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Skilled Stream


The Skilled Stream is made up of the following categories:


  • Business Innovation and Investment Migration
  • Employer Sponsored Migration
  • General Skilled Migration
  • Special Migration (for former residents and people with distinguished talent)


Business Innovation and Investment Program

From 1 July 2012, Business Skills Migration was replaced by the Business Innovation and Investment Program.  New visa subclasses were introduced which have higher asset and business turnover requirements, which require all applicants to apply via the SkillSelect system, and be sponsored by State or Territory governments.

From 1 July 2012, the following visas are closed to new applications:

  • Business Owner (Provisional) (Subclass 160)
  • Senior Executives (Provisional) (Subclass 161)
  • Investor (Provisional) (Subclass 162)
  • State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner (Provisional) (Subclass 163)
  • State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive (Provisional) (Subclass 164)
  • State/Territory Sponsored Investor (Provisional) (Subclass 165)
  • Established Business in Australia (Subclass 845)
  • Regional Established Business in Australia (Subclass 846)

The Business Innovation and Investment Program is for business owners and investors and is generally a 2-stage process.  The first stage is to obtain a 4-year provisional Business visa.  Once business operations or investment have been established in Australia, provisional visa holders can obtain a permanent visa providing they meet residence and business criteria.

The only exception to the 2-stage process is for very high net worth individuals who apply for a Business Talent (Subclass 132) visa.  This visa generally requires the visa applicant to make a significant investment in an Australian business.



From 1 July 2012, the Business Innovation and Investment Program will be part of the SkillSelect system which requires applicants to first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI).  The Department of Immigration will then assess the EOIs and invite the best applicants to make a visa application.


State/Territory Nomination

State/Territory Nomination will be required for all of the new Business visas.  State and Territory governments will have a limit on the number of business migrants they can nominate under this program as part of their State Migration Plans.


New Visa Subclasses

The new program will be made up of three (3) visa subclasses:

  • Business Talent (Permanent) (Subclass 132) visa – for high level business people
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (Subclass 188) visa – 4-year provisional
  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) (Subclass 888) visa – permanent stage


Significant Investor Visa

The NSW Department of Trade & Investment announced on 27 August 2014 changes to the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) requirements to demonstrate the NSW Government's ongoing Open for Business commitment.

Effective 1 September 2014, NSW nominees for an SIV are no longer required to invest at least A$1.5 million in NSW Waratah Bonds. Applicants will be eligible for NSW nomination for this visa if they agree to invest at least A$5 million in approved Complying Investments in Australia.

Whilst no longer a requirement for NSW nomination, applicants may still wish to invest in Waratah Bonds as a safe, fee-free, low risk investment option. Waratah Bonds are Complying Investments for the SIV. 


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Employer Sponsored Migration

There are a number of permanent visa options available for skilled people who are sponsored by an Australian business.  The following 3 categories enable Australian businesses to employ highly skilled foreign workers (from either overseas or temporary residents currently in Australia) where they have been unable to fill their recruitment needs from the Australian labour market. 


Employer Nomination Scheme

Lawfully operating Australian businesses can employ foreign workers on permanent visas, to fill full-time highly skilled positions which cannot be filled from the Australian labour market.


Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Businesses in regional Australia can employ skilled foreign workers in positions unable to be filled from the local labour market.


Labour Agreements

Labour Agreements are formal arrangements for an Australian industry group or business to employ a number of skilled foreign workers.  Both temporary and permanent visas can be granted under the agreement. Agreements are generally effective for 2 to 3 years.


Permanent Sponsored Visa Changes

Following is a summary of the Subclass 186 visa and Subclass 187 visa changes.

From 19 April 2017:  the CSOL condensed, 216 occupations removed, 24 occupations restricted to regional Australia, occupational lists renamed as STSOL and MLTSSL

From 1 July 2017:  review of STSOL and MLTSSL, must demonstrate 'competent' English, Direct Entry Stream (DES) age limit decrease from 50 to 45 years (Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS) no change to age limit still 50 years).

Before 31 December 2017:  collection of Tax File Number for Subclass 457 visa holders for ATO data matching, publication of sanctioned sponsors

From March 2018:  the MLTSSL will apply to ENS/RSMS with additional regional occupations available to RSMS, market salary rate will apply and must meet TSMIT, eligibility period for permanent residence extended from 2 to 3 years (TRTS), at least 3 years’ work experience required, maximum age of 45 at time of application (DES & TRTS), contribution towards training fund

Changes to the permanent Employer Sponsored programme are complex and full details are not yet available.  If you have any queries, telephone 0416 084 889. 


General Skilled Migration

There is a range of visa options under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program for skilled persons who want to live in Australia and who do not have an employer sponsoring them.  These include options for skilled people applying as an independent migrant, those sponsored by a relative, or nominated by a State or Territory government and those who do not meet the criteria for a permanent GSM visa but are willing to reside in regional Australia on a temporary GSM visa.

From 1 July 2012, the GSM Program includes the following permanent visas:

  • Skilled – Independent (Subclass 189) visa
  • Skilled – Nominated (Subclass 190) visa


Eligibility Requirements

From 1 July 2012, applicants for a GSM visa must first lodge an Expression of Interest application with SkillSelect and must satisfy the following basic eligibility requirements:


  • Invitation – have been invited to apply and apply within the time limit  
  • Age – must be under 50 years of age at the time of the invitation to apply
  • English Language – must demonstrate at least ‘competent’ English
  • Nominate Skilled Occupation – nominate occupation on relevant skilled occupation list
  • Skills Assessment – obtained suitable Skills Assessment for the nominated occupation
  • Points Test – achieved the score specified in the invitation letter

Visa applicants lodging a GSM visa application on or after 1 July 2012, will need to lodge an Expression of Interest application first and then wait for an invitation to apply from the Department of Immigration.  If you would like to remain in Australia whilst awaiting your invitation to apply, you must ensure that you hold a substantive visa as there is no bridging visa with an Expression of Interest application.


New SOL & CSOL 1 July 2015

The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) is for:

•  Skilled - Independent (Subclass 189) visa

•  Skilled - Nominated (Subclass 190)     visa (nominated by family)

•  Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa -     Graduate Work stream


The Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) is for:

•  Skilled - Nominated (Subclass 190)     visa (nominated by State or Territory     government under State Migration Plan)

•  Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa     (nominated by Australian employer) - Direct     Entry stream

•  Temporary Work (Subclass 457) visa

•  Training and Research (Subclass 402) visa


From 1 July 2015 the new SOL & CSOL are in effect with the following changes:

•  Panelbeater (ANZSCO 324111) and Cabinetmaker (ANZSCO 394111) both listed on SOL and CSOL

•  Dentist (ANZSCO 252312), Dental Specialist (ANZSCO 252311) and Urban and Regional     Planner (ANZSCO 232611) all removed from SOL but all listed on CSOL


SOL 1 July 2014

The Department of Immigration has announced that Chefs, Bricklayers and Wall & Floor Tilers will be added to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) from 1 July 2014.

No existing occupations are being removed from the SOL, which currently lists 188 occupations that Australia needs.

The SOL is used for the following visas:

  • Graduate Temporary (Subclass 485) visa - Graduate Work Stream
  • Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa


CSOL 1 July 2014

The Department of Immigration has announced the following occupations will be added to the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL):

  • Hydrogeologist  (ANZSCO 234413)
  • Exercise Physiologist (ANZSCO 234915)

The CSOL is relevant for applicants for:

  • Skilled - Nominated (Subclass 190) visa
  • ENS (Subclass 186) visa under the Direct Entry stream
  • Temporary Work (Subclass 457) visa
  • Training and Research (Subclass 402) visa


Special Migration

For former residents and people with distinguished talent.


Former Resident

For former Australian permanent residents and persons who served in the Australian Armed Forces before 1981, to return to Australia permanently.


Distinguished Talent

A permanent visa for people who have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession, the arts, sport, research or academia; or who have provided specialised assistance to the Australian Government in matters of security.

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