Travel Tips

Understanding General Skilled Migration Programs and How They Work

If you want to migrate to Australia, you’ve probably come across the General Skilled Migration system that controls various visa subclasses. But what does it all mean? Sometimes, it’s hard to get your head around the many restrictions and visas. With this in mind, here’s a basic overview!

General Skilled Migration System

First things first, this system is designed to help highly skilled workers to obtain a visa to work in Australia. Right across the country, companies are struggling to find talent in particular niches. When these skill shortages exist, and the country doesn’t have enough domestic talent to fill the gaps, it adds the industry to the shortage lists. Then, talent from other countries can get a visa to work in the industry.

If you have the right experience and qualifications to fill a skill shortage, you may be eligible for a visa. This would allow both yourself and your family members to live and work in the country (or in a specific region). Currently, you’ll find all occupations with shortages on the Skilled Occupation List.

When applying through the General Skilled Migration system, you’ll need to meet the requirement in a points system while also receiving sponsorship from eligible relatives, an employer, or a territory/state.

Types of Skilled Visas

Here are some of the options you’ll encounter when attempting to get a skilled visa to Australia:

189 Visa

As a points-tested system, this is the basic entry route for those who haven’t got a sponsorship from an employer, state/territory, or an eligible family member. To pass through the system, you’ll need to get at least 65 points after first submitting an EOI (expression of interest). From here, SkillSelect will send an invitation and you’ll need to complete an application within 60 days.

If this visa is approved, you can work and live in the country permanently while also bringing immediate family members.

190 Visa

This time, the same rules apply but the visa is designed for those who have a territory/state nomination. The system is still based on points, and you’ll need to get 65 if you want the visa. As before, the process starts with an expression of interest before a SkillSelect invitation.

491 Visa

If you’ve researched Australian visas in the past, this is where you’ll notice some differences. Why? Because the 491 visa recently replaced the outgoing 489 visa. The 491 visa is a Skilled Regional Visa and provides skilled workers with a visa to work and live in a specific region of Australia. If you’re to get a visa through this route, you’ll need a nomination from a territory/state or an eligible relative in the location.

If granted, your visa will last for five years, and you can apply for permanent residence after three years.

191 Visa

Finally, you might not recognise this subclass, and this is because it’s new for 2022. When introduced towards the end of 2022, it will allow Subclass 491 and 494 holders an easier method of applying for permanent residency.


If you don’t have a sponsor, you’ll need to apply using the 189 visa. If you’re sponsored by the state or territory government, you’ll need the 190 visa. If your family wants to sponsor your application, the 491 visa is the best route. Finally, you’ll also find employer-sponsored visas as well as a special NZ Independent option for those from New Zealand.

To get help, don’t be afraid to contact a third-party service for assistance. Their experience and knowledge will ensure that you choose the right route!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button