New points test coming in to effect on 16 November 2019

The Migration Amendment (new Skilled Regional Visas) Regulation 2019 will also introduce a revised points system for subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional) and the General Skilled Migration visas (subclass 189/190) from 16 November 2019.

The key purpose of the new points system is to maximise the economic benefit of migration to Australia. The changes will be as follows:

Factor

Current points

New points

Nomination by state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member to reside and work in a specified/designated area

10

15

A Master’s degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution that included at least two academic years in the relevant Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field

5

10

Spouse or de-facto partner skill qualification

5

10

Spouse or de-facto partner with competent English but not eligible for partner skill qualification points

N/A

5

Applicants without a spouse/ de-facto partner

N/A

10

 

The additional points for skilled spouse or de-facto partner are being introduced based on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission report Migrants Intake into Australia” published in 2016:

  • The report noted that around 50% of Australia’s permanent skill intake are secondary applicants, many of whom have limited skills. Given the significant share of secondary applicants, the committee recommended that it was important to assess their contribution to the Australian economy and community.
  • English language proficiency was seen as a key factor in employability and social participation of migrants.Awarding secondary applicants points for competent English was seen to be a way of incentivising couples to improve their English, which in turn will provide a greater social and economic benefit.
  • The additional points for single applicants are to ensure that single persons are not disadvantaged or displaced in the points test.

The awarding of additional points for state and territory nomination or sponsorship by an eligible relative highlights the focus of the federal government in encouraging migrants to settle outside major metropolitan areas to improve the economic development of regional areas.

In addition to the points system, invitations for points tested visas will be ranked in the following order if all other points claimed are equal:

  • First – primary applicants with a skilled spouse or de-facto partner and single applicants;
  • Second – primary applicants with a spouse or de-facto partner who can demonstrate competent English but not eligible to claim skill partner points;
  • Third – primary applicants with a partner who is ineligible for either skill partner points or competent English.

Overall the revised points system is beneficial as it is only likely to result in additional points. However, the ranking of EOI’s is likely to have a significant impact for applicants with partners, as in order to remain competitive they need to ensure their partners are able to meet the partner skill qualification or competent English requirements.