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Australian Skilled Migration Visa Class: Discover Your Best Visa Option

Australia has many immigrants in its large population as well as in its workforce. The changing patterns of migration, including immigrant skill levels, are an important issue for the employment market nowadays. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is formulated to allow skilled individuals and their families as migrants to the country. Australia’s immigration rules and policies have changed over the past 65 years. There has been a key focus on attracting employees and temporary or skilled migrants to be able to meet the requirement of skilled labourers of the economy.

Under the General Skilled Migration Program, visas are point-verified, independent or state territory-sponsored. There is also an option for family-sponsored permanent visas. A special General Skilled Migration (GSM) program has been developed for people aspiring to immigrate having professional skills. The program has several subclass visas, allowing professionals with different skills to obtain permanent visas. The profession registration is renewed once or twice a year, containing an extensive list of professions in demand in Australia. Therefore, this a great opportunity for those with English skills and skills in their field.

Understanding Visa classes:

Australian Subclass 190 Visa – (SKILLED NOMINATED VISA): Subclass 190 is a point-based visa where the person needs to score at least 65 points. Permanent residency is awarded when the applicant achieves a skilled nominated subclass by the state Government and meets the eligibility criteria required.

Australian Subclass 189 Visa- (SKILLED INDEPENDENT PERMANENT VISA): This is a Permanent Residency visa for points-tested skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or family member. They can be nominated by an Australian state/territory. It permits the applicants to work and live in the country as permanent residents.

Australian Subclass 491 Visa – (SKILLED WORK REGIONAL – PROVISIONAL VISA):  This is a state nominated provisional visa for skilled migrants, allowing candidates to work and live in Australia for five years. 491 Visa holders will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa after completing 3 years.

Comparing Subclass 190, 189 and 491:

  • All 3 Australian Subclass visas must be applied under the Skill Select system.
  • All these visas are “points tested”.
  • In all 3 cases, applicants must meet the following key criteria:
    • The candidates must be under 45 years old while they apply for the visas
    • The applicants must be able to nominate for a job that is listed in one of the occupation lists
    • The applicants must have obtained a positive Skills Assessment in their preferred occupation list before applying for the visa.
    • The applicants must meet minimum English score requirements.
    • The candidates must score at least 65 points on the Points Test.

Permanent Skilled Independent                 Subclass 189 Visa

Skilled Nominated              Subclass 190 Visa

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)                 Subclass 491 Visa

The number of invitations is based upon the Designated Regions or areas which are available in occupation and also your total points

It must be a “sponsored” one either by a state or a territory

An invitation is guaranteed for the applicant if his/her sponsorship is approved by the state or the territory

One can stay for an indefinite period as a permanent resident

One can stay for an indefinite period of time as a permanent resident

One can stay up to 5 years, and also fulfil his/her resident needs to apply for the 191 (PR) after 3 years

One gains complete access to travel and also other social benefits

One achieves complete access to travel and also other social benefits

Candidates have to live and work in the state to which he/she has been sponsored to

Involves Unconditional and unrestricted PR

Involves Unconditional and unrestricted PR

One can apply for PR visa after 3 years

One can have Medicare benefits

One can have Medicare benefits

One will not be able to leverage Medicare benefits

One is free to work in any occupation

One is free to work in any occupation

One is free to work in any occupation

One can take your partner along

One can bring your partner along

One can take your partner along

One can sponsor parents after 2 years of his/her residence in Australia

One can sponsor parents after 2 years of his/her residence in Australia

One can sponsor parents 2 years after gaining his/ her permanent visa in Australia

What is the difference between Subclass 189, 190 and 491?

The subclass 189 visa is the best visa as it is permanent, and permits its applicants to live and work permanently in any suburb of the country. As one of the most competitive visas, there is a list of occupations to particular roles. Thus, it paves the way only for certain professionals to apply.

A related list is MLTSSL (Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List). In the past, it was difficult to get an invitation to this visa as the government began reducing the number of invitations. Due to the pandemic, even fewer invitations are being sent. The system first invites the person with the highest points. Therefore, the invitation ends before it is enough to invite the person with the lesser points.

The 190 visa is also a permanent visa and the procedure is similar to subclass 189. The difference is that the applicant is being asked by the state/region rather than by the federal government (Skill Select). Some states, such as New South Wales and Victoria, invite-only high-scoring candidates. Visa 190 requires an applicant to be nominated by the Australian state/territory in which he/she applies, keeping in mind that each state and territory has its own requirements regarding who to appoint.

Like the 190 visa, a 491 visa requires a state/territory designation. The main difference between them is that visa 491 is a temporary visa for 5 years. Once this visa is issued, you and your family must have lived in a particular region of Australia for at least 3 years and earned at least $ 53,900 a year. Upon meeting these 2 requirements, you can apply for a subclass 191 permanent visa. This ultimately allows you to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia.

Key points to remember:

For these visa subclasses, the candidate needs to be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation. A competent level of English is also a must. For this, you need to take an English test and meet the required scores. If you have a passport from the USA, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada or New Zealand, it is presumed that you have competent English and need not take the language test. You also cannot have significant health issues or a serious criminal record. The earlier you submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) for your visa the better. This is because there is a selection process and many people wait for a long time to get their invitation to apply for such visas.

Other key points of subclass 189 Skilled Visa:

  • One can apply only after receiving an invitation, based on one’s occupation in the designated areas that are available. This also depends on one’s total points.
  • One can get a (PR) Permanent Residence.
  • One gets an Unconditional, unrestricted Permanent R
  • One is free to live where he/she decides to, and can have access to Medicare and other social security advantages.
  • The candidate is free to work in any job/occupation.
  • This visa is sponsored.
  • The candidate can bring his/her partner, right away.
  • One can bring his/her parents, who can be sponsored after 2 years of his/her residence in Australia.

 

Other key points of subclass 190Skilled Visa:  

  • One gets an invitation when the state sponsorship is approved.
  • The candidate can get unconditional, unrestricted (PR) Permanent Residenc
  • The sponsoring states will expect him/her to comply with his/her undertaking to live in that particular state for the first 2 years.
  • One gets access to Medicare and other social security benefits.
  • The candidate is free to work in any occupation.
  • This is a sponsored visa.
  • One can bring his/her partner, right away.
  • The candidate can bring his/her parents, who can be sponsored after 2 years of his/her residence in Australia.

Other key points of subclass 491 Skilled Visa:

  • One will achieve a guaranteed invite when the state sponsorship is approved.
  • One will achieve a Provisional Residence.
  • The candidate will have to live and work in the sponsoring state. This state will be in the applicable designated area, for a period of 3 years, and then he/she can apply for his/her PR.
  • One will not have any access to Medicare or any other social security benefits.
  • The candidate will be free to work in any preferred job.
  • This visa is sponsored.
  • One can bring his/her partner, right away.
  • The candidate can bring his/her parent, who can be sponsored after 2 years of his/her achievement of PR in Australia

How to apply for the Subclass 190, 189 and 491 visas?

Subclass 189 visa process

Here are the following steps for successfully applying for 189 visa: 

Step one: Ensure that your occupation is listed on the skilled occupation list.

Step two: You must have a minimum of 65 points.

Step three: Submit an expression of interest (EOI) to the Department of Home Affairs via their online system known as Skill Select.

Step four: Wait for the invitation from the Department of immigration to formally submit a visa application. In the meantime, keep relevant documents ready.

Step five: Apply for visa within 60 days of receiving the invitation.

Subclass 190 visa process

Here are the steps for successful application of subclass 190 visa:

Step one: Find out if your occupation is listed on the skilled occupation list.

Step two: Make sure that you have obtained a minimum of 65 points in the point-based test. This should be +5 points for his/her successful nomination.

Step three: Submit your expression of interest (EOI) to the Department of Home Affairs via their online system, Skill Select.

Step four: Once the EOI is submitted, it is reviewed by the Immigration department searching for prospective employees with relevant skill sets. If you are selected, a letter of invitation will be sent for your 190 visa application.

Step five: After you get a confirmed employer for nomination, you can then apply for visa 190 online. You need to include all required documents in your visa application.

Step Six: Once your application is approved, you will receive your 190 visa and can then start living and working in Australia.

Subclass 491 visa process

Step one: Ensure that your preferred occupation is listed on the skilled occupation list and get your skill-set evaluated by respective Australian organisations.

Step two: See that you have obtained a minimum of 65 points in the point-based test.

Step three: Submit an expression of interest (EOI) to the Department of Home Affairs via Skill Select.

Step four: The Department of Home Affairs will prompt you to apply for Australian candidacy.  You need to submit the necessary documents within a 60 day period and pay the set fee within the allotted time.

Step five: Ensure that you also check your 491 visa application status.

Step Six: Once your application is approved, you will receive your Australian 491 visa and begin working in Australia.

Average Costs for Subclass 190, 189 & 491 Visas

Below is the average cost for making a skilled visa (Subclass 190, 189, 491) application.

Visa subclass

Base application charge (In AUD)

Base application charge (In INR)

Subclass 189 Visa

AUD 4,115

220936.25/-

Subclass 190 Visa

AUD 4,115

220936.25/-

Subclass 491 Visa

From AUD 4,115

From 220936.25/-

Visa Processing Time for Subclass 190, 189 & 491

Visa subclass

Visa Processing Time (appx.)

Subclass 189 Visa

18 to 30 months

Subclass 190 Visa

6 to 18 months

Subclass 491 Visa

5 to 9 months

Which visa is best suited for you?

To find a visa suitable for a candidate, their eligibility and the lists their occupations are on needs to be considered. You must select from a variety of options that you are eligible for. For example, if you are eligible for all three visas but you do not have a very high point score you are unlikely to get picked for the 189 visas. It may be better to apply for visa subclasses 190 or 491.

There are certain points where visa 190 holds an advantage over 491. Firstly, being a permanent visa, it is hugely beneficial to hold a visa 190. As subclass 491 is a provisional visa, you will get a visa for 5 years but you are required to live and work in the nominating state or any designated area for 3 years and only then can we apply for PR.

The 190 visa allows you to live anywhere. When it comes to 491 visa, you cannot live in the metropolitan areas and are obliged to live and work in designated areas only. In 190, you can sponsor your relatives but 491 you can sponsor for a visiting visa only.

There are some advantages for visa 491 over 190 in some other points. While you get 5 points for the visa 190 for the nomination but in visa subclass 491, you receive 15 points. Those with occupations listed on the MLTSSL and STSOL lists can apply for 190 visas. Meanwhile, professions listed on the MLTSSL, STSOL and ROL lists can apply for 491 visas.

Though higher points are required for obtaining state nomination, it’s not required for 491. Unlike Visa 190, visa subclass 491 is a priority visa and is finalised in a much shorter duration. Likewise, there are so many factors to be considered depending on what you need before making a choice.

Needs Migration is among the best migration agencies in Australia. Feel free to call us on 0423 670 879 or drop us an email at vasu@needsmigration.com.au for more information.

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