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Your Guide to State Nominated Migration in Australia


Throughout this session, we will explore the various facets of this program and how it can be your pathway to a new life in Australia.

Understanding State Nomination

The State Nominated Migration Program, also known as state sponsorship, serves as a pivotal bridge that connects skilled workers with specific regions in Australia. This program aims to address the unique economic and labour needs of different states and territories while providing opportunities for skilled professionals to live and work in Australia.

Australia offers three visa subclasses for General Skilled Migration (GSM): 189, 190, and 491. The suitability of your nominated occupation and current location will determine which subclass you can apply for.

  • If your occupation is on the Medium or Long-Term Skills List (MLTSSL), you can apply for all three subclasses.

  • If your occupation is on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), you can only apply for the 190 or 491 subclass.

  • Certain occupations (on ROL) are exclusively available for the 491 subclass.

Visa Subclasses: 190 and 491

The 190 visa is a GSM visa that allows you and your family to become permanent residents of Australia. To qualify, you must commit to residing in the state or territory that nominates you for at least two years.

The 491 visa, on the other hand, is provisional, leading to permanent residency upon meeting certain conditions. Holders of this visa must live, work, or study in a regional area, with Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane excluded from this category. After residing in a regional area for at least three years, you can apply for permanent residency.

Benefits of State Sponsorship

State sponsorship is akin to receiving a special invitation from an Australian state or region to live and work there. The advantages include:

  1. Extra Points: You earn additional points, making it easier to secure an invitation. Subclass 190 provides an extra 5 points, while SC 491 grants a generous 15 points.

  2. Faster Processing: State sponsorship expedites the visa application process, particularly for the 491 subclass.

  3. Eligibility Assessment: State bodies review your documents, verify your points on the Expression of Interest (EOI), and assess your eligibility. Although approval doesn't guarantee a visa, it significantly reduces the risk of refusal.

  4. Affordable Application Fees: In many states, applying for state sponsorship is cost-effective, and in some, like Western Australia, it's even free.

  5. Settlement Support: States often provide assistance with settling in, including finding housing and employment after visa approval.

  6. Medicare Benefits and Permanent Residency: Both visa subclasses offer access to Medicare benefits and the ultimate goal of permanent residency in Australia.

How the State Nomination Process Works

The Australian government has allocated a limited number of places for each state and territory in a given financial year, making the competition fierce. Most states prioritise onshore applicants already residing within the state. Additionally, having an occupation in the state's priority sector is increasingly important.

The common criteria for all states include age, skills assessment, English proficiency, and a minimum of 65 points on your EOI.

Let's break down the information about different Australian states' nomination processes:

New South Wales (NSW)

  • NSW receives a substantial allocation of nominations.

  • Eligibility includes residing in NSW for at least six months or overseas.

  • You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and select NSW for the 190 subclass.

  • When invited, you have a tight 14-day window to apply and submit the required documents.

  • NSW doesn't adhere to a fixed invitation round schedule, so invitations can come at any time.

  • Priority is given to EOIs submitted in key sectors such as health, education, ICT, infrastructure, and agriculture. There is no specific occupation list. If your occupation falls within these sectors, and you possess high points, good English proficiency, and relevant work experience, you might receive an invitation sooner than others.

Victoria (VIC)

  • Victoria also offers a significant number of nomination spots.

  • To be eligible for VIC state nomination, you must submit an ROI (Registration of Interest) on top of your EOI.

  • You can apply whether you are offshore or live and work in Victoria.

  • Priority sectors in VIC include health, social services, ICT, education (including early childhood, primary, secondary, and special education teachers), advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, renewable energy, and hospitality and tourism (for the 491 visa).

  • Offshore applicants with skills in healthcare, social services, and education have a higher chance of receiving an invitation for the SC 491 visa.

  • Various factors are considered, such as age, English language proficiency, years of experience in your nominated occupation, education, occupation skill level, partner's skills (if applicable), and salary (relevant for onshore candidates).

  • VIC, like NSW, doesn't maintain a skilled occupation list or a separate pathway for graduates.

Queensland (QLD)

  • QLD is a sought-after state for visa applicants.

  • While QLD provides a graduate pathway, it is exclusively for graduates of higher education programs, not VET courses.

  • The state maintains a skilled occupation list for offshore applicants, and a minimum of 2 to 5 years of work experience is typically required based on the nominated occupation.

  • For onshore applicants who already live and work in QLD, the eligibility criteria are more attainable. There is no specific occupation list, and working full-time (a minimum of 30 hours per week) in a relevant occupation within QLD can make you eligible. Note that for the SC 491 visa, the work must be in a regional area, with Brisbane not being considered a regional area.

  • To qualify for the subclass 190 visa, you should have at least 75 points and have worked for a minimum of 3 months before submitting your EOI.

Western Australia (WA)

  • WA has separate occupation lists and requirements for offshore, onshore, and graduates.

  • If you've studied in WA for a minimum of 2 years, you can be considered under the graduate pathway without needing relevant work experience.

  • Similar to NSW and VIC, WA designates priority sectors and maintains a list of occupations in critical demand. Key sectors in WA include building and construction, healthcare and social assistance, hospitality and tourism, education and training.

  • If your nominated occupation is in demand in WA, you can receive an invitation, even if you are residing interstate. Notably, construction workers do not require a 6-month contract with a WA company. WA conducts invitation rounds monthly, and you have 28 days to apply after receiving an invitation.

South Australia (SA)

  • SA used to be a preferred destination for migration, study, and work, but it has now introduced an invitation-based nomination system to manage limited nomination spots.

  • SA maintains an occupation list, and eligibility requirements for your nominated occupation can be found on their website.

  • Applicants working in priority sectors within South Australia, including Health and Medical Sciences, Trades and Construction, Early Childhood and Teaching, Digital Technology, Food and Agribusiness, Creative Industries, Tourism and Hospitality, and Resources Energy, receive priority.

  • To be considered, you must have lived in SA for at least 12 months.

Tasmania (TAS)

  • Tasmania offers diverse nomination pathways, each with distinct requirements.

  • An "eligibility checker" on their website can help you determine the most suitable pathway for your case.

  • For the graduate pathway, you must study for at least 2 years in TAS.

  • Upon submission of an ROI, if your occupation is on TAS's skilled occupation list, and you've worked for 6 months (at least 20 hours per week) in TAS, you will receive a green pass and are likely to be invited to apply for nomination within 2 months.

  • Additionally, TAS has a critical roles list, and if your nominated occupation is on that list, and you've worked for at least 3 months in that specific area in TAS, you will receive a gold pass, allowing you to submit your nomination application immediately.

Important Reminders

Provided information are update on the webinar date, 12 October 2023. It's crucial to stay updated, as state occupation lists and eligibility criteria can change at any time. States may also close their nomination programs once they reach their annual quotas. Keeping an eye on social media and our website's blog for updates is advisable.

Seeking Assistance

Navigating the complex world of state nomination and GSM visas can be challenging, and mistakes can prove costly. Engaging the services of a migration agent can help reduce the risk of refusal and guide you through the process seamlessly. We offer comprehensive support, from nominating the right occupation to preparing a decision-ready application.

If you require further information or a personalised assessment of your case, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our team at Australian Portal Immigration (API) is here to assist you, regardless of your location in Australia.

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