The ACT Migration program for overseas applicants opened again on 12 January 2022. As a part of the migration program, Canberra Matrix for overseas applicants was also made available. This is excellent news for the applicants who have been waiting to migrate to ACT. The first invitation rounds already went on 17 and 31 January. In this article, we decided to explain to you in detail what are the steps which you need to follow to complete your application process if you are interested in applying for the Canberra Matrix.

What is the Canberra Matrix?

Canberra Matrix will identify applicants who have already made or will be making a positive economic contribution to ACT. Also, it will identify applicants who have shown that they are genuinely committed to the Territory. If you are one of these applicants, your application is more likely to be ranked and invited to apply for ACT nomination.

What are the categories you can apply for?

You can select either the ACT 491 nomination or ACT 190 nomination. There is a PhD Streamlined nomination pathway as well. You can be an onshore applicant or an offshore applicant. In this article, we will focus on the process for offshore applicants.

How does the Canberra Matrix work?

You can express an interest in applying for ACT nomination by completing a point-based ‘Canberra Matrix’. Before you submit or consider the Matrix, it is important to closely read the ACT nominations’ eligibility criteria. Specific criteria include skilled employment, English proficiency, formal qualifications, length of ACT residence/study, investment activity and close family ties, which we have explained below in more detail for you.

What are Canberra Matrix Nomination pathways and eligibility criteria for offshore applicants?

If you are living overseas, then you could apply for an ACT nomination for a Skilled Regional Work Visa (subclass 491) or Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190). You must meet specific eligibility criteria when you submit the Canberra Matrix. Most of the criteria are common in both pathways; however, there are also a few different criteria.

Subclass 491 nomination specific eligibility criteria: 

  1. You need to have a nominated occupation to work full-time on the latest ACT Critical Skills list.
  2. You need to have at least three years of full-time post-graduate work experience in your nominated occupations. Your work experience must be assessed by the relevant assessing body. Also, your work experience and skills must be relevant to the ACT economy. Moreover, you need to have relevant Australian registration or licensing for your nominated occupation if required.
  3. You must do research about the ACT Labor market. This is for you to find out if you will have work in the ACT to use your skills and experience to add value to the ACT economy. Also, you must attach an employment statement explaining the research undertaken and that you can work in Canberra.

Subclass 190 nomination specific eligibility criteria: 

  1. Like the 491 nominations, you need to have a nominated occupation to work full-time, which is on the latest ACT Critical Skills list. You need to have relevant Australian registration or licensing for your nominated occupation if required.
  2. You need to have a job offer for a full-time job in the nominated occupation in Canberra for two years. Your employer also needs to be a medium to large Australian enterprise operating in Canberra. Your job cannot be online, serviced office or a home base work. Your position must be genuine to have an overseas skilled worker and a local employee cannot do your work allocated to your position.
  3. There are steps that your employer also needs to follow. In a statutory declaration, your employer needs to disclose several specific information. The employer needs to say that you will be employed in a genuine position relevant to the business’s operation where you will be working full-time for a minimum of two years. Furthermore, the employer has already found that an Australian Citizen or a permanent resident cannot fill the position.

Common eligibility criteria for both subclass 491 and 190 nomination pathways

  1. You need to have either proficient or superior English scores to be eligible. For both pathways, you need to meet the English requirements. Or else, if you are a passport holder from the United Kingdom, America, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland, you do not have to complete the English requirement.
  2. If you have an option to claim points for your spouse or partner, you can also explore that. If so then, you must have proof of your relationship. This can be either a marriage certificate or a civil partnership/union certificate. Unfortunately, you cannot claim points if you are in a de facto relationship. Furthermore, if you can claim points for your spouse or partners employment, they also need to meet the competent English requirement.
  3. Since you are an overseas resident, you, and your migrating dependent need to provide evidence to prove your overseas residency. You need to provide that at the time of the application, you are living overseas, have not lived in Australia for the past 12 months, and do not have a current Australia visa or any bridging visas, except a visitor’s visa.
  4. It is important that you need to have a commitment to Canberra for both pathways. Before starting the application process, you must do your research about Canberra and its lifestyle. After that, based on your research, you need to write a statement explaining your future lifestyle in Canberra. Also, you need to sign a declaration that says that you will be living and working in Canberra for at least two years from the date you come to Australia.
  5. You also need to have your funds ready to migrate to settle in Canberra, including $300 of the service fee.
  6. Most Importantly, you need to have relevant supporting documents as evidence for all these criteria.

There is also a PhD Streamline nomination pathway for overseas applicants

For your overseas application, you can apply for ACT PHD streamlined nomination if you were awarded a professional or research doctoral degree from an ACT university within the last two years.

These are the three main nomination pathways you have. If you meet the eligibility criteria, the next step is to submit your applications through Canberra Matrix. The point system in the Canberra Matrix has a maximum of 185 points. There are 11 categories in which you can claim the points. To be successful in your application, you must meet the category criteria when you submit the Matrix. Also, you need to have supported documents to prove the points you claimed.

What are specific criteria in the Canberra Matrix?

  1. Were you a previous ACT resident, or did you spend time in the ACT in the last 8 years?
    • It is important to understand how long you lived in the ACT. If you have lived in ACT for more than five years, you will get 20 points. You could get 15 points if you lived between 3 to 5 years, or you could get 10 points if you lived between 1 to 3 years. Let’s say that you visited Canberra for an entire week, including weekends. Then you can claim 5 points, but you must have stayed in Canberra for at least seven consecutive nights. If you are claiming these points, you need to have bank statements between the arrival date and the time duration you said you lived in Canberra.
  2. Nominated occupation
    • If you have a nominated occupation under the ACT critical skills list, you could claim 20 points.
  3. English Proficiency
    • As with any other immigration pathway, you must meet your English requirements. The requirements are the same as what you can find on the Home Affairs website. You could only claim points for superior English, 15 points, and proficient English, 10 points.
  4. Your spouse or partner’s English Proficiency
    • If your spouse or partner meets superior or proficient English requirements, you could also claim 5 points. Importantly, you need to have proof of your relationship.
  5. ACT job offer
    • If you have a genuine ACT Job offer in your nominated occupation, you could claim 20 points. Again, things to remember: the job offer needs to be at least two years and meet other requirements.
  6. Relevant work experience on your nominated occupation
    • You could claim points based on your work experience in your nominated occupation. The more experience you have, the more points you could claim, such as 20 points for 8 to 10 years, 10 points for 5 to 8 years, 5 points for 3 to 5 years. Please remember some industrial experiences will not be considered in the Canberra Matrix. Some examples are Heavy Industry, Manufacturing, Production, Mining, Shipping, Gas and Oil, Head office banking and Railways. Furthermore, if applicable, you may need a current skill assessment with the work experience dates. If you have work experience, it is important to record your work experience on the Skillselect EOI.
  7. Spouse or Partner employability
    • If your spouse or partner is working now, you could claim from 5 to 15 points if they meet the requirements. For you to claim the points, they must have worked full-time for at least 6 months within the last 12 months. They also need to meet competent English requirements unless they are Australian passport holders, then they do not have to complete the English requirement.
  8. Tertiary qualifications
    • You will have a different level of points for different studies. Such as, if you have a PHD, you could claim 20 points, and for your Master’s degree, it is 15 points. For a Bachelor’s degree or trade certificate, if you have done at least three years of full-time continuous studies, then you could claim 10 points. Also, if you have done at least two years of full-time continuous diploma qualifications, you could claim 5 points. You could also claim points for your tertiary qualifications from Australia or your overseas studies.
  9. Study at an ACT Tertiary qualification
    • If you have done your tertiary qualifications in ACT, or you may have completed your professional year, then that’s even better. For example, if you have Studied for 4 or more academic years, you could claim 20 points. Same as that for 3 years 15 points, for two years 10 points and one year 5 points. If you are claiming these points, you need to provide specific documents to prove your studies.
  10. Close family ties
    • Suppose you have a close family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident who has lived in Canberra for the last two years. In that case, you could claim 20 points. If your family member was on a temporary resident visa, you could claim 5 points. If you are claiming these points, then your family member needs to be either your spouse or partner, child, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle to claim these points. Also, if you had your grandparents or your partner’s grandparents, you could also claim the points.
  11. Assets in Canberra
    • Suppose you have made personal cash investments to purchase a residential or commercial property in Canberra. In that case, you could claim 10 points. However, please remember that purchasing land will not be enough. You will need to have the certificate of title or rates notices to prove ownership. Also, if you are the majority owner (at least 51%) of a business in Canberra in the past six months, you could claim 10 points.

These are the 11 category criteria to claim your points for Canberra Matrix. As mentioned above, the ACT Government website is very user-friendly. It will be easy for you to identify how many points you are eligible for and follow the guidelines given to submit the Matrix.

Australian Capital Territory is a beautiful place with many opportunities. Suppose you believe that you can apply for the Canberra Matrix from overseas. In that case, it is important to start your application processes earlier because ACT nominations can exceed the allocated nominations because of the higher demand. At times, your score may not be ranked even if you are eligible.

Are you interested in applying for the Canberra matrix from overseas? Speak to us here at Australian Immigration Law Services.

If you need advice, we offer Skype, Zoom and phone consultations. Call +(02) 8054 2537 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.