Skilled Migration remains the best pathway to move to Australia

Skilled Migration

Skilled Migration remains the best pathway to move to Australia


The Migration Program is designed to achieve a range of economic and social outcomes. The program is set on an annual basis and re-sets on 1 July each year.  For the current migration year, with the total places available capped at a ceiling of 190,000.  These figures refer to permanent migration and do not include temporary visa grants such as visitor and temporary work visas.

The subcategories of permanent migration are broken down as follows:

  1. Skill – designed to improve the productive capacity of the economy and fill skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional Australia. This represents most places offered (128,550 places in 2018-19).
  2. Family – is predominately made up of Partner visas, enabling Australians to reunite with family members from overseas, and provide them with pathways to citizenship (57,400 places in 2018-19).
  3. Special Eligibility – this covers visas for those in special circumstances that do not fit into the other streams. This can include permanent residents returning to the country after a period away, and is the smallest stream (565 places in 2018-19).

Based on the above figure, Skilled Migration Continues to remain Australia’s priority, representing 68.9% of the total migration intake.

Migration Act allows the Minister to set priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas.

The priority processing arrangements enable Home Affairs to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the Minister considers appropriate.

Skilled Migration

The priority processing arrangements apply to applications for the following visas (as of 1 July 2018):

  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Points-tested skilled migration.

Since 1 July 2017, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are:

  • applications from people who are sponsored under the RSMS programme
  • applications from people who are sponsored under the ENS programme
  • applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency
  • applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) in effect since 1 July 2017
  • all other applications.

Australia, for the most part has always been a demand driven immigration hence it is not surprising that skilled migration remains on top of the list of preferred method of migrating to Australia.  Whilst the Department regularly updates their processing times based on the number of applications lodged versus the number of applications finalised for the previous month, a simple method to estimate how fast your application will be processed is to understand where your application sits within the priority group order.

  • Priority groups 1,2, and 3 – these are allocated to Employer sponsored programs.  Regional Sponsored Migration remains at the very top, closely followed by Employer Nomination Scheme.  Applicants nominated by state or territory receive are third in place in terms of priority.
  • Occupations on which are on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic List (MLTSSL) (this also includes independent as well as family sponsored applications).  These applicants are classified as Priority Group 4.
  • Priority 5 is for reserved for applicants who do not fit any of the above criteria

For current eligibility criteria, see Australian Citizenship Requirements.

For application processing times, see Global visa and Australian Citizenship processing times.


Latest Update on Skill Select

SkillSelect is an online service that helps Australia manage its skilled migration program. It helps to ensure that the skilled migration program is based on Australia’s economic needs. It supports the government in managing who can apply for skilled migration, when they can apply and in what numbers. As a result, the time taken to process a visa application is significantly reduced.

The results are published on the 11th of each month.  September intake for Skill Select was as follows:

  • Number of 189 visa invitations issued – 2490
  • Number of 489 visa invitations issued – 10

The current minimum score for skilled independent visa (subclass 189) has increased to 70 points.  Regional 489 visa requires at least 80 points.  Note certain occupations attract higher point test score (for example, accountants).

Further information on current migration planning levels can be found here:

If you’re looking for migration experts to help make your visa process as smooth as possible, contact the team at This Is Australia on (0)7 5592 0755. We offer a FREE initial consultation through our online visa assessment or in-person appointments.

Call +61 (0)7 5592 0755
Or book an appointment with one of our registered migration agents.

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