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General Skilled Migration Visas To Become More Competitive in 2019-20

skilled migration visas
Fewer General Skilled Migration Visas are due to be issued in 2019-20 and with a strong pipeline already in place the number of invitations likely to be issued will drop and Interstaff advise how to increase your chances of a successful application.

Written by Sheila Woods of Interstaff 30 May, 2019


The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed less invitations will be issued to skilled migrants for a General Skilled Migration visa in 2019-20. As per Interstaff’s previous article, last month in April only 100 invitations were issued for a Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa Australia-wide – the lowest amount offered in 2018-19. The trend continued in May’s round of invitations when only 100 invitations were issued, as seen in recent Skillselect figures.


Why is the Government issuing less invitations for a Subclass 189 Visa? | Skillselect

The number of invitations is likely to plateau over coming months to align with the Government’s migration program planning levels for 2019/20. The Department of Home Affairs recently advised the Migration Institute of Australia that invitations will be issued at a reduced rate for the remainder of the 2018-19 financial year saying,

“As we have held a steady high rate of Skilled Independent (subclass 189) invitations in the first three quarters of the 2018-19 Migration Program year, we now have a solid pipeline to take us through to the end of this program year and enter into the 2019-20 program year.”


Interstaff Insights | What this means for skilled migrants

Skillselect migration statistics show 39,137 Skilled Independent Visas were granted in 2017-18, however only 18,652 placements have been planned for 2019-20. This is a significant drop of almost 50% placements.

It’s important to note that the Skilled Independent category ceiling includes both the Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream and the Points-tested Stream. The number of people accepted for permanent residence through the New Zealand stream therefore directly affects the remaining number of Points-tested visas available to skilled migrants.

Department of Home Affairs figures show that 4,820 Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream Visas were granted in 2017-18, which suggests 34,317 visas were granted through the Points-tested Stream in 2017-18. If the same number of New Zealand Stream Visas are granted in 2019/20, this would only leave 13,832 visas available through the Points-tested Stream.

We can therefore expect invitations will be issued at a significantly reduced rate per month in 2019-20 – possibly only 1,152 invitations per month if the Department were to evenly distribute the number of invitations throughout the year.

As we saw in April and May 2019 when only 100 invitations were issued, less invitations result in greater competition among skilled migrants and a higher minimum number of points to qualify. Migrants had to achieve a minimum of 80 points to receive an invite in both April and May skillselect rounds.

This trend sets a very high standard for skilled migrants who lodge an Expression of Interest through Skillselect. Applicants may need to achieve well above the actual pass mark of 65 points to receive an invitation.

As invitation numbers are set to decrease in 2019/20, we encourage skilled migrants to claim the maximum number of points available to them before lodging their Expression of Interest through Skillselect. One way to maximise points is to live and work in regional areas. Changes will be introduced in November 2019 to award extra points to migrants who choose to live and work in regional areas.

In addition, while the ceiling has been reduced for Independent Skilled visas that allow migrants to live and work anywhere in Australia, 14,000 placements will become available for a new points-tested Skilled Work Regional Visa in 2019/20. Skilled migrants may wish to explore their options to live and work in regional areas as an alternative to the increasingly competitive General Skilled Migration program.


Interstaff assist people all over the world with the legal and professional process to travel or migrate to Australia for temporary work or permanent residence. Established in 1988, Interstaff has been trusted by migrating individuals and businesses for over 30 years and are the strongest group of experts for visa work in Australia. MARN: 0533879.