Skillselect points based test


How does SkillSelect operate after the third anniversary since its introduction?

(Andrew Woo MARN 1383628 at Taylor & Scott Lawyers discusses)


When the Government introduced the SkillSelect from 1 July 2012, it was anticipated that the bar to get a ‘ticket’ to Australia would be raised to a new level and this level would be unachievable to some graduates and prospective applicants from overseas. This was because invitations were to be issued automatically to the highest ranking EOIs subject to occupational ceilings. It is certainly true to say that it has become more difficult considering that there are no points awarded for Competent English (IELTS 6), but it is not unattainable as previously thought. Then, why is that so?



The points tested skilled migration visas (Subclasses 189/190/489) have a points test pass mark of 60 points so only applicants with 60 points or more who have submitted their EOIs will be eligible to receive invitations in each round. The highest ranked applicants by points score are invited to apply for the relevant subject to occupational ceilings. When the points are equal between the applicants, the invitations are issued in the order of time for the points score reached (referred to as the visa date of effect).

The SkillSelect reports released by the government for the first few rounds of invitations confirmed the generally held view that the entry barrier would be greatly lifted due to the so-called bottle-neck phenomenon for the invitations to be sent out. Despite the pass mark being 60 points, no applicants with 60 points in their EOIs received invitations until 1 October 2012. Even in that round, 900 invitations allocated to the Subclass 189 visa were sent to the applicants with 65 points or more as the cut-off mark for that round was 65. However, the cut-off line since then has been lowered to 60 points, which continues to be the case now. To take one example, in the most recent round of invitations on 8 January 2016, the result was as follows:

8 January 2016

Visa Subclass Points Score Visa date of effect

Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) 60 14/12/2015 3:04PM

Skilled – Regional Provisional (subclass 489) 70 15/12/2015 1:47AM

This result suggests that any applicants who have attained 60 points score or more will likely receive invitations without much of a wait, which is certainly pleasing news for recent graduates or current students who are considering skilled migration under the SkillSelect system. We strongly encourage you to make enquires with experienced migration experts Taylor and Scott Lawyers who can help you achieve the best result for a skilled migration application in this system. Contact Lachlan Riches (Registered Migration Agent No. 9473887) or Andrew Woo (Registered Migration Agent No. 1383628) on 1800 600 664 or complete the Contact Form on this page.


It is important to realise that the above statistics are not relevant to the Subclass 190 visa which is sometimes referred to as a state nomination visa. No matter how many points each applicant has attained (60 points score including 5 points for state nomination nonetheless) or how high the ranking of EOI for that person is, no one is eligible to receive an invitation under this stream unless there is a nomination by the relevant state government. In other words, there is no preferential treatment for skills points. For example, the nomination applications in NSW are processed in the order in which they are received. Then, how can any one apply for this visa?

In order to lodge an application for state nomination, applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The nominated occupation matches his/her skills and qualifications and is on the relevant states’ State Migration Plan.

  • All other DIBP requirements such as age, IELTS 6 in each section and skills assessment are satisfied.

  • The applicant has lodged an EOI in SkillSelect upon attaining 60 points including additional 5 points for the state nomination.

  • The Applicant has lodged a complete nomination application form with supporting documents with the relevant state authority.

In the current financial year 2015-2016, the number of nominations granted from State and Territory governments for Subclass 190 visa up to January 2016 was 4,039 as opposed to 15,000 invitations issued under Subclass 189 stream. This Subclass 190 visa is responsible for quite a substantial proportion (almost 30%) of the General Skilled Migration Scheme. Especially, those who do not have enough points for Subclass 189 or whose occupations are listed on Schedule 2 – Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) but not on Schedule 1 – Skilled Occupation List (SOL) should explore this visa option at the first opportunity to see if they are eligible for a state nomination.


1) 25-year-old accounting graduate with a bachelor degree in Accounting in Australia and IELTS 7 in each section

Age (25yo) 30 points

English proficiency (IELTS 7) 10 points

Educational qualification (Bachelor degree) 15 points

Australian Study 5 points

Total 60 points

Skilled Assessment has to be requested from relevant authorities such as CPA requiring the applicant to satisfy the following:

  • A qualification that is assessed by CPA Australia as equivalent to at least a Australian Bachelor Degree

  • Having completed at least 9 of the 12 core knowledge area (subjects) including the four mandatory core knowledge areas

  • English proficiency requirement being minimum score of 7 in the IELTS academic module in each section

Recommendations: Must be suitable for a Subclass 189 visa and should also explore a Subclass 190 visa seeking a nomination from State governments including NSW.


2)33-year-old software engineering graduate with a bachelor degree in Software Engineering overseas and IELTS 7 in each section, 5 years overseas work experience

Age (33yo) 25 points

English proficiency (IELTS 7) 10 points

Educational qualification (Bachelor degree) 15 points

Overseas employment 10 points

Total 60 points

One has to apply for a skills assessment through Australian Computer Society (ACS) which prescribes the following criteria:

  • Required Qualification being bachelor degree in software engineering in this case

  • Required ICT Content – ICT Major

  • Required Qualification Closely Related to ANZSCO

  • 2 year require work experience relevant to ANZSCO in this case

Recommendations: Will be suitable for a Subclass 189 and 190 depending on the state from which a nomination is sought. But, the DIBP on 5 August 2013 advised that invitations for certain occupational groups in the points-tested migration program will be issued on a pro-rata basis over the 2013/14 program year.


3) 25-year-old university graduate with a bachelor degree in medicine wishing to nominate an occupation of university lecturer, IELTS 8, seeking a state nomination, 1 year overseas employment

Age (25yo) 30 points

English proficiency (IELTS 8) 20 points

Educational qualification (Bachelor degree) 15 points

State Nomination 5 points

Total 70 points

One has to obtain a favourable skills assessment result from Vetassess for the nominated occupation of a university lecturer. Vetassess requires 1 year work experience (paid employment for more than 20 hours a week) in the closely related occupations and required educational qualification.

Recommendations: Will not be suitable for a Subclass 189 as the nominated occupation does not appear on Schedule 1 – SOL but on Schedule 2 – CSOL. Will be a good candidate for a Subclass 190 but needs to apply for a state nomination to the relevant state government.


Since the introduction of SkillSelect system on 1 July 2012, all the uncertainties and misunderstanding surrounding the new system have been somewhat settled and cleared. It has been keeping well with its objectives i.e. the skilled migration program is to be based on the economic needs of Australia while the Australian government can keep a tight leash on who can apply for skilled migration, when they can apply and in what numbers. As demonstrated above, the skilled migration program under the SkillSelect is not so straightforward. You need to seek professional assistance and advice from an experienced migration lawyer and registered migration agents.

ANDREW WOO (Registered Migration Agent No. 1383628)

For more information, Contact Lachlan Riches (Registered Migration Agent No. 9473887) or Andrew Woo (Registered Migration Agent No. 1383628) on 1800 600 664 or complete the Contact Form on this page.

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