The Department of Home Affairs has announced the pass mark has increased from 60 points to 65 points to become eligible for a visa under the General Skilled Migration program. This change came into effect on 1 July.
The change in the pass mark demonstrates a further narrowing of Australia’s permanent skilled migration program following the restrictions introduced to employer-sponsored permanent migration pathways in 2017. As per our fact sheet, we have also noticed that invitations issued for Subclass 189 Skilled Visas have declined since July 2017 and only one invitation round occurred in June in contrast with previous months.
How General Skilled Migration is used by businesses and skilled migrants
- General Skilled Migration is the largest component of Australia’s skilled program with 67,857 places or 54.9% of Australia’s 2016-17 skilled visa streams. It is comprised of the Subclass 189, 190 and 489 Visas, with Subclass 189 and 190 Visas providing permanent residence.
- Visas under the General Skilled Migration program do not require employer sponsorship or payment into the Skilling Australians (SAF) Levy and can therefore provide businesses a more cost effective and potentially quicker permanent residence option for their employees in addition to the commonly used Subclass 186 and 187 employer-sponsored permanent residence visas.
- Applications for General Skilled Migration are by invitation-only. After submitting an Expression of Interest, individuals must be invited by the Government before lodging an application.
- General Skilled Migration uses a points-based system to select skilled migrants for an invitation. Individuals need to accumulate points across a number of categories including age, English language capability, work experience, skills and qualifications in an occupation listed on Australia’s Skilled Occupation Lists.
How the change in the pass mark impacts businesses & applicants
To be considered for an invitation for General Skilled Migration after 1 July, individuals will need to meet the new pass mark of 65 points. Applicants who received an invitation prior to 1 July and lodged their application within the validity period of the invitation will not be impacted.
New applicants now need to meet a higher standard across points-tested categories to become eligible. It therefore becomes more important for applicants to ensure they claim the maximum number of points for their English, work experience, skills and qualifications.
We have noticed the Government is becoming increasingly selective of applicants with invitations only being issued to those who have 70 points or more depending on the occupation. View our fact sheet which shows that the Department only issued invitations to applicants with over 75 points in June.
It appears the announcement of the increased pass mark is a formalisation of the Government’s practice of issuing invites to applicants with 70 points or more since December 2017, in contrast to the previous year when applicants were invited at a lower score of 60 points.
It also suggests that while the pass mark has increased from 60 to 65 points, applicants may need to achieve an even higher number of points to receive an invitation.
As competition to receive an invitation for General Skilled Migration becomes more intense, we recommend applicants consider undertaking an English test to boost their points. It is also important to ensure you are claiming the maximum number of points for your work experience, skills and qualifications.
This is especially the case for applicants over the age of 39, where a reduction of 10 points in the age category can occur, or for international students who have recently graduated and may not be in a position to claim extra points for relevant work experience.
The process to correctly claim points can be complex and you must also be able to validate the points you claim with substantial levels of supporting evidence.
If you have any questions on how the changes impact your business or for professional assistance with your General Skilled Migration application, including identifying how you may be able to maximise your points, we encourage you to contact our registered migration agents on +61 8 9221 3388 (or National Free Call 1800 449 858) or [email protected]