Recently published legislation introduces changes to the Points Test for General Skilled Migration visas commencing 16 November 2019.
These changes are relevant to existing Subclass 489,189 and 190 and the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491 visa, which will also commence in 16 November 2019

  • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de fecto partner.
  • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with “competent English”.
  • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner;
  • the applicant has a spouse or de fecto partner who is an Australian permanent resident or and Australian citizen.
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications.
  • Close the Subclass 489(skilled- Regional(Provisional)) Visa to primary applicants for a first provisional visa.
  • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia.


Besides, there are also changes for Employer Nominated Visas:

  • Close the permanent Subclass 187(Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa, except for certain Subclass 457(Temporary Work(Skilled)) visa and Subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage) visa holders.
  • Create the subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494) with two streams: Employer Sponsored and Labour Agreement, for employers in regional Australia to employ skilled foreign workers.
  • Bring employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the sponsorship regime, which includes provisions aimed at the protection of both Australian and foreign workers and at the integrity of the program.


Furthermore, there are also amendments to introduce a new permanent visa, the Subclass 191(Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) Visa (Subclass 191) from 16 November 2022.

  • Provide that the new Subclass 191 may only be applied for by holders of the new Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visa;
  • Detail eligibility criteria for the grant of the Subclass 191 visa, including that the applicant must (for primary applicants who held a Subclass 491 or Subclass 494 visa at the time of application

1. Have earned a minimum taxable income for three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa.

2. have complied with the conditions of the reginal provisional visa; in particular, including that the holder must live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia.


There is no impact on people who make a valid application for the Subclass 489 or Subclass 187 which is to be closed, before 16 November 2019. No applicant with a pending application will be adversely affected because the changes provide for the award of additional points.