General Skilled Migration Visas of Australia (Subclass 189, 190 and 491)

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Australian General Skilled Migration Visas are for international citizens who possess various skills through academic education, work experience or some form of useful training. These visas allow skilled individuals to migrate to Australia and become Australian citizens by working at occupations that match their skill types. Individuals may initially stay in Australia temporarily or permanently depending on the category of their skilled migration visa. Preferred occupations must be selected from the skilled occupation list of the relevant skilled visa category.

General Skilled Migration Visa Types

Skilled migration visas have multiple categories depending on factors such as State/Territory nomination requirement, sponsorship from family members or regional employers, duration of the visa (permanent or temporary residency) etc.

The three most popular skilled visa categories at the moment are the Subclasses 189 & 190 (PR visas) and the Subclass 491 (provisional visa; pathway to future PR).


Subclass 189: Skilled Independent Visa

This is a permanent residency (PR) visa for skilled individuals who wish to live in Australia as permanent residents and work under any occupation that matches their skill type.

No requirements for State/Territory or regional nomination nor sponsorship from employers, family members and relatives apply to the Subclass 189 visa.

Subclass 190: Skilled Nominated Visa

This is also a permanent visa for skilled individuals.

Subclass 190 visa has a prior requirement of Australian State/Territory nomination (sponsorship).

Features & Benefits: Subclass 189 & 190

  • Live in Australia as Permanent Resident
  • Work plus educational opportunities in Australia
  • Sponsor & migrate family to Australia (spouse/partner, children)
  • Travel into and out of Australia with no restrictions
  • Enrol into Australia’s free healthcare service benefits
  • Become eligible to apply for Australian citizenship

Subclass 491: Skilled Work (Provisional) regional visa

This visa gives access to temporary stay and work opportunities in Australia with a sponsorship requirement from a designated regional  area, or alternatively, sponsorship from family members or relatives who live in the designated region.

This visa is a pathway for becoming future Australian PR.

Features & Benefits: subclass 491

  • Maximum 5 years of temporary residence in Australia; apply for PR (subclass 191) after 3 years.
  • Work & educational opportunities in a designated Australian regional area.
  • Travel opportunities into and out of Australia
  • Free healthcare after becoming Australian PR

Subclass 191 (PR Visa)

Application for this PR visa is valid only after holding the Subclass 491 provisional visa for 3 years. The Subclasses 491 & 191 consecutively make up the pathway to Australian permanent residency (PR).

Basic Eligibility Requirement for all Skilled Migration Visas

Points score of 65 is the basic requirement for any point-tested skilled migration visa. This initial points-test cannot include additional points gained from State/Territory nomination or family/regional sponsorship.

Eligibility requirements & general factors for scoring points

  • Age: 18 – 45 years (maximum points for aged 25 – 32 years)
  • 4 years (minimum) Bachelor studies
  • Overseas work experience (anywhere outside Australia; includes home country)
  • Minimum 6 in each band of IELTS or equivalent in PTE, TOEFL or OET
  • Occupation must be selected from the Skilled Occupation List
  • No previous visa refusals.
  • Good health and decent character

Additional points

  • State/Territory nomination points for Subclass 190, family or regional employer sponsorship points for Subclass 491
  • No additional points for Subclass 189 since there is no sponsorship or nomination requirement.

To know if you can score the necessary points, contact us as soon as possible.

Duration of Stay

Subclass 189 & 190:  Stay permanently with no time limits.

Both Subclass 189 & 190 are PR visas, therefore, visa holders may live in Australia as life-long permanent residents.

Subclass 491: 5 years (maximum)

  • Must work at least 1 year and stay a total of 2 years minimum (on a continuous basis or sporadically) in order to be eligible for PR application.
  • Apply for PR with Subclass 191 at least 3 years after Subclass 491 grant.

Application procedure of Australian skilled migration visas

The application procedure for all skilled visas is generally the same, with slight variations in between States.

Step 1: Point-tested eligibility assessment

Score a minimum of 65 points for primary eligibility and choose a preferred and relevant occupation from the skilled occupation list.

Step 2: Submission of EOI & ROI

Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Australian immigration department. The EOI is assessed by the Australian government. In some states, it is required to submit an ROI to the State Government.

Step 3: Invitation to apply for Visa

The Department of Home Affairs assesses the EOI and responds with an invitation to apply for the visa.

 Step 4: Apply for Visa

Lodge your visa application within 60 days after receiving the invitation. Visa application is a very complex procedure similar to submitting an EOI and ROI. It is highly recommended by the Australian Department of Home Affairs to seek the informed consultation from a professional and experienced Australian registered migration agent.

Step 5: Visa Grant

Visa is granted after careful assessments based on the specific criterions of each skilled visa category. Duration of wait for visa grant after lodging application will depend on the skilled visa type.

Australian Skilled Migration has many rules and regulations which are often misunderstood by people not expert on it. We advise you to assess your eligibility first. We are a MARA registered migration agent since 2007. We have helped more than 5000 families migrate to Australia during the last 15 years. Contact us today !

Any question? Please contact us.