General Skilled Migration

Australia continues to welcome highly skilled migrants from overseas to settle permanently in Australia as permanent residents. The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is a points-based system which is administered by the Australian Department of Home Affairs to facilitate the smooth entry of highly skilled workers into Australia.

The major visa subclasses in the GSM program are as follows:

  • Skilled Independent (Subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional (Subclass 489)

Each GSM visa has its own set of "threshold" requirements and some may be points-tested. There are complex legislative requirements and departmental policies that underpin each visa subclass that aspiring migrants must meet in order to be successful in a visa application under the GSM program.


Since 1 July 2012, applicants wishing to be considered for a GSM visa must make an application to SkillSelect. If the applicant meets the points test and other relevant criteria, the Department of Home Affairs may then issue an invitation via SkillSelect for the applicant to apply for the relevant visa. There is no guarantee that applicants will be invited to apply for a visa.

It is also important for applicants to understand that there are important prerequisites that must be met by the applicant before a SkillSelect application is lodged. Potential applicants are strongly advised to seek the assistance of a competent migration agent to assist them in ensuring that all prerequisites are met before lodging their SkillSelect application.

Threshold requirements

An applicant under the GSM program must generally be under 45 years of age, have good English skills, have obtained a positive skills assessment from the relevant skills assessment authority, and meet other legislative requirements depending on the applicant's personal circumstances.

Points Test

Most GSM visas, including the most popular visa subclasses of 189 and 190, are points-tested. Applicants must meet the specified passmark in order to be considered for the grant of the particular visa subclass applied for.

Skills Assessment

A distinctive feature of the GSM program is that all GSM primary applicants are obliged to have their qualitications and/or work experience assessed by the relevant skills assessing authority. This is called the Pre-Application Skills Assessment (PASA). For example, all IT professionals wishing to apply for a GSM visa must have their qualifications and work experience assessed by the Australian Computer Society. Arlington Legal provides assistance and advice for our clients for the PASA stage where applicable.

Health and Character

All visa applicants must be of good character and must meet certain health requirements before the visa applied for can be granted.

Initial Assessment Service

If you would like to get an indication of your eligibility for a GSM skilled visa, please send us your details via our initial assessment form: