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  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

State nominations ON HOLD - Skilled visa update July 2020

(Almost) every July, the Department of Home Affairs announces how many Skilled visa invitations and State nominations may be issued during the next 12 months.

To the disappointment of many, this year the Department is yet to inform the States how many candidates they can nominate. That effectively means that States cannot issue nominations until they receive this year's allocations from the Department.

NSW 491 nomination applications closed 26 June

Contrary to a few comments in the migration industry, State nominated visas (subclass 190 and 491 visas) are not closed indefinitely. Rather, new nominations are temporarily delayed.

At the time of writing this article, the Department of Home Affairs has been silent on this matter. No one knows for sure when exactly State nominations will resume. According to the South Australian Government, nominations could resume as early as August 2020.

The hold up is to do with Australia's annual federal budget and the Covid pandemic. Confused? Let me explain.

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Skilled Visa caps and State nomination allocations are decided every year as a part of Australia's federal budget. The economic uncertainty caused by the virus lead Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to delay handing over the 2020-2021 budget to the Parliament. The new due date is 6 October 2020. For comparison, in 2019 the budget was handed to the Australian Parliament in April.

Until the budget passes the Parliament, the migration planning levels for 2020-2021 cannot be approved. Without planning levels, there are no state nomination allocations.

It is also unclear whether invitations for Subclass 189 and 491 in the Family Sponsored stream can continue in the current situation. These visas do not require State nominations however, they are subject to annual migration caps. We will need to wait and see if invitations for these visas are delayed as well. Hopefully the Department can invite more candidates to compensate for the hold up in State nominations.

Victoria nominations temporarily not available

At this stage, our main source of information is State Governments. Some States have put up notifications on their websites regarding the status of their skilled migration programs. Here is what we know:

"NSW is currently closed to applications for nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).

NSW will open to new nominations once the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs provides us with an allocation of positions for 2020-21. Invitation rounds for NSW nomination under the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) will also commence at this time.

At this stage we are unable to advise when this will occur. Please continue to monitor our website for updates."

Victoria's State nomination program is temporarily closed while the VIC Government awaits the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21. In the meantime, candidates will not be able to apply for State nomination visas.

"BSMQ has been advised by the Department of Home Affairs (HA) that it will not be in a position to open the 2020/21 migration program on 1 July 2020. As a consequence, BSMQ’s business and skilled migration program will remain closed on 1 July 2020 until further notice.

Migrating to QLD? You might need a bit of patience

BSMQ will not be accepting any Expressions of Interests (EOIs) submitted on Skillselect from 1 July 2020.  We will post an advice on this website, should the situation change."

"The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020-2021 program year. While applications for state nomination by Tasmania remain open and will continue to be considered, no nominations can be made in SkillSelect until quotas are allocated.

Migration Tasmania currently does not have an indication of the size of the 2020 -2021 nomination quota and cannot guarantee all eligible applicants will be nominated. Further updates will be provided as soon as additional information becomes available."

SA plans to reopen its skilled migration program in August

"Our Skilled and Business Migration programs are scheduled to re-open from early August. This will be dependent on the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for program year 2020-21."

"The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020 to 2021 program year. This means that the Northern Territory (NT) Government is currently unable to issue nominations under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program and the Business Investment and Innovation Program (BIIP).

At this stage, if you are currently living in the NT, you will still be able to lodge new applications for NT nomination under the GSM program, and these applications will continue to be assessed. Offshore GSM nomination applications remain closed. BIIP nomination applications remain open.

However, please note that even if your application is successful, you will only be issued a nomination once the Australian Government has allocated quotas to the NT. Given the uncertainty in allocations for the current program year, there is no guarantee that all applicants who meet the NT nomination criteria will be nominated.

NT is still processing nomination applications

If your current visa is about to expire, you should note that your nomination application may not be finalised before your visa expires. Please also note that the nomination application fee is non-refundable. It is important that you remain lawful at all times and obtain professional migration advice on options available to you. We look forward to your continued interest in the Northern Territory’s skilled and business migration programs and we will provide updates as soon as additional information becomes available."

What does it all mean to you?

When state nominations resume, SkillSelect candidates will have to wait a bit longer and try harder to win their invitations or State nominations. They should do everything possible to legitimately improve their points score.

If you have already lodged your EOI, be patient and keep an eye out for further updates. You might want to get a Migration Agent to check your EOI and advise you on ways to improve your chances of success.

If you are just starting the skilled migration process, don't be discouraged by the nomination delays. It will take you a few months to organise your skills assessment and English exam anyway. Nominations and invitations are likely to resume by the time you will be eligible to submit your Expression of Interest.

Onshore candidates have a significant advantage over those who are offshore. If you are offshore, get help from an experienced migration Agent to help you understand your options.

Have any questions? Drop them in the comments below! (or send us a message)


Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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