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What is Australian immigration point system? How it impacts migration?

According to the Department of Home Affairs, under the 2023–24 permanent Migration Program, the Skill stream makes up a dominant 72% (137,100 places) of the program.

This focus isn’t just about filling empty seats; it’s a strategic move to address labour shortages and drive innovation. But how exactly do you qualify as a “skilled migrant” in the eyes of Australian immigration?

That’s where understanding the point system becomes crucial. This system assigns points based on various factors, such as age, qualifications, and work experience. Let’s examine the system in detail and point calculation to empower you to navigate the path to Australian residency through the General Skilled Migration point system. 

What is the Immigration Point System?

In 1989, Australia established a points-based immigration system. The immigration point system is a structured framework used by the Australian government to assess and select skilled individuals who wish to migrate to the country. It serves as a transparent and objective method of evaluating candidates based on their work experience from both inside and outside the country, credentials and other factors.

How Does it Work?

Under the Australian Immigration point system, points are awarded to the applicants based on various criteria such as age, English language proficiency, educational qualifications, work experience, whether you have a partner or not and other factors relevant to their occupation or nominated skilled occupation.

Ever wondered how many points it REALLY takes to turn your Australian dream into reality?

The total points accumulated by an individual determine their eligibility for different visa subclasses. Applicants need to achieve a minimum of 65 points score to be eligible to apply for a skilled migration point-based visa.

The SkillSelect system determines the eligibility criteria for skilled immigrants. Once an applicant submits their Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect, they enter a pool of candidates from which the Australian government selects prospective migrants based on their points score and the demand for their skills in the Australian labour market.

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Visa Subclasses Under the Points System

Three visas come under the category of Australian point system or Australian PR visas.

1. Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189): The subclass 189 visa is a points-based visa that allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently. Applicants do not require sponsorship from an employer or family member to apply for this visa subclass.

2. Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190): The subclass 190 visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory government agency. Applicants must meet the points threshold and be nominated for a specific occupation listed on the relevant state or territory’s skilled occupation list.

3. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491): The subclass 491 point-based visa is for skilled workers willing to live and work in specified regional areas of Australia. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated regional area.

Ready to put your skills to work in a thriving nation? Reach out to us and take the first step towards a fulfilling life and career in Australia.

Breakdown of different categories and point allocations.

Points are based on various factors, such as:

  1. Age
  2. English Proficiency
  3. Work Experience
  4. Education Qualification
  5. Australian Study Requirement
  6. Professional Years
  7. Credential Community Language
  8. Study in Regional Australia
  9. Partner Skills
  10. Nomination and Sponsorship

This requirement dissects your age, qualifications, experience, and other factors awarding points that determine your application’s strength. The higher you score, the more competitive you become.

Now, let’s start calculating your points and see how your points score stack up.

Australian Skilled migration points table

What are the Points Requirements for an Australian Skilled Migration Visa?

Age

Points are assigned based on the applicant’s age at the time of application. Applicants between 25 and 33 years usually receive the maximum points, while points gradually decrease for older age brackets.

AgePoints
18 to 25 Years25
25 to 33 Years30
33 to 40 Years25
40 to 45 years15

English Language Proficiency

Points are awarded based on an applicant’s proficiency in the English language. Language test scores, such as IELTS or TOEFL, determines the number of points assigned. The English language criteria for Skilled Migration Visas vary across different subcategories, ranging from functional to superior levels.

English Points
Competent English (at least 6 in each component of IELTS)0
Proficient English (at least 7 in each component of IELTS)10
Superior English (at least 8 in each component of IELTS)20

Skilled Work Experience

Points are distributed based on the duration of skilled work experience in a nominated occupation. The experience should be in a nominated skilled occupation listed in Australia or a closely related skilled occupation to qualify for points for skilled employment. Additionally, the experience must have been acquired within the last ten years.

Skilled Employment Outside AustraliaPoints
Less than 3 years0
At least 3 but less than 5 years5
At least 5 but less than 8 years10
At least 8 years15

To earn points for Australian employment, you must have held a substantive visa or a Bridging A or B visa and adhere to its conditions. Closely related occupations should fall within the same ANZSCO Unit Group, align with a career advancement path, or be recognised by the assessing authority as closely related during your skills assessment.

Skilled Employment Inside AustraliaPoints
Less than 1 year0
At least 1 but less than 3 years5
At least 3 but less than 5 years10
At least 5 but less than 8 years15
At least 8 years20

Unsure if your experience qualifies? Our registered migration agent will help you clarify the requirements and ensure your experience is documented effectively to maximise points. Contact us today.

Education Qualification

In the skilled migration point test, points are awarded based on your highest qualification only.

RequirementPoints
A Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or a Doctorate from another recognised institution.20
At least a Bachelor’s degree from an Australian educational institution or a Bachelor’s qualification from another recognised institution.15
A diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution.10
Qualification or award recognised by the relevant assessing authority as suitable for the nominated skilled occupation.10

Specialised Education Qualification

RequirementPoints
A doctorate or master’s degree by research from an Australian university that involves at least two years of study in a relevant discipline.10

To qualify for points, you need a Master’s or Doctorate degree from an Australian institution involving at least two academic years of study in a relevant field. The postgraduate degree must be in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or certain ICT fields.

Australian Study Requirement

You must hold at least one qualification from an Australian college or university that fulfils the requirement of Australian study. This can be:

  • A single eligible qualification requiring a minimum of 2 academic years of study. 
  • Or multiple credentials that, when combined, represent a minimum of two academic years of study and qualify the recipient.
RequirementPoints
Meet the Australian study requirements.5

Professional Years in Australia

RequirementPoints
A Professional Year Completed in Australia5

To earn points for completing a Professional Year at the time of invitation, you must meet the following criteria. Professional Year should have been:

  • Completed in Accounting, ICT/Computing, or Engineering in your closely related field or nominated occupation over a period of at least 12 months.
  • Completed in Australia within 4 years before you received the invitation to apply for the visa.

If your Professional Year was completed within 48 months before the invitation, you may be awarded 5 points. The completion date is determined by the official Record of Completion issued by the authorised body or Professional Year program delivery partner.

Leverage your existing Australian experience! Reach out to us and make sure your employment history in Australia is well-documented to maximise your points.

Credential Community Language

Points are awarded for being credentialed in a community language. To be eligible, you must hold accreditation at the paraprofessional level or above, certification at the certified provisional level or above, or possess a community language credential for interpreting or translating accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreter (NAATI).

RequirementPoints
Have an accredited degree in the community language.5

Study in Regional Australia

To claim points for your level of education:

  • Must fulfil the requirements for Australian studies obtained while living and attending a certain regional area campus.
  • Excludes studies done via distance learning.
RequirementPoints
Hold a minimum of one degree, certificate, or trade qualification from an Australian college or university.5

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Partner Skills

RequirementPoints
Your spouse or de facto partner must meet age, English, and skill criteria if applying for the visa.10
Your spouse or de facto partner must have competent English.5
If you’re single or if your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.10

To earn points, your partner must apply for the same visa subclass and not be an Australian permanent resident or citizen. Additionally, when you were invited to apply for the visa, your partner must have been:

  • Under 45 years old.
  • Had competent English level.
  • Nominated a skilled occupation from the same list as yours.
  • Obtained a suitable skills evaluation from the relevant authority for their nominated occupation, excluding assessments for a Subclass 485 visa.

Nomination and Sponsorship (Only for subclass 190 and 491)

Subclass 190 and 491 visa applicants can gain points for being nominated or sponsored by an Australian state or Territory government.

For Subclass 190 Visa

Requirement Points
Have been invited to apply, and the nominating State or Territory government agency has not withdrawn the nomination.5

For Subclass 491 Visa

RequirementPoints

Have been invited to apply, and the nominating State or Territory government agency has not withdrawn the nomination.

OR 

A family member has sponsored you for a Subclass 491 visa, and the Minister has approved the sponsorship.

15

How the point system impacts migration to Australia?

The point system has a substantial impact on immigration to Australia since it provides a disciplined framework for selecting talented migrants who can contribute to the country’s economy and society. 

Here’s how the point system influences migration:

1. Eligibility Assessment: The point system serves as the initial screening process, determining the eligibility of skilled migrants. It sets a minimum point threshold that applicants must meet to be considered for specific visa categories, ensuring that only individuals with the desired qualifications and attributes are selected.

2. Selection and Invitation: With a limited number of visa places available, the point system acts as a filtering mechanism, prioritising applicants with higher point scores. Those who score above the minimum threshold have a greater chance of receiving an invitation to apply for a visa, increasing their prospects of successful migration.

3. Occupation Demand: The point system considers the demand for certain vocations in Australia’s labour market. It gives extra points to applicants with skills and qualifications in high-demand occupations on the Skilled Occupation List. This strategy attracts people who can fill important skill gaps and contribute to the country’s economic growth, ensuring that the migration system meets Australia’s economic and labour market demands.

4. Encourages Regional Distribution: Australia’s point system also promotes migration to regional areas that might struggle to attract skilled workers organically. The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491) encourages migrants to settle in regional Australia. This helps to address population growth pressures in major cities and promote economic development in regional communities.

Conclusion

The Australian skilled point system, which connects your abilities and objectives to a dynamic future, is critical in defining the road to life Down Under. With its stringent evaluation requirements, the point system ensures that only the most competent candidates are admitted, stimulating innovation and meeting labour market needs. 

4Nations International, a registered migration agent, will serve as your expert guide in navigating the complexities of the point system. Our team of experts will help you assess your eligibility, streamline your application, and guide you through every step of the process, maximising your chances of success. Contact us today and ensure you score enough points for your visa.

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