On the 24th of August 2023, the Department of Home Affairs published the visa category and state allocations for the Permanent Migration Program for this financial year (2023-2024). Although the total allocation for this financial year at 190,000 is just 5,000 places lower than the previous year, on-hand and undecided Permanent Resident (PR) visa applications were counted as part of this allocation. This has then brought down the places available for new applications for most of the PR visa categories including the state allocations for the 190 and 491 visas.
Here are the places received for each state and for each visa category:
- ACT, 600 each for both 190 visa and 491 visa
- NSW, 2,650 for 190 visa and 1,500 for 491 visa
- NT, 250 for 190 visa and 400 for 491 visa
- QLD, 900 for 190 visa and 650 for 491 visa
- SA, 1,100 for 190 visa and 1,200 for 491 visa
- TAS, 600 each for both 190 visa 491 visa
- VIC, 2,700 for 190 visa and 600 for 491 visa
- WA, 1,500 for 190 visa and 850 for 491 visa
The full details of the Permanent Migration Program budget can be found at https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/what-we-do/migration-program-planning-levels.
With these fewer than expected nomination places per state, it is anticipated that selection of applications will be a highly competitive process. Since most of the states are still deciding on which skilled occupations they plan to capture and the caliber of the applicants that they will invite to apply, it is best for applicants to ensure that they are ready when the nominations open again. Note that at the time of writing this article on 3 September 2023, many states are still not accepting new sponsorship applications.
One of the key criteria when applying for the state nomination is satisfying all the 190 or 491 visa criteria which relies mostly on how the applicant can satisfy the points test as claimed on the applicant’s Expression of Interest (EOI). Considering this, here are some tips to ensure that your application is ready at the time the state nominations open for this financial year.
1. Recheck your migration points and see if you are still eligible for the visa you are applying for.
Your points might have increased or decreased depending on your current circumstances. For example, if you recently turned 33 years old, then the points for your age would have become 25 points instead of the 30 points you initially claimed when you were below 33. Your work experience points would have also increased if you recently reached 12 months of working in your nominated occupation (working for at least 20 hours per week).
2. Make sure your English test and skills assessment are still valid.
Your English test is valid for three years from your test date. Skills assessments are valid two or three years from the assessment date, depending on the assessing body. If there are less than three months left on your English test and/or skills assessment validity, retaking your exam and/or getting a fresh skills assessment is best.
3. Look for ways to increase your points
Since the competition in getting an invitation to apply for a state nomination is high, it would be beneficial for you to find ways to increase your migration points. For example, retaking your English test so you can achieve a higher score for each band. Getting at least 79 in each band of PTE Academic (or equivalent) can get you additional 10 points under your English language capability score if you only have at least 65 in each band.
Once the state nomination criteria become available, carefully review the state’s requirements to check your eligibility. Lodge your application right away if you find that you are eligible. If not, seek advice or assistance from a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer for your other visa options.