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SkillSelect – the who, what, when, why and how?

On 11 May 2011, the Australian Government announced the implementation of the Skilled Migration Selection Register - SkillSelect.

In today’s blog we will address the who, what, when, why and how of SkillSelect for the independent skilled and family sponsored skilled migration programs.

What is SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is a new skilled migrant selection register that will ensure Australia can select the best and brightest skilled migrants from a pool of prospective migrants.  It is based on an electronic two-stage process whereby prospective migrants first submit an Expression Of Interest (EOI) and may then be invited by the department to make a skilled migration visa application.

Why SkillSelect?

SkillSelect will build upon and draw together the suite of reforms made to the skilled migration program over the past several years.  It will deliver the skills Australia needs by matching the best and brightest prospective migrants to the available places in the migration program.

How will SkillSelect operate?

Prospective applicants first submit claims for skilled migration through an online EOI and then may be invited to make a visa application.  It is important to note that an EOI is not a visa application; it is an expression of interest in being considered for migration.  All prospective applicants will be required to have met the relevant English language standard and obtained the necessary skills assessment before submitting an EOI.

People will be invited to lodge an application on the basis of their EOI.  Applicants will be ranked according to their points test score and the time they submitted their EOI.  The highest ranking applicants will be invited to apply each month.  An occupation ceiling will exist that will cap the number of invitations to apply for migration in the points tested visa categories by occupation so that we can ensure that the program covers as many occupations as possible on the Skilled Occupations List.

SkillSelect will ensure a match between the number of applicants, the number of available program places and the available processing resources.  This will streamline processing times.

Who will SkillSelect affect?

All prospective applicants for Independent Skilled, State/Territory/Family Sponsored or Business Skills visas will need to submit an EOI and receive an invitation before they can apply.

People who have lodged a visa application before SkillSelect takes effect and whose applications are pending processing, will have their application processed in accordance with any priority processing direction in effect at that time.

When will SkillSelect be implemented?

SkillSelect will commence on 1 July 2012. As of this date, new applicants for Independent, Family or State/Territory Sponsored or Business Skills migration will need to submit an EOI and be issued with an invitation before lodging their visa application.

Transitional arrangements currently apply to certain people who, on 8 February 2010, held or had applied for a Skilled Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This group will still be able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the current system until the end of 2012.

In our future blogs we will address some common questions about SkillSelect and the impact it will have on the State and Territory Sponsored, Business Skills and Employer Sponsored migration programs.

For more information on SkillSelect see:

Comments (18)


I'm not sure this is the right place to ask this question, but would students who graduate after 1 July 2012 still be able to apply for a 485 visa, and then submit an EOI?



When implemented, SkillSelect will have no impact on the Skilled Graduate visa program. The following information on our website should assist you in determining the eligibility requirements for a 485 (Skilled - Graduate) visa.

You will be able to submit an EOI in SkillSelect even if you have an outstanding visa application, hold a valid substantive visa or are offshore.

Thank you for your question about SkillSelect and I hope this information has been of assistance.


I am very interested to know what sort of bridging visa, if any, will be granted to applicants while waiting for their 'EOI' to be approved?

Is it a requirement that applicants must lodge their EOI well in advance of their temporary visa's expiry date?

Will temporary visa validity lengths be extended to suite this scheme?

From experience, I have noticed it is increasingly hard for students and temporary residents to find employers who are willing to employee them. Many applicants find it difficult to even obtain one year work experience whilst on a temporary visa that lasts for 18 months. Does this new scheme allow applicants ample time to obtain the 'highest ranking' points?


Great questions Andrew, hopefully the below will assist you.

The EOI is not a visa application, and you would not be granted a bridging visa. A bridging visa would only be considered once a valid visa application is actually lodged. If the visa you hold is about to expire before you are invited and able to apply for a skilled visa, you would need to apply for another visa if you want to remain in Australia. If you do not meet the requirements for grant of another visa, you would need to depart Australia before your visa expires.

There are changes planned to introduce the Post Study Work visa as one of the recommendations of the Knight Review No other changes for temporary visa validity lengths are planned for when SkillSelect is implemented on 1 July 2012.

An EOI will be valid for a period of two years. You can update your EOI at any time until receiving an invitation or your EOI expires. If you provide new information that changes your points score, SkillSelect will update your ranking. SkillSelect will ensure that the best and brightest migrants are selected to match the needs of the Australian Labour market.

I would encourage all readers to view our FAQ factsheet on SkillSelect as this may assist in answering your questions on SkillSelect.


Hi Miranda,
Please clarify if Business Skills applicants will be affected by the SkillSelect process. Thank you.


Hi Nina

Yes, prospective applicants for the Business Skills migration program will be required to submit an EOI using SkillSelect and receive an invitation in order to lodge a visa application.


How long will it take DIAC to respond to an EOI?

If 485 visa applications are taking more than 2 years to process, I fear that applicants will be waiting a very long time to get a response from DIAC.

I just cannot see how DIAC will cope with thousands of EOI applications.

Are there any review rights or internal appeal rights from a EOI decision?


Thank you for your questions John,

For independent and family sponsored skilled migration, all selection decisions will be made electronically based on your ranking subject to the occupation ceiling. Selection is an automated process and is based on objective criteria and so are not ‘processed’ the way applications are processed. As the selection process is completely automated, DIAC staff will not be involved in the selection process. Sufficient invitations will be issued to ensure that we have enough applications to process to meet the annual migration program. You will receive an automated acknowledgment of your EOI from DIAC when you complete your EOI and if you make any changes to your EOI. You will also receive a notification from SkillSelect if you are invited to lodge a visa application.

As an EOI is not a visa application, and selection is based on information provided by you, there would be no access merits review by the Migration Review Tribunal.

Following each selection process, details will be published in relation to the score, occupation and date of EOI for the lowest ranked invitations issued for each occupation. The selection process will be transparent and based on information provided by you with no involvement by DIAC officers.


What will happen to the lower ranking applicants?



Hi Nam - If you do not receive an invitation, it is proposed that your EOI will remain active in SkillSelect for 2 years. You will have the option to renew your EOI.


Sir, will the Employer Nominated Visa be affected by this?

If your occupation is not in the SOL but is part of the State Migration Plan, can I submit an EOI?


Prospective applicants for ENS, RSMS and 457 visas are not required to use SkillSelect but can choose to make an EOI if you are looking for an employer to sponsor you.

Yes, you can submit an EOI specifying that you are interested in State or Territory Sponsorship.

Thank you for your question.


I am a dentist. I passed the OET and sent my papers for assessment to the Astralian Dental Council. They said there are exams I need to take.the examination process take two years at least.shall I apply for EOI before sitting exams or I can not do anything until I finish exams and get certiicate?



Hi Emad - You will have to have completed the appropriate skills assessment for your occupation before submitting your EOI. Your EOI will need to be based upon facts as they stand at the time you express interest in migrating.
Please have a look at our website if you need more information on skills assessments for your occupation.


Dear Sir/Madam,
I'd like to know if OET (English test) expires one month after submission of EOI, does the result valid for another 2 years and allow to lodge PR application povided that I get an invitation within 2 years after submitting EOI?

How often the invitations will be made?

The reason is that the graduate program I was offered will finish in early weeks of Feb 2013 and OET result will expire on 12 March 2013.



If you are invited to submit a visa application, it is envisaged that you would have two months to finalise all necessary documentation and to lodge your application. The invitation would expire at the end of two months.
Please stay tuned for further updates on SkillSelect in the coming months which will answer your question on validity of English Test results submitted on your EOI.
Invitations for the Independent and Family Sponsored migration programs will be issued once a month with the first round of invitations issued in August 2012.

Thank you for your comment.


Hi Miranda, I like to know about 176 State Sponsored visa applications lodged before 1st July 2012, how these would be effect from this new SkillSelect system.


Hi Khan,
If you have lodged a valid visa application prior to 1 July 2012 and are pending processing, the department would process this application in accordance with any priority processing direction effect at that time.
You can view information on priority processing on our website: