Will Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle be classified as designated regional areas under the Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019?

Andrew Woo (Lawyer and Migration Agent) discusses anticipated benefits of the changes to the General Points Test for General Skilled Migration visas, especially for those considering a new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa that is to commence on 16 November 2019. 

“If you are an overseas student studying in one of the above regions and have a family member who is an Australian citizen or a permanent resident residing in the same region, chances are you will be ahead of your peers in terms of receiving an invitation,” says Andrew.

How are the regional areas going to be defined?

Although the regional areas are to be further identified in a separate legislative instrument, the government’s intention is to include all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. In other words, Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle will most likely be within the designated regional areas.

What are the main benefits for overseas students who are studying and also have family members in Canberra, Wollongong or Newcastle?

Under the current General Points Test for General Skilled Migration visas, none of these areas fall within regional Australia and low population growth metropolitan areas. This has meant that graduates from universities or TAFEs in these areas have not been able to claim the additional 5 points (which can make a crucial difference in terms of one’s prospects of receiving an invitation) for studying in regional Australia and low population growth metropolitan areas. It, however, will all change on or after 16 November 2019 in favour of those graduates from universities or TAFEs in Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle who will be able to claim an additional 5 points if they have met the Australia study requirement based on their studies in a designated area.

In addition, the number of points awarded to an eligible applicant will be raised from 10 points to 15 points. The eligible applicant here means an applicant who is either nominated by a State or Territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible Australian citizen or permanent resident family member residing in regional Australia. If you have a family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident residing in Canberra, Wollongong or Newcastle, you will be able to seek sponsorship from that family member to claim a whopping 15 points. Given the relatively large number of immigrants in these areas, there will be a large number of candidates eligible to claim 15 points which should further bolster their chance of receiving an invitation.

Andrew makes the following observations in relation to the new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa:

  • For Canberra residents, it may be more worthwhile continuing to explore the Subclass 190 visa option through Canberra matrix invitation rounds. The Subclass 491 visa is not a permanent visa and has several restrictive visa conditions attached to it before you become eligible to apply for permanent residency. Nevertheless, the Subclass 491 visa can still be an option for those who have not been successful in receiving a Canberra matrix invitation.
  • The quota allocated to the Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent) program for 2019-2020 has been reduced by more than 50%, whereas 14,000 new places are to be created for the new Subclass 491 visa program. It is inevitable to see more fierce competition driving up cut-off points for the Subclass 189 Skillselect invitations. The newly created 14,000 places should present a great opportunity for those who have studied and have relatives residing in Wollongong and Newcastle, as they will have clear advantages in the points system.

Taylor & Scott Migration Lawyers’ offer to you

Our expert in immigration law, Andrew Woo, takes great care to understand his clients’ needs and to offer tailor-made and business-oriented immigration solutions to suit his clients’ unique needs. We have branch offices in Newcastle and Campbelltown to specifically serve wider communities. We invite you to contact Andrew Woo by phoning 1800 600 664 or emailing Andrew at info@tayscott.com.au

“At Taylor & Scott, we care for you”

About Andrew Woo

Andrew is a Lawyer, Migration Agent and Associate at Taylor & Scott Lawyers. Andrew joined the firm in 2011 having spent a number of years working in a Sydney suburban law firm. Andrew is passionate about migration law – “I had the opportunity of studying in Australia as an international student. I fell in love with the country and its people and desperately wanted to make my permanent home here. I have experienced first-hand the complexities involved in attempting to migrate to Australia. I have dedicated myself to assisting clients from all ethnic backgrounds in securing their dream of living and working in this great country”.

As well as his Diploma in Law, Andrew has a Graduate Certificate in Australian Immigration Law and Practice. Andrew’s migration number is 1383628. Andrew welcomes all immigration enquiries from within Australia and from outside of Australia. Andrew is fluent in both English and Korean languages.

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