Australian Capital Territory State Sponsorship
Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)
This is a permanent residence points tested visa for skilled independent applicants – not sponsored by a relative or partner or employer – for those whose occupations are on a state’s (not Australia’s) occupation list. Applying for state sponsorship gives you an additional 5 points on the points test but requires a 2 year commitment to that state. States have different application processes. With Australian Capital Territory (ACT), you can proceed right to making your state application upon completion of your EOI submission, quite unlike (for example) New South Wales (NSW) state sponsorship, where you wait for an invitation from the state and then wait yet again for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) invitation to apply.
One less hoop to jump through does not necessarily mean that the wait is shorter than another state’s however, as with every visa, each application is assessed on it’s own merits (or its complexities). Whether to calm your nail-biting nerves (or worsen them) ACT does publish current processing times.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) State Sponsorship
Lets have a look at the ACT occupation list. On it? Good. Now have a look through the points test (or use our points test sheet for easy calculation). You will need to meet a minimum score of 60 to be eligible. Don’t forget that state gives you that extra 5 points, so you really only need 55. You will also need to meet the requirements depending on what visa you are holding if you are already living in Canberra or if you are applying offshore.
As an onshore applicant (you are currently living in Australia), you would have be currently employed by an ACT employer (or hold a genuine offer letter if you are on a visitor visa) and have been living in Canberra for the last three months or more, depending on the visa you are on, and cannot make an application from a different state. Further to this, you cannot have any immediate family members living in a different state. This latter rule applies to overseas applicants as well, with a further condition that neither you nor your immediate family have lived in Canberra in the preceding twelve months of your application. Find these requirements in detail here.
Applying for your visa is like any other. Be clear, be complete and provide your evidence in excess if anything. A decision ready application is always going to get through that bit quicker.
At the moment, offshore applications are closed and will only reopen in July 2016. Applications submitted before 4:00pm on 18 March are still being and will be processed. The occupation ceiling for  Financial Investment Advisor has also been met and no further applications will be accepted for this occupation group.
There is an exception to closed occupations; ACT allows those living in Canberra who meet the requirements to still apply, whilst overseas applicants will need either a genuine offer of employment in their nominated closed occupation, or have a close family member who has lived in Canberra for the last twelve months, are permanent residents or citizens, and are over the age of 18.
Is it any easier for graduates from Australian institutes?
As a graduate from an tertiary institute in Canberra , you will still need to be employed in a skilled occupation. A skilled occupation is one that has been defined by ANZSCO as having a skill level between 1 and 4. The one caveat is that opposed to overseas residents, you are not required to be employed in your nominated occupation, nor does your employment have to be full time. To see what these occupations are, visit the ANZSCO site. Overall this is a very good incentive for international students to consider undertaking their tertiary education in the ACT.
If you are doing a postgraduate course, you will be able to apply for your 190 visa without having completed it. Major score! You will only need to have lived in ACT for six months and either be able to prove that you will receive an allowance for a minimum of three months from your application date or work in a skilled occupation. This occupation does not have to be your nominated one or have to be full time employment. This makes it quite a lot less stressful to apply for your as you will not have to worry about applying for a temporary graduate visa being on your student visa. It is also the only route for onshore applications where you would not have to worry about employment in a skilled occupation so long as you have some financial backing.
As a graduate from a tertiary institute in any other state, you will have to have spent your last six months before your state application in the ACT. You will also need to be working full time for an ACT employer. However it will need to be in your nominated occupation, a criteria much harder to meet than those who have studied in the ACT. Student visa holders with condition 8105 will be able to claim 20 hours of work per week as being full time.
As always, good luck!
We’ll be talking about making a NSW state sponsored visa application in our next release.