There is a lot in motion at the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA), with many changes to visas underway and some very exciting changes to the points test as well!

Taking affect from 16 November 2019, we will bid the Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489)and Direct Entry stream Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187) adieu and welcome new (replacement) regional visas:

  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494)
  • Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 491)

Read: Introducing The New Regional Provisional 491, 494 Visas And The New 191 PR visa

As we are your best resource for all things related to immigration and its legislation, do follow us on Facebook to always stay updated! We will soon release more information on the new regional visas listed above.

What we would like to focus on for this article are the upcoming changes to the points test.

Introduction to the points test

The points test is a system through which the DOHA assesses visa applicants for their suitability for migration into Australia. As Australia imposes a limit to the number of immigrants that they will take in each year, they wish to choose from the very best skilled applicants available. The points test factors in a number of different criteria for which an applicant may be valued as an immigrant into Australia, such as their age (which affect their term as a working member of the labour force), their English Language proficiency, level of qualifications, if they are bringing in a partner who is also skilled, if they have studied in Australia before (and theoretically would be more adaptable to Australia) and so forth.

Currently, these are the main categories under which one is assessed for points:

  • Age
  • English language ability
  • Skilled employment
  • Qualifications
  • Australian study
  • Specialist education qualification
  • Nomination (by state or relative) – only eligible for specific visas
  • Other:
    • Community language qualifications
    • Study in regional Australia or low population growth metropolitan area
    • Partner’s skill qualifications
    • Professional year of study (PYP) in Australia

We have already written a great number of helpful articles surrounding achieving points on the test.

Read: Points Test

Read: Skill Assessment: Important Advice On Your Occupation

Read: Need More Points? Tips on Claiming Work Experience for Your 189, 190, 489 Visa

Read: 189, 190 And 489 Visas: Calculating Skilled Employment Points

Read: 189, 190 And 489 Visas: Australian Work And Study Points – Did You Hold The Right Visa And Comply With Your Conditions?

Read: Need More Points? Bilingual? NAATI May Be Your Answer

Read: More on the Australian Study Requirement

Read: English Tests

Read: Professional Year Programme

More points!

  • The new points system increases the points on certain factors:
  • 15 points (+5) for nomination by State or Territory government or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia
  • 10 points (+5) for STEM qualifications
  • 10 points (+5) for partner’s skilled qualifications or just no partner at all!

New on the list!

  • 10 points for not having a spouse or de facto partner (take note that DOHA plans these points will be allocated time of decision not time of invitation as it is now for partner points so if are single at time of invitation and then you get married before the visa is granted then you may loose your 10 points)
  • 10 points if you have a partner who is an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • 10 points for having a spouse or de facto partner who has skill assessment and Competent English on the same occupation list as you*
  • 5 points for applicants with a spouse of de facto partner who has competent English*

You can either claim the full 10 points for having a skilled spouse or de facto partner or 5 points for having a spouse or de facto partner with competent English, but not both.

It is necessary to demonstrate competent English language proficiency of a partner through an approved English language test.

Here’s how the points test will look compared to the current. This image is marked so you can see what the changes are, but underneath that you will find a link to a brand new points test list!

We have created a wonderful new  GSM Points Test for your easy download and use.

Also of note, invitations will go out based on the following priority:

  1. Applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner as well as applicants without a spouse or de facto partner
  2. Applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English but does not have the skilled to obtain skilled partner
  3. Applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who is not eligible for either competent English or skilled partner points

In regards to the above order, higher points come first. You should always strive for the highest points possible on your application. Please do not omit claiming points based on the order as this order only applies to those who are of the same points level.

Do not worry if you already have an expression of interest (EOI) in the system! Come 16 November, if you have claimed points on the factors that have received an increase in points, this will be automatically updated in your application.

These are great changes that will help a large number of people in their meeting the required points.

Regional focus

Notice that there are a number of changes happening to regional visas and that under the new points test system, those sponsored be a state or territory or through family to live and work in regional Australia will now receive a huge 15 points (that’s over 23% of the points you need)?

We can see through this that there is a lot of encouragement through visa incentives by the DOHA for labour to be bolstered in regional areas.

The Department of Home Affairs states that the benefits under these new visas include:

  • Priority processing of regional applications
  • Incentives for migrants to stay in regional areas longer term as they build ties through workforce and community participation
  • Can apply for permanent residence without a second nomination stage, if eligible, through the subclass 191 visa (commences 16 November 2022)
  • Lower cost to employers with only one SAF levy stage for the subclass 494 nomination (compared to the two stages for the current subclass 482 to ENS subclass 186 permanent resident pathway)
  • More points available to subclass 491 visa applicants
  • Broader range of occupations available than non-regional pathways
  • Expanded and consistent classification of regional areas

Whether you are looking forward to the changes in the points test and need help getting your application together, or what to understand more on the new visas (or the abolishment of visas) on 16 November 2019 and how all these changes would affect your, Australian Immigration Law Services will answer all your questions. Having been in service for over two decades and with specialists who have expansive experience in the field, we are able to provide services that accurate and high quality. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.