Visa Changes

A significant change has been made in the points system for migration to Australia. Pool and pass marks for application for a General Skilled Migration visa (subclass 189, 190 or 489 visa) will increase from 60 to 65 points from 1 July 2018.

The Skilled Independent visa (189) is a points-tested entry for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or family member, or nominated by a state or territory government. It allows the visa holder to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. The Skilled Nominated visa (190) allows workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory government to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.
closeup of the australian visa in passport

The Skilled Regional visa (489) allows skilled workers to live and work in regional areas of Australia for up to four years.

The increase in the pass mark reflects the high level of interest in skilled migration to Australia. Although the change will prevent a significant number of people being able to apply it is not expected to affect highly skilled candidates.

What is the points test, and what are pass and pool marks?

As of 1st July 2011, a new points test for skilled migrants was introduced. Points are decided by various criteria including skills, age, English language proficiency, occupation, experience working in Australia, and Australian qualifications. The aim of the point test is to select the most appropriate skilled visa applicants. The points table can be accessed via the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs.

The pass mark is the total amount of points required to be eligible for the granting of a visa. The pool mark is the minimum number of points required to be scored in order for an applicant’s visa to be held in reserve. Applicants must reach the pass mark which is in effect on the day of lodging their visa application for the application to be processed. If applicants do not meet the pass mark requirement but score higher than the pool mark, their application will be held on reserve for up to two years after it is assessed. Currently the pool mark for all visas is the same as the pass mark, meaning that no applications are being placed in the pool at present.

Different visas have different pass and pool marks and not all visas have a point test. Visa applicants are advised to check the current pass mark for their preferred visa before making an application. If they do not meet the pass mark they may choose to consider other visa options.

The visa application process in Australia can be complex and confusing, and visa requirements are subject to frequent change. Healthstaff Recruitment has experience assisting medical professionals find a suitable role to further their career in Australia or New Zealand. Contact us today for more information.