• Elan Rysher

Skilled Visa Update: State nominations June 2020

As the end of the Australian financial year draws near, so too are the numbers of available State nominations for Skilled visas. It is a repeating theme which happens every year, around April-June.


Thousands of SkillSelect candidates are waiting anxiously for an invitation or State nomination while fewer than normal or none at all actually get nominated. Why does this happen?

Victoria is temporarily not issuing new invitations

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Once a year, the Department of Home Affairs sets the number of skilled migration visas to be granted during the migration program year. The migration program year coincides with the Australian tax year, from July to June.


The Department also allocates the number of skilled visa nominations each State and Territory may issue during that year. The States are free to decide which candidates will be invited and when.


Sometimes, the Department and the States run out of available spaces towards the end of migration program year. This often causes a sudden drop in invitations or to the temporary closure of the skilled visa program in the affected States.


This trend is happening again this year, probably made worse by the impact of Covid-19. In each of the first 3 months of 2020, the Department invited over 1,000 candidates to apply the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa and the Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa in the Family Sponsored stream. However, only 100 people received invitations in April's invitation round. Quite a big slump.

Still waiting for a subclass 491 invitations from NSW?

Nominations and invitations typically resume once the new migration program year begins in July. EOI candidates should be aware of this trend and adjust their expectations accordingly.


So what is the current status of State nominations across Australia?


The State of Victoria has filled its annual subclass 190 and 491 visa nominations quota for this year. Applications received prior to 28 May 2020 will continue to be assessed and applicants will be advised of the outcome in due course. New applications will be accepted in 2020-21.

Queensland State Nominated places for subclass 190 have been filled for this year. When state nomination reopen for this subclass, applicants will be required to submit a new EOI at that time. QLD remains open to nominations for onshore Subclass 491 applicants who continue to meet Queensland state nomination criteria.

New South Wales is yet to start nominating candidates for subclass 491 visas. NSW Government says nominations will commence soon, however it is unknown when exactly this will occur. Subclass 190 nominations are still being issued, however changes to eligibility criteria are expected soon.


ACT subclass 190 nominations more than doubled

The Australian Capital Territory did not issue subclass 491 nominations in the 21 May 2020 invitations round because they already have sufficient nomination applications in the queue. It is likely to assume that low numbers (or none at all) of 491 invitations will be issued in June as well. On the other hand, the number of ACT Subclass 190 invitations more than doubled by comparison to the previous round.


Tasmania is only nominating applicants for subclass 190 visas if they have studied or are currently working in the State. Flexible arrangements have been put in place to help candidates whose eligibility is affected by Covid-19. Subclass 491 nominations for most overseas candidates are reserved primarily for Nurses until further notice.


The Northern Territory is only accepting nominations applications from candidates who are onshore. Offshore applications are likely to resume once Australia reopens for international travel.


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