Changes to the General Skilled Migration Programme

The Federal Government has introduced significant changes to the General Skilled Migration Programme which will take effect from November 2019. 

The changes focus on the distribution of migrants to regional Australia and maximising the economic and social contribution of applicants in the skilled migration cohort. 

The changes affect existing and new EOI candidates  and apply to the subclass 189 and 190 visas, as well as the new Subclass 491 visa which commences on 16 November 2019.

The Government will introduce the following changes:

  • A revised POINTS system linked to the applicants’ ability to make the greatest economic contribution.

    Additional points will be awarded for skilled partners or those with ‘competent English’,  single status applicants, primary applicants skilled in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) occupations, and applicants being sponsored to settle in designated regional areas.

The revised points are as follows:

  • 15 points for nomination by State or Territory government or sponsorship by family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia
  • 10 points for STEM qualifications
  • 10 points for skilled partner
  • 10 points for applicants without a partner
  • 5 points for partner with ‘competent’ English
  • 5 points for Australian citizen partner


  • Setting PRIORITIES for processing skilled migration applications.

When points are equal (excluding partner qualifications), invitations will be ranked in the following order:

  1. Applicants without a partner
  2. Applicants with a partner who demonstrates competent English but who does not have the skills to obtain Skilled partner points
  3. Applicants with a partner who is not eligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points.


  • Introduction of three NEW regional visas designed to attract migrants to settle into and remain in regional areas (any area of Australia excluding, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong,  Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth).
  • New visa condition 8579 requiring provisional visa holders to live work and study in a designated regional area. It allows visa holders to move between designated regions but prevents visa holders from accessing any other skilled migration visa for three years.
  • Extending the 485 visa period by one year for international students graduating from regional campuses with higher education or post graduate qualifications  


Concerned about what these changes might mean for your existing EOI?

Unsure how you can benefit from the new changes? 

Interested to make the move to this sunburnt country?

Want to know more? 

Download our “How to Live and Work Down Under” Guidebook or

Click here to book an appointment to discuss your next steps. 


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