Australian Immigration Minister’s announcement about the new Visa points test

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, announced the government’s intention to implement a new points test applying to certain skilled migration applications made on or after 1 July 2011. The new points test will not apply to unfinalised applications lodged prior to 1 July 2011.

The new points test will not change the generous transitional arrangements in place until 31 December 2012 for former international students.

Introduction of New Points Test

It is proposed that a new points test for skilled migration visa applications will be introduced on 1 July 2011. It complements the series of reforms the Australian Government announced in February 2010.

The new points test is focused on selecting highly skilled people to deliver a more responsive and targeted migration program. It was developed following a review of the current points test, which considered submissions from a variety of experts and the wider Australian community.

The new points test balances the different factors that are considered when determining whether someone will be granted a skilled migration visa. It will deliver the best and brightest skilled migrants by emphasising high level qualifications, better English language levels and extensive skilled work experience.

The new points test will continue to award points for study in Australia, including regional study, community languages, partner skills and completing an approved Professional Year. Points will no longer be awarded on the basis of an applicant’s occupation, but all applicants must still nominate an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List.

It is important to note that the new points test will only apply to one component of the skilled migration program. This change won’t affect every type of skilled migration visa and only applies to the following visas.

– Subclass 885 Skilled Independent

– Subclass 886 Skilled Sponsored

– Subclass 175 Skilled Independent

– Subclass 487 Skilled Regional Sponsored

– Subclass 176 Skilled Sponsored

– Subclass 475 Skilled – Regional Sponsored

It is proposed that the new points test will apply to applications made from 1 July 2011, unless the applicant is eligible for transitional arrangements.

Transitional arrangements apply to people who, on 8 February 2010 held or had applied for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485). Until the end of 2012, this group is able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the points test in effect as at 8 February 2010.

Student visa holders who lodge an application for points tested skilled migration from 1 July 2011 will be assessed under the new points test. There are still transitional arrangements which may apply to those students affected by the reforms announced on 8 February 2010. People who held an eligible Student visa on 8 February 2010 still have until the end of 2012 to apply for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485) under the arrangements in place for that visa as at 8 February 2010.

The pass mark is the number of points required to be eligible for skilled migration. The pass mark is a tool that allows for management of the skilled migration program and is always subject to change. It is expected that the pass mark will be set at 65 points.

New Points Test

Factor Description Points
Age 18-24 25 points
25-32 30 points
33-39 25 points
40-44 15 points
45-39 0 points
English Language Competent English – IELTS 6 0 points
Proficient English – IELTS 7 10 points
Superior English – IELTS 8 20 points
Australian work experience in

nominated occupation or a closely

related occupation

One year Australian (of past two years) 5 points
Three years Australian (of past five years) 10 points
Five years Australian (of past seven years) 15 points
Overseas work experience in

nominated occupation or a closely

related occupation

Three years overseas (of past five years) 5 points
Five years overseas (of past seven years) 10 points
Eight years overseas (of past 10 years) 15 points

(Australian or recognised


– Offshore recognised apprenticeship

– AQFIII/IV completed in Australia

– Diploma completed in Australia

10 points
Bachelor degree

(including a Bachelor degree with Honours or


15 points
Phd 20 points
Recognition of Australian Study Minimum two years fulltime (Australian study


5 points
Designated language 5 points
Partner Skills 5 points
Professional Year 5 points
Sponsorship by state or territory


5 points
Sponsorship by family or state or

territory government to regional


10 points
Study in a regional area 5 points

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