Applying for a 190 visa with South Australia

You know the drill, state sponsored 190 visas require:

  • your nominated occupation to be present on the state’s occupation list(s)
  • a suitable skills assessment in that nominated occupation
  • satisfying the state’s eligibility criteria
  • meeting the minimum Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) score of 60 on the points test (inclusive of the 5 extra points you get for state sponsorship) and other base requirements such as a health and character conditions
  • committing to living and working in the state for at least the first 2 years upon your move to Australia should your visa be granted

South Australia (SA), a beautiful and underrated state, has a State Migration Plan that reminds us of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) selection process, where ties to the state are valued, but like New South Wales (NSW, makes a little room for those not on the SA occupation list but are on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) (see lists here). SA also has work experience requirements; a minimum of a year’s skilled work experience. As SA wants your immigration to be as smooth and successful as possible, you must be able to financial support yourself and dependents, if you have any, for a period of time. Whilst no evidence is required, it is the state’s prerogative to ask for it if they deem necessary. Guidelines as to the amount required is available here, and varies depending on the number of applicants and if the application was made onshore or offshore.


SA Occupation List

The SA occupation list isn’t just a list of what’s in demand. SA details their own specifications for each occupation that are listed in the “additional requirements” column. This may be a certain English standard or more work experience. The list also divulges the availability of places in each nominated occupation on its site.

Where capacity has been reached, SA will still consider your application if you meet these requirements. These are the same requirements attached to those who are on the supplementary skilled list (see just below).


Supplementary Skilled List

This list is basically the CSOL but you can only apply if you:

  • Are an international graduate of SA*
  • Worked in a skilled occupation in SA in the last 6 to 12 months
  • Have immediate family members who are PRs or citizens, are over 18 years of age and have lived in SA in the last 12 months
  • Have a high point score of 85, including the 5 achieved through a state sponsorship

* Some benefits we think are really cool apply to those who have completed their tertiary education in SA, which we will cover in a section further through this article.

This supplementary list contains occupations that do not have a massive market in SA and thus there are no availability rankings. SA does impose additional requirements for those who fall under this list as well, so it is important that you check the list on the SA site and not the CSOL on the DIBP site.


Skilled Work Experience

This must be paid employment for at least a year, that has covered 20 or more hours/week and is only considered effective from the date you have completed relevant qualifications. This must be completed in the preceding 3 years of the application. Skilled work experience counts as long as it is on the SA occupation list (not the supplementary list) and does not need to be in your nominated occupation, unless your nominated occupation has additional work experience requirements according to SA’s occupation lists. Depending on if you are an onshore or offshore applicant and how you plan to claim this year of experience, differing conditions apply.


International Graduates from SA

There are definitely advantages to being an international graduate from SA; your eligibility under the supplementary skilled list and to occupations with special conditions (i.e. occupations that have met their quota) is different. You may also be eligible for exemptions or waivers in work experience, financial requirements and English language ability.

You would be applicable to nominate an occupation with special conditions or on the supplementary skilled list so long as you meet the minimum DIBP points score of 60 and:

International Graduates from SA

See map for regions


Work Experience Waiver

This is available to high performing graduates, who are defined as having completed in public universities in SA (Flinders University, University of Adelaide or University of South Australia) within the last two years a PhD or Masters by Research, a Bachelor’s Degree with a GPA of 6.0 and above, a First class honours in a dedicated Honours year or a Masters by Coursework with a GPA of at least 6.0 (the latter two qualifications must be following Bachelor’s Degree must have been completed in SA). Your qualifications must be highly relevant to your nominated occupation.

If your qualifications are from private universities, you will be considered on a case by case basis and must email your academic transcript to to determine if you are still eligible.

As a high performing graduate, you are entitled to work experience waivers if you are residing in SA, your nominated occupation is listed in the high, medium or low availability category and you have:

  • Proficient English, OR
  • Minimum overall score of IELTS 7.5, PTE Academic 73, TOEFL iBT 102 or CAE 191, OR
  • Passport holder and citizen of the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada or Ireland, OR
  • Currently working in a skilled occupation in South Australia (minimum 20 hours/week)

Again, if additional work experience of 2-3 years is required for your nominated occupation, you need to be currently working in that occupation in SA for a minimum of 20 hours/week. These waivers are a provision to international graduates of SA by the state and are not extended for you to achieve a suitable skills assessment, which is an essential visa requirement.


Financial Requirement Waiver

You will be able to claim financial dependence on your parents and will not need to provide evidence of having the financial capacity to fund your living in SA.


English Language Exemption

For high performing graduates and the exemption is effective for all occupation lists, including special conditions occupations. That is a really good deal. Graduates currently working in a skilled occupation in SA (minimum 20 hours/week) are exempt from SA’s English requirements for your nominated occupation. Nonetheless you must still be able to meet the DIBP’s minimum standard of a competent level of English.


Interstate Graduates

Eligibility depends on a number of factors and this table from the SA migration site will help you to determine if you are able to apply if you have studied another Australian state. Overall however it is tough if you are an interstate graduate looking for sponsorship in South Australia.

(taken from the SA migration site)


Our Comments

What about the high flyers studying at TAFE or in any other vocational college in SA? Doesn’t Australia appreciate anyone, including tradespeople who are excellent in their fields? Why are high performing degree graduates the only ones regarded as high flyers?

If SA wants to attract international students and be part of the one of the few industries in Australia that have experienced a significant growth pattern in the last ten years, then make they should make it straight forward for students to understand. Give them access to the 489 visa and the CSOL list without placing extra requirements on them.

It seems to us that SA is trying make themselves like some sort of exclusive club, perhaps even the high flyers club! It is in fact a very un-Australian approach where we believe everyone, not just the high flyers can contribute to South Australia and this country in general.

Adelaide is a very small and somewhat remote part of Australia compared to Sydney. If the government of South Australia wants the international student market to boom in their state, they need to change their approach.