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What is the average processing time for skilled migration visa application?

A skilled migration visa provides a pathway for individuals with specialised skills and qualifications to live and work in a foreign country. However, the average processing time for skilled migration visas spans between minimum 4 months and maximum 37 months, depending on various circumstances and visa subclass. Global visa processing times are updated monthly and can vary significantly due to a multitude of factors. 

Understanding these timelines empowers applicants to handle expectations effectively, thereby reducing stress and uncertainty throughout the visa application process. This article will delve into the significance of grasping the duration linked with permanent migration visa subclasses and scrutinise the various influencing factors.

Average Visa Processing Time for Skilled Migration Visas

Acquiring knowledge of the estimated processing time aids applicants in planning their schedules, making requisite arrangements, and establishing realistic expectations for their relocation endeavours. Here’s a detailed explanation of the processing times for different skilled migration visas:

1. Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visa

The Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 189 is an Australian permanent visa tailored for individuals with skills in demand in Australia and does not require sponsorship from an employer or family member. Eligibility for this visa is determined through a points-based assessment system. With a subclass 189 visa, you can live and work permanently anywhere in Australia. Additionally, it offers a New Zealand stream, allowing eligible New Zealand citizens who have showcased dedication and contribution to Australia to reside and work in the country permanently.

Applicants are required to select an occupation from the pertinent skilled occupation lists furnished by the Australian government. According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs (ADHA), the Subclass 189 Visa processing time is:


New Zealand

50% of Visa              4 Months

90% of Visa             17 Months

50% of Visa         28Months

90% of Visa         37 Months

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2. Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 Visa

The Skilled Nominated Visa Subclass 190 is designed for individuals who possess the skills and qualifications that are in demand in a specific Australian state or territory. This visa is part of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, which aims to address skill shortages and contribute to the economic growth of Australia. It grants the visa holder permanent residency (PR) in Australia, thereby enabling them to live, work, and eventually pursue Australian citizenship.

Applicants are required to fulfil the minimum point threshold set by Australian immigration authorities. As per the ADHA, the subclass 190 visa application processing time is:

50% of Visa90% of Visa
12 Months18 Months

3. Skilled Regional Permanent Residence Visa Subclass 191

The Skilled Regional Permanent Residence Visa Subclass 191 is an Australian immigration pathway designed for skilled workers and their families who wish to permanently live and work in regional areas of Australia. This visa is granted to individuals who have previously held a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa subclass 491 or a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa subclass 494 and have met certain residency and employment requirements while living in regional Australia. The processing time for subclass visa 191 is:

50% of Visa90% of Visa
5 Months5 Months

4. Skilled Work Regional Provisional Visa Subclass 491

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa Subclass 491 is an Australian visa tailored for skilled migrants aiming to live and work in specified regional areas of Australia. This visa permits a stay of up to five years, with the possibility to apply for permanent residency after three years from the visa grant. Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area to be eligible. According to ADHA, the processing time for subclass 491 visa is:

State/Territory Government Nominated


 50% of Visa           14 Months

90% of Visa          29 Months

50% of Visa          10 Months

90% of Visa         21 Months

5. Skilled Regional Visa Subclass 887

The Skilled Regional Visa Subclass 887 is a permanent residency visa designed for individuals who have previously held a provisional skilled visa (Subclass 489, 495, 496 or 487) or an eligible visa that expired outside Australia during the concession period. Eligibility for the Subclass 887 visa entails having resided in a specified regional area for 2 years, fulfilling work obligations for at least 1 year, and meeting other stipulated criteria during the provisional visa tenure. According to ADHA, the processing duration for this visa application is:

50% of Visa90% of Visa
8 Months31 Months

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What Factors Influence Processing Time of Skilled Migration Visa?

general skilled migration visa

  1. Visa Category: Processing times can vary among different visa categories, with subclass 189 potentially taking longer than subclass 191. Some visas may require more in-depth assessments or have specific eligibility criteria, leading to extended processing durations.
  2. Number of Applications: The volume of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs can significantly impact processing times. Higher numbers of applications may lead to longer wait times as officers need to review each application thoroughly, ensuring fairness and accuracy in decision-making.
  3. Complexities of Application: The complexity of individual applications can impact processing times. Applications with incomplete information, discrepancies, or additional documentation requirements may take longer to process as officers may need to request further information or clarification.
  4. Priority Processing: Certain skilled migration visas may qualify for priority processing, which means that specific applications may receive quicker processing times compared to others. This prioritisation is based on factors like critical skill shortages, demand in certain regions, or special government initiatives. The processing of skilled visa applications adheres to government policy priorities as outlined in Ministerial Direction No. 105.
  5. Document Verification: The time it takes to verify the authenticity of submitted documents can affect processing times. This includes verifying educational qualifications, work experience, and other supporting documents. Delays in document verification, especially if additional checks are required, can prolong the overall processing time.
  6. Health and Character Checks: All visa applicants must meet health and character requirements. If there are any issues identified during health assessments or character checks, such as the need for additional medical examinations or background checks, it can lead to delays in processing until these matters are resolved satisfactorily.
  7. Changes in Immigration Policies: Changes in immigration policies or regulations can impact processing times. Updates to eligibility criteria, priority processing categories, or procedural changes may require additional time for officers to adapt and implement, potentially leading to delays for certain applicants.

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Tips to expedite the Application Processing Time

  1. Thorough Documentation Preparation: Ensure all required documents are accurately prepared, certified, and organised according to immigration guidelines. This includes educational transcripts, employment references, English language proficiency certificates, and health assessments.
  2. Timely Submission: Submit your visa application promptly to avoid potential backlogs and ensure early consideration by immigration authorities. Delays in submission can inadvertently prolong processing times, especially during peak application periods.
  3. Professional Consultation: Seek guidance from qualified migration agents or legal professionals specialising in immigration law. Their expertise can help navigate complexities, address concerns, and optimise your application for expedited processing.
  4. Monitoring Application Status: Regularly monitor the status of your visa application through online portals or designated communication channels. Stay informed about any updates, requests for additional information, or changes in processing timelines.

Also read: What are the key things to know before migrating to Australia in 2024?

What should you do if your visa process is delayed?

If your visa process is delayed, it’s essential to remain calm and take proactive steps to address the situation effectively. Here are some recommended actions to consider:

  • Reach out to the relevant immigration authorities or visa processing centres to inquire about the status of your application. They may provide insights into the reasons for the delay and offer guidance on potential next steps.
  • Check the status of your visa application through official channels, such as online portals or designated communication platforms. Look for any updates, requests for additional information, or notifications regarding processing delays.
  • If requested, promptly provide any additional information or documentation requested by immigration authorities to expedite the processing of your visa application. Ensure that all provided information is accurate, complete, and compliant with visa requirements.

Summing Up!

While processing times can vary depending on individual circumstances and specific visa subclasses, understanding the potential timeframe can help you plan effectively. Remember, Preparation is Key! Gather the necessary documentation, familiarise yourself with the requirements, and seek professional guidance to ensure a smooth and efficient application process.

For personalised advice and expert support throughout your skilled migration journey, contact us today! Our immigration lawyers will clarify processing times on a case-by-case basis, navigate potential hurdles, and confidently help you achieve your migration goals. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be celebrating your visa approval!

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