Skilled Visa Program closed until further notice

1 July 2020 was supposed to be the start of the new migration program year and the Australian Government was due to release 189, 190 and 491 visa quotas for the 2020-21 year. Instead the Skilled Visa Program is now closed and the Department of Home Affairs has not given the state governments their new General Skilled Migration (GSM) quotas.

This means that the State & Territory nomination program will remain temporarily CLOSED until the Commonwealth Governments allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21 takes place. As a consequence, State & Territory governments have no ability to nominate applicants in visa subclass 190 & visa subclass 491.

It also uncertain when 189 Skilled Independent Visa invitations will resume. The last published invitation round was in April 2020 with only 50 subclass 189 invitations as compared to 1750 invitations in March 2020.

The GSM 2020-21 program year is scheduled to re-open from early August however, changes to the composition of the Australian Migration program might be made in October under the new budget.

Due to the Coronavirus, the date for Federal Budget 2020-2021 has been delayed by the Federal Government – it will be handed down in Parliament on 6 October. The Federal Treasurer has advised that he will provide an update on the economic and fiscal outlook on 23 July.

In addition, any changes to the occupation list are unconfirmed.

Overview of all the Australian States and Territories

Northern Territory (NT)
Currently open. We are assuming that no nominations will be issued until the grant of new quota. New eligibility criteria in place for all applicants. Closed for offshore applicants.
Read our specific NT update here

Western Australia (WA)
Currently open. No updates yet from state authority. We are assuming that no nominations will be issued until the grant of new quota.

New South Wales (NSW)
Applications are open for 190 visa, closed for 491 visa. No nominations will be made until the allocation of new quota. The NSW Government states: “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.”

Read here

Tasmania (TAS)
Application are open, but no nomination will be made until quota is received. The Tasmanian Government states: “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.” Read here

Victoria (VIC)
State nomination applications are temporarily closed. You can still lodge an EOI and then lodge the state nomination application once the new quota is allocated. The Victorian Government states: “The Victorian Government’s state nomination program will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21. In the meantime, you will not be able to apply for the following state nomination visas:

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa
  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa
  • Business Innovation stream (subclass 188A) (Provisional) visa
  • Investor stream (subclass 188B) (Provisional) visa
  • Significant Investor stream (subclass 188C) (Provisional) visa
  • Entrepreneur stream (subclass 188E) (Provisional) visa
  • Significant Business History (subclass 132A) (Permanent) visa
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur (subclass 132B) (Permanent) visa

The 2020-21 Victorian state nomination program will open at a date to be advised after further advice from the Commonwealth Government.

You can still lodge your Expression of Interest (EOI) through the Commonwealth’s Department of Home Affairs SkillSelect system. An EOI will be required before you can apply for a Victorian visa nomination.

Read here

South Australia (SA)
Applications closed until early August. Will re-open subject to allocation of new quota. The South Australian Government states: “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.”
Read here

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Program to be temporarily closed until quota received from the DOHA. The ACT Government states: “The ACT Nomination Program (including the Canberra Matrix) will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21.”
Read here

Queensland (QLD)
Currently closed. Will reopen upon allocation of new quota. The Business & Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) states: “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. Please note:  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.

BSMQ appreciates your patience in these challenging COVID-19 times. We thank you for your commitment to Queensland and look forward to opening the business and skilled migration program as soon as is possible.”

Read here

“Currently open” status

Currently open status implies that applicants meeting current criteria can apply for EOI and Nomination application if invited by state authority. However, nominations will only be issued once the quota is allocated to the respective state and territory for this financial year.

Who Will Be Affected?

There are no effects on those who already hold 189, 190 and 491 visas. Applicants who have previously received invitations will not be affected.

Applicants who have lodged EOIs and have not been invited may be affected.

We are still encouraging potential applicants to consider making the necessary preparations for when the program does re-open, which could include:

  • Skills assessments
  • English test
  • Gaining skilled employment
  • Gaining work experience in the relevant State or Territory

How we can help

We understand what impact this may have on thousands of applicants who have been preparing for a skilled visa application. If this affects you, please contact us and book an appointment for a consultation. We are Registered Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers and can assist you finding a solution for your immigration problems by putting a strategy in place that leads you to Permanent Residency and Citizenship in the fastest and most affordable way.

At Northern Immigration Australia, we are committed to staying informed with the changes in Australian immigration law and we will provide further updates as they arise.

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2 Comments

  1. Denis Ngeno on August 2, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Hello Northern Immigration Australia!
    Does it affect visa subclass 482?
    Regards,
    Denis.

    • Northern Immigration Australia on August 3, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Denis,
      The changes apply to the General Skills Migration (GSM) program which includes Subclasses 189, 190 and 491.
      Subclass 482 Visa is not affected yet. However, we are expecting changes to the Skills Occupation Lists which will impact migrants applying for the 482 Visa.
      You can subscribe to our newsletter here for regular updates, or book a consultation for advice and assistance here

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