Last updated on October 5th, 2019
If you are looking to migrate to Australia as a skilled migrant, you must be well-versed with the skilled visa points system. All three types of skilled visa, i.e. Skilled Independent (189), Skilled Nominated (190) and Skilled Regional (489) require that you score pass mark to be invited to lodge the visa application.
What Is The Points system?
Australia attracts a lot of talent from all over the world due to various factors. Hence, DIBP has laid out certain parameters for people to qualify their entry to Australia. Consider the skilled visa points system as a funnel which allows people with desired skills to pass through to the next stage in the immigration process.
There are broadly six pillars of the Points system:
Australia favours young talent when it comes to visa. If you are in your late forties and thinking of immigrating to Australia, you are going to lose almost all points in this regard. Of course, there are other avenues to gain points to satisfy the minimum score but this is one of the major constituents of the total points. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to do anything to gain points here.
|Age (in years)||Points|
|18 – 24||25|
|25 – 32||30|
|33 – 39||25|
|40 – 44||15|
|45 and above|
Verdict: The Younger, the Better!
Australia is primarily an English-speaking country (though some of it may not sound familiar to you), which is the reason for these criteria. If you can’t communicate well in English, life won’t be easy for you in Australia. As a skilled migrant, if you can’t converse in English, you can face some struggle in your job search.
Your English proficiency is determined by your score in an either one of four international English tests which are IELTS, PTE-A, TOEFL iBT, OET, and CAE. Depending on which exam you choose, you may have to score different grades to gain points towards English proficiency. Here’s how many points you get depending on your English ability:
Here is how the score in various exams translates to either Competent, Proficient or Superior level in skilled visa requirement:
|English Ability||IELTS||PTE-A||TOEFL iBT||OET||CAE|
|Competent||6 in each module||50 in each module||Listening – 12, Reading – 13, Writing – 21, Speaking – 18||B in each module||169 in each module|
|Proficient||7 in each module||65 in each module||Listening – 24, Reading – 24, Writing – 27, Speaking – 23||B in each module||185 in each module|
|Superior||8 or above in each module||79 or above in each module||Listening – 28, Reading – 29, Writing – 30, Speaking – 26||A in each module||200 in each module|
Verdict: The Higher, the Better!
If you hold the relevant qualification which is recognized by an assessing authority, you can score some points in this area. Two important keywords here are – relevant and recognized. The qualification that you submit for assessment must be relevant to the skilled occupation you are applying under. As an example, if you are applying as a software engineer (261313) and shown an MBA in Finance as your highest qualification, it may not help you much towards gaining points for the visa.
Secondly, the institute from which you got your degree/diploma must be of a recognized standard. What this means is that your course contents must be on par with that of an equivalent Australian course. To prove this, you will have to submit both, your scorecard as well as the list of course subjects to the assessing authority.
|Any other recognized qualification||10|
Verdict: The Higher, the Better!
You can claim certain points for your skilled employment, provided you submit supporting proofs. Important thing is that your job must be closely related to the skilled occupation you are applying under. You can claim points for either employment in Australia or outside of Australia or both, but the maximum you can claim is 20 points.
Another important thing to note is that assessing authority usually reduces your skilled employment by a certain number of years (usually two years) as a time required for you to become a skilled professional. This reduction can be more if your qualification and field of employment don’t closely match.
|Employment (out of past 10 years)||Points|
|Less than 3|
|3 – 4||5|
|5 – 7||10|
|8 and above||15|
|Less than 1|
|1 – 2||5|
|3 – 4||10|
|5 – 7||15|
|8 and above||20|
Verdict: The More, The Better (especially if you had Australian employment)
If you have studied in Australia and awarded any qualification by the Australian Institute, you can claim an additional 5 points.
Verdict: If yes, Great!
If despite all of the above, you still can’t satisfy the minimum score, don’t be disheartened. There may still be hope for you especially if you are falling short by 5 or 10 points only. Two common avenues are the state nomination and partner skills assessment. If you can get state nomination, you can claim an additional 5 points (10 points for regional visa). Please note that state nomination may have its own criteria with respect to English competency, qualifications and experience.
Similarly, if you can get your partner skills assessed, you can claim an additional 5 points (10 points after 16th November 2019) though this is a much longer router since your partner has to undergo an English test as well as a skills assessment.
Please note that according to the new rules, after 16th November 2019, you can get also get 5 extra points for a spouse who can show a competent level of English. Also, you will get 10 extra points if you do not have a spouse. It’s great time for the unmarried people! 🙂
Verdict: Look for these only if you fall short by a small margin
What is the minimum score?
Currently, you need to score a minimum of 60 points if you are to be invited to apply for the skilled visa. Please note that this is a bare minimum score and does not guarantee an invitation. In general, if you score higher, your chances of getting invited are higher (and earlier), though it depends on the nominated occupation too. You can use any of the online Points calculators to see if you satisfy minimum score, such as the one here.
Another thing to remember is that your points can change after you lodge the EOI. This means that certain factors such as age or work experience can change the points based on when you receive an invite. In case of age, your points might be reduced as you no longer fall in the bracket when you filed EOI.
Still don’t have enough points?
Sometimes despite all of the above, you may not get the required minimum score. In these cases, you still have few options.
- Improve your English proficiency score to get an additional 10 points. As PTE is accepted as a language test, you can attempt it to improve your score if you like, instead of IELTS.
- Get state or regional nomination. If you get a state nomination, you can get an extra 5 points or whereas regional nomination can give you an extra 5 points. Please note that after 16th November 2019, according to the new rules, you will get 15 points for regional nomination.
- Get partner skills assessed. You can claim 5 points for partner skills. Please note that after 16th November 2019, according to the new rules, you will receive 10 points for a skilled partner. This is applicable for subclass 189, 190, 489 and 491.
- Study in Australia (especially in a regional area). You can get an extra 5 points if you study in Australia.
- Get NAATI accreditation as a translator/interpreter. You can claim an extra 5 points for this.
- Opt for non-skilled visas such as the employer-sponsored visa or business visa
I hope I have given you a concise view of points system for the skilled visa. What were your experiences to claim minimum points?
Moving To Australia Series
- Moving To Australia – The Idea
- 10 Reasons Why I Chose Australia
- Which Work Visa Is Right For You?
- Should I Go With Migration Agent?
- Introduction To Skilled Visa Points System
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 1
- How To Prepare For Skills Assessment – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 1
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 2
- How To Clear IELTS In First Attempt – Part 3
- EOI – Express Your Desire To Migrate
- Getting Visa Invitation
- Lodging Visa Application And Making Visa Payment
- Getting Evidence of Functional English
- Undergoing Health Examination – The Whole Story
- Getting Indian PCC And The Road Ahead