292 additional occupations available for state-sponsored visas.

To view the full list, you can click on the following links:

Tags: 489 visa | 190 visa | 189 visa

Australian Pass Mark Increase for General Skilled Migration Visas

Posted by Myer on June 30, 2018, 10:08 p.m. in Australia

From 1 July 2018, applicants wishing to apply for the following visa subclasses will be required to obtain a pass mark of 65 to be eligible to receive an invitation to apply:

  • Skilled-Independent (Permanent) (Class SI) Subclass 189;
  • Skilled-Nominated (Permanent) (Class SN) Subclass 190; and
  • Skilled-Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (Class SP) Subclass 489

This represents an increase of 5 points over the current pass mark of 60 points and applies to all general skilled migration visa applicants who have not received an invitation to apply for residence by 1 July. 

The current pass mark of 60 points applies to applicants who have received an invitation to apply for residence and manage to file their general skilled visa applications before the invitation to apply for residence expires i.e. within 60 days of issue of the invitation to apply for residence.

The new pass mark has been ostensibly increased because of the high level of interest in skilled migration to Australia and the high calibre of applicants.

IMMagine clients will be individually notified if affected by the increase.

New Occupation Lists for General Skilled Migration Australia

Posted by Kane on March 19, 2018, 8:38 p.m. in Australia

Some major changes that were announced last year have come into effect as of the 18 March. These changes relate to the temporary and permanent employer sponsored visas and the General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme.

Under the GSM programme, there is a shiny new list called the Regional Occupations List (ROL). This is relevant to the state/territory sponsored Subclass 489 visa.

The ROL consists of occupations only available for GSM for regional areas. Some are newly added and some have been moved to the ROL from Medium to Long Term Skills Shortage List (MTSSL) or Short Term Skills Occupation List (STSOL). 

The state sponsorship lists have not yet been updated to reflect any changes to occupations they will sponsor for the skilled visa.

In GSM the three lists will apply as follows:

Subclass 189- MLTSSL

Subclass 190- MLTSSL and STSOL

Subclass 489- MLTSSL and STSOL and ROL

As a consequence of the changes, the MLTSSL has lost 4 occupations and the STSOL has lost 10 occupations. All of these have been moved to the ROL. These include:

Property Manager
Real Estate Representative
Electrical Linesworker
Agricultural Technician
Wine Maker
Helicopter Pilot
Aeroplane Pilot
Flying Instructor
Sports Centre Manager
Fitness Centre Manager
Amusement Centre Manager
Post Office Manager
Medical Administrator
Project Builder
Horse Breeder

New additions include occupations such as:

Flight Attendant
Driving Instructor
Caravan Park and Camping Ground Manager
Cinema or Theatre Manager
Market Research Analyst

They have also added back some occupations that were removed in April 2017 or July 2017, such as:

Vocational Education Teacher
Human Resource Adviser
Safety Inspector
Dental Therapist
Dental Hygienist

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa Subclass 482

The Prime Minister in April last year announced that the work visa 457 will be abolished. This has effectively just been rebadged as the subclass 482 visa.

The basis of the programme is effectively the same; i.e. businesses who cannot find talent from the local labour market can sponsor talent from overseas to fill skills shortages. However there are now a number of amendments designed to encourage employers to hire from the local labour market and make it harder to sponsor overseas workers, and to ensure that the positions that are required to be filled are in fact highly skilled.

While the ability for most medium to large businesses to sponsor an overseas employee will remain unaffected, the incentive for many workers to transition to residence after a period of time has been removed. Only those who appear on the employer sponsorship Medium to Long Term Skills Shortage List will be able to transition to residence under this programme. 

Others will need to find another way to stay, such as family or GSM pathways, or be resigned to the fact that they will be in Australia for the short term.

These changes will greatly affect the number of temporary workers in Australia, however there are a number of alternatives that can now be explored, including state sponsored nomination under the GSM programme.

If you wish to know more about the changes or have a discrete 'closed' questions please don't post it below in the comments section.  Here is the link to our Ask Us A Question service.

To see if you qualify for any potential residence visas, please contact or visit the assessment section of our page for options.

When is the right time to apply?

Posted by Myer on Feb. 26, 2017, 4:30 p.m. in Australia lifestyle

I had a recent consultation with someone in Singapore who wanted to immigrate to Australia for the purposes of educating his children at University but didn’t necessarily want to immigrate during the initial five-year period that an independent visa would allow (the children were quite young).

It’s not always not up to you to choose the time when you can apply for permanent residence because of the amount of change that occurs in the immigration process. It’s more likely that the time chooses you.

I’m never able to “time-the-market” when I buy a house or buy or sell equities but I can tell you that the perfect time to apply for permanent residence is the time at which you meet the eligibility requirements and if that time is now then as inconvenient is the time may be, you need to act. Often the only difference between eligibility and and missing the opportunity completely is timing.

Most applicants aren’t aware of the amount of change that occurs in the course of a relatively short period of time. Not only do applicants get older (and one’s chances of securing a visa never improves with age) but there is also a significant amount of change occurring within immigration policy.

Perhaps one of the most significant changes - certainly in terms of general skilled migration visas - is the publication of the Skilled Occupations List which occurs on 1 July of each year. This list determines which occupations will be eligible for obtaining independent permanent residence without requiring state sponsorship and represent those skills that are in medium to long-term demand in Australia.

Certain occupations have been “flagged” for possible removal in the future. Generally, occupations are flagged when there is emerging evidence of excess supply in the labour market.

The list of flagged occupations for the list to be published on one July 2017 is as follows:

  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production or Plant Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Anaesthetist
  • Cardiologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Intensive Care Specialist
  • Paediatrician
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Medical Practitioners nec
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologists nec
  • Chef*
  • Boat Builder and Repairer
  • Shipwright

Not only does the Skilled Occupations List change, but so do the quotas of each particular occupation sought by the Australian Government under its skilled migration visas.

These quotas are also announced on 1 July and determine the pass marks of independent visas. Several years ago it was possible to obtain permanent residence for an Accountant scoring 60 points with no previous work experience as an accountant, however a cut in the quota of accountants have meant that these days accountants need to score 70 points. 

Some applicants might need State sponsorship if their occupation appears on the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List and whilst these state sponsorship lists are reflective of the skills needed by the 8 states or Territory’s in Australia, they too change depending upon the quota of a particular occupation required in a State or Territory.

Australia is, however, quite generous as to when applicants have to commence residing in Australia.

After the visa is granted, as long as you visit within 12 months specified by the Department, you have 5 years in which to immigrate. If you cannot immigrate within the first 5 years, as long as you visit Australia once every 5 year period you can always apply for a Resident Return Visa.

So whilst one has less choice about when to apply for permanent residence one has a greater degree of choice about the date that you ultimately choose to settle in Australia.

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