Migration News
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-19204,single-format-standard,bridge-core-2.8.9,_masterslider,_msp_version_3.5.5,qode-social-login-2.0.2,qode-tours-3.0.2,qodef-qi--no-touch,qi-addons-for-elementor-1.3,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,hide_top_bar_on_mobile_header,qode-theme-ver-27.3,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_top,elementor-beta,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.7.0,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-19327

Migration News

Migration News

November/December 2019


Welcome to our newsletter for November/December, there are a number of important changes that have been announced for the Australian migration program that are set out in this newsletter, if you would like any further information on these matters please contact one of team.

I would also like to advise our clients that we will be closing our office over the 2019-20 Xmas/New year break from

5pm Friday, 20th December 2019 to 9am Monday, 6th January 2020.

Skilled Migration and Global Talent Independent Program

Immigration Minister David Coleman has just announced the Global Talent Independent program, or GTI, which represents a new way of approaching highly skilled immigration to Australia. His announcement follows:

“This year, we will be reducing our annual permanent migration cap from 190,000 to 160,000. But within that cap, we will be sharpening the emphasis on highly skilled immigration. The Global Talent Independent programme has been allocated up to 5,000 places within our annual programme. Over time, it has the potential to have a transformative impact on the Australian economy. Let’s be clear: we have very big ambitions for the GTI. The GTI has one key goal:

  • To help build our future prosperity, by attracting to Australia the world’s most highly skilled people in the world’s highest growth industries

Through the program we will seek out and recruit highly skilled and talented individuals from around the globe

– offering them a streamlined, priority visa pathway to work and live permanently in Australia. We are being deliberately aggressive in this policy area and will be investing around $13 million over the next three years on its execution.

We want people from the best universities and the most successful companies. We want people with entrepreneurial ideas and deep skill sets, who can drive innovation and create local jobs. When highly skilled migrants enter Australian companies, they typically generate ideas that lead to the employment of more Australians. I saw this first-hand when I was chairman of Ninemsn, the joint venture between Nine and

Microsoft. We would often have Microsoft executives from the US suggest new initiatives in the business, and we would then employ more Australians to make those initiatives happen.

At its most simple level, that is how highly skilled migrants add value to the Australian economy. Applicants will be eligible to be considered for permanent residency under the GTI if they meet two key criteria:

  • They are likely to earn more than $149,000 per year in Australia; and
  • They are highly skilled in one of seven key industry sectors

The benchmark of $149,000 ensures that the program targets truly high-skilled individuals – with an ability to command higher wages in a competitive international field. This benchmark aligns with the Fair Work high income threshold, which is updated annually.”

WA becomes Regional for some Visa Categories

Perth and the Gold Coast are both destinations that have been added to the list of locations migrants can move to on a regional visa. The move will also benefit students studying in Perth and the Gold Coast.

Immigration Minister David Coleman denied it was a backflip, despite earlier this month insisting the cities would not be included in the program stating;

“We have had advocacy from governments from all sides of politics in relation to those two places and decided to include them in our program because close to 70 per cent of our total population growth is in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

In another tweak to the scheme, Mr Coleman said 2,000 extra skilled foreign workers would be required to settle in regional Australia.

While the migration cap of 160,000 places remains unchanged, there will now be 25,000 regional visas set aside for migrants who agree to work outside the major cities, up from 23,000.

Those that agree to spend a three-year stint in regional Australia will have their applications elevated to the top of the list.

They will also be eligible to apply for permanent residency.”

When looking at Western Australia the State Government has also announced Changes to the Graduate Stream of the State Nomination Migration Program, these are set out in their Newsletter at https://migration.wa.gov.au/services/skilled-migration-western-australia/latest-news.

16 November 2019 Visa Changes

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

On 16 November 2019, the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) commenced. This visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia and is valid for five years.

People who are granted a subclass 491 visa may be able to apply for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) once certain requirements are met.

Intending migrants can now submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the new subclass 491 visa.

Points test changes

On 16 November 2019, changes were made to the points test for General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas. These changes apply to all GSM visa applications which have not been assessed under the GSM points test prior to 16 November 2019.

Changes to Partner points

Intending migrants:

  • who do not have a spouse or de facto partner are eligible to claim 10 points
  • with a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident are eligible to claim 10 points
  • with a skilled spouse or de facto partner who:
    • is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident:
    • is under 45 years of age:
    • has nominated a skilled occupation:
    • has a suitable skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority for the nominated occupation and the assessment was not for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485 visa; and has at least Competent English, are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)
  • with a spouse or de facto partner who has ‘Competent English’, who is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident and who will be included in the visa application for the same visa subclass as the intending migrant, are eligible to claim 5


Other changes to the points test from 16 November 2019

Intending migrants:

  • who claim a specialist education qualification are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)
  • who seek visa subclass 491 nomination from a State or Territory government agency or are sponsored by an eligible family member can claim 15 points (previously 10 points).

More information on the points test is available at: subclass 491 – points-table

New Regional Postcodes

On 16 November 2019, the Designated Regional Area instrument commenced. The instrument specifies postcodes eligible for points in Regional Study or subclass 491 nomination by a State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member.

More information is available from your Migration Agent.

Regional Study

Intending migrants who had an EOI in ‘submitted’ status prior to 16 November 2019, may now be eligible for regional study points because areas regarded as regional have expanded as a result of the new Designated Regional Area definition.

EOIs submitted before 16 November 2019

SkillSelect will automatically update EOIs in ‘submitted’ status to attribute any additional points, where required information was held in SkillSelect before 16 November 2019.

This includes cases where an intending migrant indicated in their EOI, they do not have a spouse or de facto partner; or their spouse or de facto partner is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. The date of effect* will not change where points are automatically updated.

Points will also automatically update when claiming skilled partner points and/or a specialist educational qualification. The date of effect will not change.

Updating an EOI on or after 16 November 2019

Where an EOI was submitted before 16 November 2019 and information was not held in SkillSelect at that time, an intending migrant can choose to update their EOI to claim any additional points (as applicable). The date of effect will change in these cases.

This includes situations where an intending migrant wants to claim points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘Competent English’ only. In this circumstance, an intending migrant can now update their EOI to answer questions on their partner’s English language ability. Where additional points are claimed, the date of effect will change.

Where an intending migrant chooses to update their EOI to claim points for regional study, because they are now eligible, the EOI date of effect will also change. However, if they had submitted an EOI prior to

16 November 2019 and had already claimed points for regional study, the EOI date of effect will not change.

EOIs in ‘suspended’ status

EOIs which had a ‘suspended’ status on 16 November 2019, will not have any points automatically attributed or updated.

Intending migrants can update EOIs with a ‘suspended’ status and may be required to answer new questions as a result of changes to the points test. If their points score changes, their EOI date of effect will change. Page 3 of 3 SkillSelect

EOIs in ‘draft’ status

From 16 November 2019, intending migrants with an EOI with a ‘draft’ status can update their EOI in SkillSelect. They may be required to answer additional questions as a result of changes to the points test.

Adding subclass 491 to an existing EOI

From 16 November 2019, intending migrants can add subclass 491 to a submitted EOI. The date of effect for the subclass 491 will be the date it is added. Where this is the only change, the date of effect for previously selected subclasses will not change.

If an intending migrant updates their EOI and this changes their indicative points test score, the date of effect

will change for the relevant visa subclass/es.

* Date of effect is the date and time the intending migrant submitted their EOI for the relevant visa subclass.


In the Financial year to date the number of visas issued has varied considerably, with the subclass 189, the largest invitation round being in October. These figures are a dramatic reduction to the invitation rounds of 2017/18. The points score required for an invite has also increased over this time.

As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, the new Regional visa subclasses now in effect are designed to take the pressure of the population increases in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Invitations issued during 2019-20 program year

Visa subclass Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)





Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489)






Visa subclass Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun







The above figures do not include invitations issued for State and Territory Government nominated visa subclasses. State and Territory Governments nominate throughout the month for specific points tested skilled migration and business innovation and investment visas.

Season’s Greetings

Finally, on behalf of all the team at The Immigration Group I would like to wish all our clients, past, current and future a very joyous and safe Festive season.

Lance Fee

Registered Australian Migration Agent 90067

  • au