The Government’s points test changes from 16 November 2016 could mean migrants will be able to claim extra points to qualify for Australia’s independent skilled visas. Details of the revised points allocations were released under the Migration Amendment (New Regional Skilled Visas) Regulations 2019, as part of the Government’s review of Australia’s Regional Skilled Visas.
The explanatory statement by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs states, “The amendments introduce a revised points system for the Subclass 491 Visa, as well as existing General Skilled Migration visas. Points are awarded for attributes that are linked with the applicant’s ability to make the greatest contribution, as the key purpose of the skilled migration program is to maximise the economic benefits of migration to Australia.”
To qualify for an invitation by the Government to apply for Australia’s points-tested visas, migrants need to be skilled and qualified in an occupation on a relevant Skilled Occupation List. The process requires migrants to accumulate a set number of points, known as the ‘pass-mark’ for their particular occupation. Points are accumulated based on their ability to meet various skills, age, experience and English language requirements, amongst other criteria.
Points Test Changes
Under the points test changes, applicants may receive more points for:
- Having a spouse or de-facto partner who can meet the skills requirements (10 points);
- Being nominated by a State or Territory Government agency to live and work in regional Australia (15 points);
- Being sponsored by a family member living in regional Australia (15 points);
- And having a specialist education qualification (10 points).
New categories will also be introduced for applicants to receive points for:
- Applying with a dependent spouse or de-facto partner who has competent English and is not an Australian permanent resident or citizen (5 points);
- Applying independently without a spouse or de-facto partner or with an Australian citizen or permanent resident partner (10 points);
The Government has also advised it will prioritise the way it issues invitations for points-tested visas in the following order:
- Primary applicants (with or without a skilled spouse or de-facto partner).
- Primary applicants with a spouse or de-facto partner with competent English, but who does not meet age and skills requirements for skilled partner points.
- Primary applicants with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points. These applicants will be ranked below other applicants with the same number of points.
Interstaff’s Insights | Points Test Changes
The points test changes will particularly benefit applicants wanting to work in regional areas, with 15 points becoming available for this category. It will also benefit singles and those with a skilled partner.
The ability to claim more points may make permanent residence more accessible through General Skilled Migration and the upcoming Subclass 491 Regional Visa. Skilled applicants can apply for permanent residence directly through General Skilled Migration, or after 3 years on a provisional Subclass 491 Regional Visa. Businesses may also benefit, as eligible employees may be able to qualify for extra points to access permanent residence through these visas. These visas do not require employer sponsorship, saving businesses National Training Contribution Charge payments of up to $5,000 per employee.
Business Migration | Strategic Thinking
The points test changes will allow skilled migrants to accumulate more points to qualify for an invitation. However, to be invited by the Government, migrants will still need to compete with others who have lodged an Expression of Interest for their occupation. It is therefore important for migrants to claim the maximum number of points available to them. This is particularly the case for migrants with a partner that does not have the skills or English competency to claim points, as they will be de-prioritised under the points test changes.
The process to correctly claim points can be complex. Migrants must also be able to validate claimed points with substantial levels of supporting evidence. Our team of Registered Migration Agents can assist with identifying how you may be able to maximise your points. We also assist businesses to develop policies to plan and provide permanent residence options for employees. Simply contact us on 08 9221 3388 or [email protected]