Points Based, General Skilled Migration - subclass 189 (Skillselect)

This is also called an Independent Skilled Worker Permanent Residence Visa - subclass 189. This visa is for points-tested skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government. 


It allows you to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. Applicants who are granted subclass 189 visas are independent of Australian employers and of the state governments, i.e. they can work for whoever they want in Australia and live wherever they want.

SkillSelect is an online service that was introduced on 1 July 2012 and involved significant changes to the skilled visa application process.

Intending migrants first need to submit an expression of interest and then will need to be invited to apply for one of the new points tested skilled migration visas.

The Putt Legal team have the essential knowledge, skills and abilities to help you through the Points Based Skilled Migration process. 

Basic requirements  

There are basic requirements you must meet to apply for these visas. You must:

  • be invited to apply
  • be younger than 50 years of age when you are invited to apply
  • nominate an occupation that matches your skills and qualifications and is on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • have your skills assessed by the relevant assessing authority as suitable for your nominated occupation
  • have at least competent English
  • score at least 65 on the points test
  • meet the health and character requirements.

Expression of Interest

Once you have obtained an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score result and had your skills assessed you are eligible to submit an expression of interest. If your EOI is successful you are then invited to apply for the visa. If you have sufficient points you do not have to undergo an IELTS test if you are a UK, Canadian, US, Irish or New Zealand passport holder but you get additional points if you meet the necessary standards.

65 Point Pass Mark

The pass mark is the minimum number of points required to be eligible for a points tested skilled migration visa and is subject to change in response to Australian labour market needs – currently 65 points. Under SkillSelect, the ability to meet the points test mark will not guarantee an invitation to apply.

Invitations to apply

Invitations will be issued periodically to the highest ranking expressions of interest subject to occupation ceilings. An expression of interest is not an application for a visa. If you are invited to apply, you will have to demonstrate that the claims in your expression of interest are correct. It doesn’t cost anything to lodge an expression of interest.

If you are invited to apply for this visa, you will then have 60 days in which to lodge your online application. You can be in or outside Australia when you lodge your application.

Invitations are based on claims made in your expression of interest at the time you are invited to apply. Your application must reflect the information provided in your expression of interest, and be supported by relevant evidence.

If after receiving two invitations to apply for a visa you do not make a visa application, your expression of interest will be removed from SkillSelect. In addition to the necessary documentation, you will be required to pass the health and character requirements.

Assessing Authority

Applicants who require a skills assessment as part of their visa application must contact a relevant assessing authority directly to obtain a skills assessment, before they lodge their visa application.

The assessing authority will provide all necessary applications forms and associated information relating to the assessment. There will be a charge by the assessing authorities for the skills assessment.

Skilled occupation List

You must nominate an occupation that is on the relevant Skilled occupation list (SOL), which is smaller list of occupations than the Consolidated skills occupation list (CSOL).

Competent English language skills

You need to have at least competent English language skills - being a minimum of a score of 6 in all four criteria from an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam - or be the holder of a passport from the UK; USA; Canada; the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand. Even if you are the holder of a passport from one of these countries it is often a good idea to sit an IELTS test for the additional English language points you will obtain if you achieve a minimum score of 7 for all four criteria.