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VisasSkilled Migration
The Skilled Migration Stream is intended to allow migrants that have skills that will benefit Australia and contribute to its economy to move to Australia.

Its importance is highly regarded by the Federal Government, and for the year to 30 June 2008 it is estimated that 102,500 visas will be issued to applicants under the Skilled Visa Program.

Go Matilda has a team of very experienced advisors with a significant depth of experience and knowledge. We will be pleased to review your options for all categories of Skilled Migration Visas, to advise how we might help, and to confirm our fees (which are fixed from the outset). If you are interested in applying for a skilled visa please contact us to let us know your details.

To receive regular updates on information relating to visas register with us and tick the Visas box.

There were some significant changes to the Skilled Visa Program at the beginning of September, 2007. For details of the Skilled visa subclasses and requirements prior to that date please click here

The categories of visa most commonly encountered under the Skilled Program are:

Skilled - Independent
Skilled - Sponsored
Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (offshore applicants)
Skilled - Regional Sponsored (onshore applicants)

Skilled - Independent (subclass number 175)

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Applicants for a subclass number 175 Skilled -Independent Visa must have a skill in a "skilled occupation", must be under 45 years old at the time that their application is lodged, must have at least competent English (or vocational English if the applicant has nominated a trade occupation), and must pass a points test. Applicants must nominate a skilled occupation, obtain a skills assessment from the relevant competent authority, and have worked in a skilled occupation (need not be the same one as that nominated) as at the date the visa application is lodged for at least 12 out of the last 24 months, or have studied for at least 2 years in Australia in the last 6 months.

The present points pass mark for the 175 visa is 120.

This visa subclass is usually the first one to be considered by applicants who are presently residing outside Australia.

Skilled - Sponsored (subclass number 176)

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This subclass is similar to the subclass number 175, in that applicants must have a skill in a "skilled occupation", must be under 45 years old at the time that their application is lodged, must have at least competent English (or vocational English if the applicant has nominated a trade occupation), and must pass a points test. Applicants must nominate a skilled occupation, obtain a skills assessment from the relevant competent authority, and have worked in a skilled occupation (need not be the same one as that nominated) as at the date the visa application is lodged for at least 12 out of the last 24 months, or have studied for at least 2 years in Australia in the last 6 months.

Applicants for this visa must be:

- sponsored by an eligible Australian relative, or

- nominated by a State or Territory Government in Australia

The points pass mark for the 176 visa is 100.

Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional) (offshore applicants - subclass number 475)

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The 475 visa is a provisional visa with a validity of 3 years, and when granted requires visaholders to live, study, and work in a regional area of Australia (or a "designated area" if the visaholder is sponsored by a family relative).

Applicants must have a skill in a "skilled occupation", must be under 45 years old at the time that their application is lodged, must have at least competent English (or vocational English if the applicant has nominated a trade occupation), and must pass a points test. Applicants must nominate a skilled occupation, obtain a skills assessment from the relevant competent authority, and have worked in a skilled occupation (need not be the same one as that nominated) as at the date the visa application is lodged for at least 12 out of the last 24 months, or have studied for at least 2 years in Australia in the last 6 months.

Applicants for this visa must be:

- sponsored by an eligible Australian relative who is living in a "designated area" of Australia, or

- nominated by a State or Territory Government in Australia

The points pass mark for the 475 visa is 100.

Once subclass 475 visaholders have resided in a specified regional area for at least 2 years they would usually seek permanent residency via a subclass number 887 visa.

Skilled - Regional Sponsored (onshore applicants - subclass number 887)

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The 887 visa is the permanent residency visa pathway for the following provisional visaholders:

- Subclass number 495, Skilled - Independent Regional (Provisional)

- Subclass number 496, Skilled - Designated Area Sponsored (Provisional)

- Subclass number 475, Skilled - Regional Sponsored (Provisional)

Applicants for a subclass number 887 visa must have lived in a regional area of Australia for at least 2 years, and have worked full time in a regional area of Australia while holding one of the above visas for at least 12 months.

There is no points test for this visa category.

Skilled Visa subclasses and requirements prior to 1 September 2007

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Up to the end of August 2007 skilled individuals could apply for the following visas:

Skilled - Independent
Skilled - State/Territory Nominated Independent
Skills Matching
Skilled - Australian Sponsored
Skilled - Independent Regional (Provisional)
Skilled - Designated Area Sponsored (Provisional)
Skilled Overseas Student Visas

Skilled - Independent (subclass number 136)

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Applicants for the 136 Skilled -Independent Visa must have a skill in a "skilled occupation", must be under 45 years old at the time that their application is lodged, must have at least vocational English, and must pass a points test. They must nominate a skilled occupation, obtain a skills assessment from the relevant competent authority, and have worked in a skilled occupation (need not be the same one as that nominated) as at the date the visa application is lodged for the required period: for 12 out of the last 18 months if the nominated occupation attracts 60 points, or for 2 out of the last 3 years in the case of a 40 or 50 point occupation.

Skilled - State/Territory Nominated Independent (subclass number 137)

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An alternative to the Skilled - Independent visa is available where an applicant has a skill that is wanted in a State or Territory in Australia that participates in a system of nomination: presently Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT offer State/Territory Nominations.

The benefit of the Skilled - STNI visa (subclass number 137) is that the applicant only needs to attain the Skilled - Independent "pool mark" (the other requirements noted above in respect of the 136 visa apply), and that processing times for 137 visas tend to be less than non-priority processed 136 visa applications. Note that you should only consider applying for a State Nomination if you are happy to commit to residing in the nominating State for at least 2 years after you arrive.

Skills Matching (subclass number 134)

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This category of visa is not points tested, but an applicant must nevertheless have a skill in a "designated skilled occupation", be under 45 years old at the time the application is submitted, and have at least functional English (a lower English requirement than most of the other skilled visa classes). It also has a lesser work experience requirement than the above skilled visas in that the applicant must have worked in a skilled occupation for only 6 out of the last 12 months.

An application for a 134 visa is typically adopted by an applicant who can secure a State or Territory Government Nomination and who has difficulty meeting the basic requirements of the 137 visa discussed above. Thus a 134 visa strategy is usually considered for a skilled person who has worked in a skilled occupation for 6 out of the 12 months immediately preceding the lodgement of the visa application, but not for 12 out of the last 18 months.

The Skills Matching program also allows an applicant with a skilled occupation but who does not meet the criteria for the grant of a visa under the other skilled visa categories to have his or her details entered onto the Skills Matching Database (no fee is payable). He or she may then be nominated for a visa by an employer in Australia.

Skilled - Australian Sponsored (subclass number 138)

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The Skilled - Australian Sponsored visa (subclass number 138) is a visa option that is available to an intending migrant who has an eligible relative in Australia who is able to act as a sponsor.

In the case of a 138-visa application the applicant must satisfy the same "basic requirements" as in the case of the Skilled Independent visa, with the point pass mark lower than the Skilled - Independent visa at 110 points. The main advantage of this visa category is that having a family relative in Australia who can act as a sponsor allows for the grant of an additional 15 points under the points test.

Relatives eligible to sponsor this category of visa are a parent, a non-dependent child, or a brother or sister of the main applicant.

Skilled - Independent Regional (Provisional) (subclass number 495)

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The subclass 495 visa is a pathway for individuals who cannot attain the points pass mark for one of the permanent residency visas discussed above, but who can attain at least 110 points with sponsorship from a participating State or Territory Government. Visa holders are required to live and work in a regional area of Australia (as defined).

Importantly, the 495 visa does not provide for automatic permanent residency, although there are fairly well defined pathways to permanent residency visa status after 495 visaholders have been living and working in regional Australia for the required period.

Skilled - Designated Area Sponsored (Provisional) (subclass number 496)

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The subclass 496 visa is a two step pathway to permanent residence where the applicant has a close relative living in a "designated area" of Australia. Applicants must satisfy basic requirements as to age, English language competency, recent work experience, etc, but the 496 visa is not points tested. After visa grant 496 visaholders must live and work in a Designated Area of Australia for the required period, after which they can apply for the grant of a permanent residency visa under subclass number 883.

There are more details about the subclass 496 visa and the subsequent application for the grant of a permanent 883 visa here.

Skilled Overseas Student Visas (subclass numbers 880, 881, and 882)

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In an effort to retain successful overseas students there are 3 categories of skilled visa which allow successful tertiary qualified overseas students in Australia to remain permanently. Applications must be made while the former student is still in Australia, and within 6 months of completion of a diploma, degree, or trade certificate for award by an Australian educational institution after a qualifying period of full time study in the English language medium at that institution in Australia.

A new temporary Graduate - Skilled visa (subclass 497) is available to allow student visa holders to remain in Australia for up to 6 months while their application for a permanent Skilled Overseas Student visa is being processed.

Applicants for an 880 Independent Overseas Student visa must have a successful skills assessment for a skilled occupation assigned at least 60 points on the Skilled Occupations List, or 50 points if they are a successful PhD student.

Applicants for an 881 Australian-sponsored Overseas Student visa must have a satisfactory skills assessment for a nominated skilled occupation assigned at least 50 points on the Skilled Occupations List.

Applicants for an 882 Designated Area-sponsored Overseas Student visa must simply have a satisfactory skills assessment for any nominated skilled occupation that carries 40 points or more.

Go Matilda - Your Gateway to Australia


The contents of this page are necessarily an abbreviated overview of a very detailed subject. The situation may change as the law can alter quickly and we therefore strongly recommend that you take professional advice about your personal circumstances before placing any reliance on the contents of the website.

Go Matilda can be contacted by email on info@gomatilda.com, by telephone in the UK on 023 80 30 2525 or in Australia on 03 9935 2929 (ask for Alan Collett), or by writing to us at International House, George Curl Way, Southampton, Hampshire, England, SO18 2RZ, or at Level 27 Rialto South Tower, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia. We will be happy to provide a 15 minute telephone appraisal without charge.

Our Managing Director, Alan Collett, is a migration agent registered by the Migration Agents Registration Authority, and is a UK-qualified Chartered Accountant who has passed exams in Australian Tax and Company Law. We are therefore extremely well placed to advise you on your visa application and the implication for your personal finances. Contact us to let us know your situation and we will be pleased to help you plan for a successful move to the land down under.

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