NEWS UPDATE: New Visa Rules from 16th November 2019

The Department of Home Affairs has released an e-bulletin confirming the long-awaited changes to the Skilled Visa points system. From 16th November, the new 491 Regional visa will become available, replacing the old 489 visa. The 491 visa is valid for up to 5 years. New Regional postcodes have been published as part of this measure. All areas outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are now considered Regional.

As expected, Perth (WA) and the Gold Coast (Queensland) have also been added to the Regional area list. All applicants who are sponsored for a Regional visa by a State or Territory or eligible family member are awarded 15 points (up from 10 previously). The minimum passmark for Skilled Visas remains 65.

Other points revisions include: 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner. For occupations where an assessment is required for skilled migration, then a skills assessment will be required to claim the additional points; 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications; 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’. UK passport holders are classed as having ‘competent English’ by default; 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.

For all EOIs with ‘Submitted’ status, SkillSelect will automatically update EOIs to attribute any additional points as long as the relevant information was already held in SkillSelect prior to 16th November. The old 489 visa has now officially ceased, having been unavailable to apply for since September.

All *current* 489 visa holders remain bound by the conditions of the 489 visa grant. This means they must continue to adhere to the old Regional visa postcode definitions in place at the time of their original visa grant, rather than the new 491 postcodes.

Visa Application Charges (VAC): These remain at their 1st July 2019 rates.

Please get in touch with us should you wish to discuss these changes in more detail.