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New visa subclasses announced on the SkillSelect website.



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We have just published information about the new visa subclasses that will be introduced under SkillSelect on 1 July 2012. You should visit the SkillSelect website to find out the latest information.

We hope this information will be useful if you are thinking about migrating to Australia and researching your visa options. Further updates on the legislative framework for the visa subclasses will become available in June 2012.

Details on the outcome of the review of the business skills program will be published when they are available. We will provide you with this information as soon we can. Keep checking this blog and the SkillSelect website for updates.

You will notice that the SkillSelect website looks quite different to the departmental website. The new format aims to make web content easy to access and read for all our clients. We would really appreciate your feedback on the new format, so please let us know what you think in the comments.


To help us ensure that we are providing you with the information you want, we would appreciate if you can answer a simple question below in our poll.


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Comments (24)



I see that all GSM sub classes are offshore, as defined in booklet 6. Does that mean that no onshore GSM visa will be available? Many thanks.


Hi Alex, thank you for your question.

The new subclasses 189, 190 and 489 being introduced on 1 July 2012 will not have a onshore and offshore distinction. This means that you can apply for, and be granted, these visas whether you are onshore or offshore.

Booklet 6 only contains information on the current GSM visas. From 1 July 2012, the booklet will be updated to include the new visa subclasses.

We hope this information assists.


Dear Sir or Madam,

I have two questions as regards the new visa subclasses to be introduced in July 2012.
I hold "Bridging visa A" awaiting a decision on 485 (Graduate Student visa) application, which is expected to be granted in September 2012 (12 months after the application lodgement). I cannot apply for General Skilled (Independent) visa at the moment, because I missed the 6-months recent study requirement deadline, and now I have to wait until the 485 visa is granted in order to be able to apply for permanent residency.
The question is whether I will be able to apply for an Independent Skilled visa (189) under Skills Select before 485 visa is granted (provided I receive an invitation via the EOI system). The second question is whether I will be obliged to meet the recent study or recent work experience requirement if I am not going to claim any points for either of them. The latter question arose due to the fact that under the new visa subclasses 175 and 885 visas are merged into a single 189 visa, however, the basic requirements that must be met in order to be able to apply for 175 and 885 visas are different (the 485 visa holders when applying for 885 visa do not have to provide the evidence of recent work experience).
Thank you for your reply in advance.




Hi Olga - we hope the below information answers your questions.

Anyone can submit an EOI. However, in order to submit a complete EOI, you must meet all the visa requirements determined by the Minister. Therefore, you can submit a complete EOI for the 189 visa if you meet all the visa requirements for that visa (as set by the Minister).

If you are in Australia will be able to apply for a 189 visa if you hold a bridging visa A and have been invited to apply. Unlike the current 885 or 175 visas, the 189 visa will not require that a person invited to apply also have as a prerequisite, recent skilled employment or recent Australian study. However these factors are still important if you intend to claim points for them.


Thank you very much for your reply, Miranda!


Dear Miranda,

Thank you very much for your reply.

You wrote, "in order to submit a complete EOI, you must meet all the visa requirements determined by the Minister." Does it mean that if I have been on Bridging visa A for too long (and missed the 6 months previous study requirement) I will not be able to submit a complete EOI? Basically, I would like to know, if the requirement to wait until a 485 visa is issued for those who missed the deadline of 6 months will be lifted after Skills Select is introduced? Where can I find the information about the requirements determined by the Minister you mentioned?

I would not like to breach any regulations. And I want to be sure that if I choose to apply under Skills Select in July, I will comply with all the requirements. I can easily wait until my 485 visa is issued and express my interest (EOI) afterwards, but if I can submit the EOI earlier, I would not like to miss the opportunity either.

Could you also advise as to the approximate time when the first round of invitations under Skills Select is expected to be issued?

Thank you very much for your reply in advance!




Hi Olga, hopefully this information provides more clarity to your questions. Thank you for reading our blog.

The visa requirements for each visa subclass can be found at www.skillselect.gov.au. There is also more details on the requirements for the new points tested skilled migration visas on our factsheets at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/new-skilled.htm

You can submit an EOI at anytime after 1 July 2012. In order for the EOI to be complete and for you to be issued an invitation you would need to meet all the visa requirements for the visa(s) you are expressing interest in.

As we stated in our previous response, unlike the current 885 or 175 visas, the 189 visa will not require that a person who is invited to apply hold a certain type of visa, such as a student visa, or have recent skilled employment or recent Australian study. Anyone holding a substantive visa, such as a student visa or a Bridging visa A, B or C, will be eligible to apply if invited, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements. However if you want to claim points for recent work experience or recent Australian study, then you will need to provide relevant evidence with your application if you are invited.

We expect that the first round of invitations will be issued in August 2012.

We would encourage people in your position to lodge an EOI and express an interest in employer sponsorship as this will also expose you to employers who are looking for skilled workers.



As of now the minimum points required to apply for a permanent residency is 65, will that be the same for the new rule as well, especially for 189.

Thank you.


Hi Rama,

The legislative framework for the new visa subclasses is still being developed. We expect that the points test pass mark for the 189, 190 and 489 visas will remain at 65 points. We say ‘expect’ because the points test pass mark may be altered or adjusted in response to Australian labour market needs.

The pass mark will be the minimum score required in order to receive an invitation for these visas.


Respected Miranda,

I would like to know about new Skilled Independent ( subclass 189) visa which will be introduced from 1st July 2012. In this particular visa the minimum english ability will be set to competent according to new visa subclasses, i am wondering if an applicant having score IELTS 6 ( in all four modules) will be able to submit EOI. However, the
minimum pass mark is 65 to receive an invitation.

Your's sincerely,


Thank you for your comment Nabajit.

In order to submit a complete EOI and receive an invitation for the subclass 189 visa you must indicate that you meet all the 189 visa requirements as determined by the Minister. The English language requirement for the 189 visa is at least competent English, if you have obtained IELTS 6 score in all modules and at least a 6 as an overall score then you meet the threshold English requirement to apply for this visa if invited.

Yes, you are correct - the pass mark is currently set at 65 and your points score result on your EOI will need to be at least equal to or above the minimum pass mark in order to receive an invitation for this visa.


Respected Miranda,

Thank you so much for your information.

Warmest regards,


Dear Sir, Madam
I have one question regarding to the "Australian study requirement ", in the booklet on the skillselect website, it says "To meet the Australian study requirement you must have completed COURSE WORK ..." on page 6.

I was wondering does this awarded degree include master of engineering by research degree even though such terms "COURSE WORK " is used here? Thank you very much.


although this might be a bit irrelevent here. Can u please tell me how do we find out the allocation dates for CO for 485. Are these dates correct and CO are granted according to these dates.


Hi Yahya - although your comment is unrelated to SkillSelect, we are happy to answer your question.

You can locate the current allocation dates for the GSM visas (including the 485 visa) at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/estimated-alloc.... This information is updated fortnightly and is an accurate reflection of case officer allocation for these visa types.




is it what the department intended, with the introduction of the new points testing july 1, 2011, and going into skillselect,

that native english speakers should boost points by sitting ielts, even though the test is irrelevant for native speakers? ?

this is what is happening right now.

my tradesman husband passes with 65 points with Australian work experience, and many years in his trade. His skill is on all the shortages lists, and we are in Australia now on a 457, so he is working and in demand.

With the new points test system picking only high scores, many people who have much less experience, Australian or overseas, are artificially padding scores with ielts, when they are already native english speakers.

this forces people like my husband to pay for taking an unnecessary test to be noticed again. if he doesn't take the test, he has only a pass score.

what is the departments stance on this situation that has been created and are they going to adjust points test for skillselect to stop this abuse and inflation of scores?

it seems ielts shouldn't give points to native english speakers, or it skews the validity of the points test.


Thanks for your comment. There is a strong emphasis on English language proficiency in the skilled migration program as research shows that the better the English skills of a worker, the better the outcome for employers and the economy. If you are interested in reading more about this, these results are reflected in the results of the Continuous Survey of Australia’s Migrants (CSAM) published by the department: www.immi.gov.au/media/research/surveys/csam/

You are right in that applicants who hold a valid passport from, and are citizens of, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America or the Republic of Ireland, are able to sit an English language test (IELTS or OET) to be awarded points in the skilled migration points test. This option is available to every applicant and in a situation where an person is seeking additional points as part of a fair and objective process it is important that there is a standardised measure in place, regardless of the applicants’ individual circumstance or background.

The points test is designed to make sure no one factor guarantees migration and recognises a broader range of skills and attributes that a potential migrant can bring to Australia. So for example, where some applicants may be awarded points for English, others are now awarded points for overseas qualifications and their skilled employment experience.


that is a lame answer.

i fail to see how forcing a qualified tradesman who is a native english speaker to take a test on his english ability to boost his score helps Australia attract better migrants.
He has over 10 years experience in his trade, three years of that in Australia, he is on the state and national shortages list,
and yet with the abuse of ielts by english speakers, he only just passes the points test!
He wont even get an invite in the new skillselect unless he pays to take this ielts to pad his score too!

it doesn't help bring in better migrants at all.

it only serves to feed the bloated immigration industry,
a very lucrative industry in Australia indeed
its a real scam

you are taking the process from a skills in demand based process, and turning it into a farce by awarding points to native english speaking tradesmen for ielts.

it just shows you don't really care about qualifications and experience.

if you wanted the best candidates you would pick the ones with the best qualifications and experience, not the ones who can ace a language test in their native tongue.

so how would a non-native english speaking fellow fare? it cuts him right out of the process as a tradesman, even if he has more experience than the english speaker!

this is a glaring flaw in the integrity of the process and DIAC should immediately look at rectifying what is a glaring loophole.


Lola, in my first reply I should have given more information about the skilled migration program as a whole. The points test governs one part of the skilled migration program. Large numbers of tradespeople also gain visas through an employer sponsored visa, either permanent or temporary, which are not subject to a points test. The Government's reforms have made more of the program available to meet demand for skilled workers from Australian employers who can't source the worker locally.

Skilled migration to Australia is a competitive and selective process. For those without an employer sponsor going through the points tested visa categories, it is important to remember there are many qualified people seeking a skilled migration visa. The points test is used as a tool to help allocate places in the migration program to those with skills and attributes needed most by the Australian labour market. In doing so, it seeks to select skilled migrants who have the greatest chance of successfully settling in Australia.

As mentioned earlier, research clearly shows that English language skills are an important factor to success and employability of skilled migrants. Other factors are also important. For example, there are up to 40 points available for qualifications and employment history, while only 20 are available for English. That more points are awarded for qualifications and skilled employment gained both in Australia and overseas, demonstrates that these areas are also very important factors in the points test - and recognises those applicants (including applicants with trade qualifications) with extensive work experience in the labour market.

You might be interested to know that the nationalities for visa grants are a mix of English speaking and non English speaking countries, including India, United Kingdom, Peoples Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Republic of South Africa, Pakistan, and Iran.


Hi there,

Just a very quick question! Is the requirement for applicants to have graduated within 6 months at the time they lodge their applications (after 1 July, express their interests) still in effect ? I just noticed that this requirement is no longer present in the website anymore.

Thanks !



I currently hold a Visa 485 that will expire in August of 2013. I am currently working towards applying for a Visa 885 (just waiting on IELTS results) and am wondering how these new changes will affect me.

I was even more confused by this Changes to Points Tested Skilled Migration Visas

It states in the Key Dates section:
"From 1 January 2013, points tested skilled migration visas granted in Australia
(subclasses 885, 886 and 487) will be closed for new applications. "

Does this mean that EOI can be made from the 1st of July 2012 but you can still apply for Visa 885 until the 31st of December? As this is the only place I have read this information, and the start date of SkillSelect seems to be everywhere, I am not sure how clear I am about the situation.

Thank you for any help on the matter.


Hi Josie

From 1 July 2012, intending migrants, both in and outside Australia may submit an expression of interest (EOI) through SkillSelect for a 189, 190 or 489 visa. The old visa subclasses of 175, 176 and 475 will be closed for all new applications from this date.

People eligible to lodge an application for a subclass 885 visa will be able to do so until 31 December 2012 using the current application process, and will also be able to submit an EOI for one of the new visa subclasses under SkillSelect from 1 July 2012.

In relation to visa subclasses 885, 886 and 487, the Australian Government has provided transitional arrangements to former international students affected by the reforms to the skilled migration program. These transitional arrangements are in place until 31 December 2012. These visa subclasses will remain open to new applications (both those with access to transitional arrangements and other eligible applicants) after the introduction of SkillSelect.