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The Three-Stage-Process to Migrate to Australia

Migrating to Australia most often than not stems out from the desire of living in a place where there’s good weather, more sunshine and a promise of a work–life balance where one actually lives to work and not the other way around. In short, Australia seems to be the answer to those seeking for a better quality of life.

Extensive research about Australia on ways to get there comes next after the initial thought of moving. This is the part where you can get more excited with the new life possibilities and at the same time you could find a bit overwhelmed with too much information which eventually makes you doubtful as to which steps to take to properly get there.

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) Programme is the most common pathway to migrate to Australia. Its purpose is to attract skilled people to fill in the skills shortage in Australia.

To check your eligibility for a visa under the GSM Programme, you need to do a preliminary assessment to check if you meet the basic requirements. Before applying for a skilled visa, you must be:

  • Under 50 years of age.

  • Nominated occupation must be found on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or Consolidated Occupation List (CSOL).

  • Have at least a competent level of English language skills.

  • Potentially would meet the requirements set out by the assessing body conducting the skills occupation for the nominated occupation.

  • Score at least 60 points overall (including points acquire from 190 or 489 visa subclasses if applicable).

  • Of good health and character.

Ticking all these requirements is a prompt to get your whole visa application process underway. Though the preliminary assessment seems to be straightforward, it isn’t a walk in the park when things come into action. The process involves a whole lot of time, work, patience and understanding before you can get to the final destination - Australia. In fact, when applying for a visa through GSM programme, it is safe to allocate approximately a year (more or less) to get the visa granted as it involves a rigorous three-stage process which starts from skills assessment, then Expression of Interest (EOI), and finally the actual visa application.

Skills Assessment

Applying for a Points Tested Skilled Migration visa requires evidence that the skills related to your nominated occupation has been assessed to be equivalent to the Australian standards. This is done through skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority.

There are 37 assessing authorities involved with skills assessment for migration purposes and these are provided in the SOL and CSOL lists for each and every occupation. The assessment procedures, timeframes and fees vary for each assessing authority. Most would require a formal qualification such as a university degree or trade qualification along with relevant work experience related to the nominated occupation. However, there are some assessing bodies which may accept substantial relevant work experience to equate a formal qualification.

You should make sure that you clearly understand the entire skills assessment process of the relevant assessing authority as a negative outcome on your application would make you ineligible for a skilled visa.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

Under the GSM Programme, there are 3 skilled visas which skilled people from overseas could apply for. These are:

  1. Skilled Independent Subclass 189 – a permanent visa which does not require sponsorship by a relative or state/territory government.

  2. Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 – a permanent visa which requires nomination by an Australian state or territory government.

  3. Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489 – a provisional visa allowing holders to live only in regional areas of Australia and must be sponsored by an Australian relative living in the regional area.

Having determined your visa option together with a successful skills assessment application and achieving the pass mark on the points test for skilled migration mean your EOI can now be lodged through SkillSelect.

When your EOI is submitted and completed, your application is kept in SkillSelect for a maximum time of two years. SkillSelect will automatically calculate your points and determines your visa eligibility.

The invitation and selection process would depend on the type of of your visa application. For Independent and Skilled Regional (Provisional) visas, SkillSelect issues invitations automatically. The highest ranking EOI’s, subject to occupation ceilings, get prioritised and invitations are issued on a regular basis, usually twice a month.

For state and territory sponsored visas, you have to be nominated by the state or territory government first and then invited to apply for a visa by the SkillSelect system.

The invitation from SkillSelect indicates that you may now proceed to the final stage which is the visa application. There is a 60-day window period from the date of invitation to lodge a valid visa application.

Whilst no invitation has been issued for your application, your EOI remains valid in SkillSelect for two years. In the interim, your details can be updated to indicate additional qualifications or work experience gained during this time.

Visa Application

You will be eligible to apply for a visa once an invitation is issued by SkillSelect. Remember that your application must be consistent with the claims provided in the EOI and must be

supported with the necessary documents when you lodge it.

The following must also be provided during the visa application stage:

  • Health requirements

  • Character requirement

  • No outstanding debts to the Australian government or have arranged repayments of the outstanding debts before the grant of visa

  • Biometrics if applicable

  • Sign the Australian Values Statement

You may also include the partner, children or other dependent relatives at time of visa lodgement.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) allocates visa processing time for each type of visa applied. Expect that decisions are finalised within the provided timeframe and once the visa is granted, DIBP will advice as to the latest date the visa can be activated.

In the case your visa application is denied, DIBP will provide grounds for the decision and will advice you of your possible review rights.

Know the Facts

The three-stage visa application process as enumerated above definitely serves as valuable information for you to have to ease up the already complex and most of the time confusing process. As explained, it is not a simple procedure since things are not straightforward as everyone would hope for and these are definitely not overnight tasks to do. You need a lot of time to allocate for each stage especially if it is a do-it-yourself application. The stages discussed only provides the framework since within these stages, there are more details to research about as well as more information to know and understand. Whether you wish to go through the immigration journey to Australia on your own or prefer to be assisted by a Registered Migration Agent, it is very important to know the facts and understand the process. It is always so much better to make sure to start things right the first time in order for you to save time, effort and money in the long run.


Australian immigration rules can be complex and requires time and research to assess your individual circumstance. Hence, you will get the most benefit from seeking guidance to check your visa eligibility and consulting with a Registered Migration Agent for a free full assessment of your situation in order to find out which visa pathways could apply for your case.

Visa Consort can definitely be of assistance. Visit our webite to get your free visa eligibility test. You may also call us on +44 20 3652 2845 or email to book a free consultation.

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