How To Get Skilled Visa Australia: Quick Guide

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“How to get skilled visa Australia” – it’s probably one of the most commonly Googled search terms over the past few years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Australian immigration laws and processes change over time, so if you asked “how to get skilled visa Australia” three or four years ago, the response would be a little different now. 

That said, the basic steps you need to take in order to determine eligibility and prepare your application for an Australian work visa are more or less the same. When it comes to migration law, it’s the detail that could take your application from the ‘consideration’ to the ‘approved’ pile. That’s why choosing an approved immigration lawyer to help you with your application, for the thousands of permanent residency (PR) hopefuls we advise every year, is money well spent.

We’ve broken down the complex process skilled workers must go through in order to apply for a skilled migrant visa. So if you’re considering visa subclasses 189, 190, or 489, this quick guide will get you on the pathway to successful application. To get started right away, check whether you could be eligible to apply: take our skilled visa points check.   


How To Get Skilled Visa Australia: getting 189, 190, 489 visas

Types of skilled migrant visa

Visa subclass 189

This permanent residency (PR) visa allows workers with the required skills to live and work anywhere in the country. You do not need to be sponsored or nominated.

Visa subclass 190

This PR visa allows workers with the required skills to live and work anywhere in the country.

Visa subclass 489

This is a temporary visa. It is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia.

How to get skilled visa Australia: 6 step process

1. Find out if you’re eligible

Since March 2018, the 457 visa was replaced with the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. Applicants for a TSS visa must be under 45 years of age, of good character (demonstrated via a police check) and in good health (demonstrated via a medical examination).

You must demonstrate proficiency in the English language and sufficient skills and experience in the job category for which you are applying. This will be established via a skills assessment.

Lastly, your job category must have been identified by the Australian government as insufficiently resourced by Australian workers on either the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) (relevant to visa subclass 189 applicants) or the Consolidated Sponsor Occupation List (CSOL) (for visa subclass 190 applicants). These lists change frequently, so it’s important to check that you’re eligible before applying.

2. Get some advice

One of the first things you need to know about how to get skilled visa Australia, is that it can be a long and winding road with many twists and turns, costs and potential disappointments.

To improve your chances of getting a positive result, and to relieve some of the stress that comes with such a complex and life-changing process, it’s a good idea to seek expert advice, either from an immigration lawyer or general skilled migration agent.

Steps 3, 4 and 5 determine the number of points your visa application is worth according to the skilled visa points test. If this number meets or exceeds the minimum number of points you need to apply, you’re in a strong position to get started.

3. Gather your documentation

When applying for skilled migration Australian visas, lots of documents are required to prove your eligibility. It’s worth bearing in mind from the beginning of your visa application process that originals will need to be reproduced in colour; black and white photocopies generally won’t be good enough.

The sort of documentation you could be required to submit includes:

  • Birth certificate
  • Bank statements
  • Passport and driving license
  • Academic certificates
  • Detailed statements of work
  • Employment contracts

4. Get your skills assessed

To prove to the Australian government that you are a skilled worker, your skills will need to be assessed by the relevant assessing authority. The body conducting your skills assessment will vary depending on your nominated occupation. For example, IT professions are assessed by the Australian Computer Society, teachers by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, and trades and other blue collar workers by the Trades Recognition Australia website.

A large number of professions are covered by the Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS), so it’s worth also checking the VETASSESS website

Be aware that the applicant must pay the skills assessment fee, which is approximately 650 AUD.

5. Take your English exam

Even if your home country is English speaking, like the UK or Canada, you are required to take an English language test. There are two main providers of this test, IELTS and PTE.

IELTS is the leading provider of English language tests for migration, work and study purposes. PTE delivers a similar exam to IELTS but differs in one major respect: it is marked by an algorithm, not a human examiner.

As with the skills assessment, you will have to pay for the English language test. If you do not get the required score for your visa application on the first attempt, you can rebook as many tests as they want – as long as you’re prepared to pay the examination cost each time.

6. Submit your application

If you’ve successfully worked your way through the first five steps, you now need to prepare and submit your application. If applying for the 190 sponsored visa, this will need to be approved by the nominating state or territory government before you can submit at a federal level.

Don’t expect the visa application process to be a short one. We’ve said it before: the Australian skilled migrant visa program is undeniably complex and it can take a very long time to get a result. The specialist attorneys at Owen Hodge Lawyers would be happy to help you with the process. Please call us to schedule a consultation at 1 800 770 780.

Here at Owen Hodge Lawyers we are always striving to deliver the immigration guidance you need. Read our FAQs about immigration law, find out more about the immigration process, and read the latest news on the Owen Hodge Blog, including our recent post regarding changes for 457 visa holders. For hopeful migrants interested in business law services, our team is experienced in a range of commercial matters and looks forward to assisting you further.  

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