If you are looking to move to Australia and work here on a skilled visa under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, you will need to first qualify for your visa.
There are points based visas (Skilled Independent, Skilled Nominated or Skilled Regional) and also temporary and permanent non-points based (sponsored) visas available, but if you wish to apply for a points based visa you will need enough points to receive an invitation to lodge an application.
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) operate a points system and if you want to know if you have a chance of qualifying for one of these points based visas, you will need to see how many points you might get.
There are lots of points calculators to be found on the Internet and some are quite whizzy. You know, answer some questions selecting your answers from the drop-down menus and all of a sudden, your points total appears at the foot of the page.
No such technology here, but not many of those websites will tell you this…
Australia opens its doors mainly to young, intelligent, skilled and qualified people, people with good English language skills, people that can offer something to Australia. It is a very selective process.
For older people, people without skills, people who do not speak good English, the answer is almost certainly “No”.
That is a very cold and hard view of how the system works, but it is probably a true reflection of how it is for the vast majority of people looking to move to Australia. That said, there are over 130 different types of visas and there will be, as there always have been in the past, exceptions to the above rules.
The list of exceptions is probably quite long, from refugees to the extremely rich. But for the vast majority, it’s all about age, qualifications, skills, understanding of the English language and very often, points.
It can be very difficult working out whether you are in a position to lodge an application or not and if you need professional assistance, do check out my Visa Assessment Service.
So, grab yourself a low tech pen and an even lower tech scrap of paper and work out how many points you might get right now.
First, you get points for your age:
The basic requirement is that you are under the age of 50, but if you are…
- Age 45 – 49 you can apply but you get 0 points for your age.
- Age 40 – 44 = 15 points
- Age 33 – 39 = 25 points
- Age 25 – 32 = 30 points
- Age 18 – 24 = 25 points
Update: Some people are unsure about how many points they get for their age, it’s very simple. Example; somebody who is 39 years and 11 months old still falls into the 33 – 39 years category. Only when they turn 40 do they go into the 40 to 44 category.
Command of the English language:
- Superior = 20 points
- Proficient = 10 points
- Competent = 0 points
Your English language skills are assessed using the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. There are four parts to this test, speaking, reading, listening and writing. To be superior, you will need to score a minimum of 8 for each. To be proficient, you need to score at least 7 for each part and to be competent you need to score 6 as a minimum for each of the four.
If you hold a passport from the UK, the USA, Ireland, Canada or New Zealand, you automatically qualify as competent, but that still gives you zero points. If you need more points, you will need to sit the test. For other passport holders, even though competent doesn’t score you any points, you still need to take the test toprove your competency to continue.
Please be aware that there are two types of IELTS test; the General test and the Academic test. The general IELTS is the standard English test, and the Academic is required by certain academic or medical/specialist occupations. The test that you take largely depends on what is required by the kind of work that you do and/or the requirement of potential sponsors.
To apply for a Skilled Independent visa you do not require sponsorship, but your occupation must be on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).
To apply for a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa your skill also has to be on the SOL mentioned above and you need to be sponsored by an Australian relative who lives in a designated area, or your job needs to be on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) AND the respective state and territory shortage lists and you need to be nominated by a state or territory government. In either of these two situations you will score an extra 10 points (regional earns higher points).
To apply for a Skilled Nominated visa you will need nomination by a state or territory government and your skill must be on CSOL AND the above-mentioned State/Territory Nominated Skilled list. This will score you an additional 5 points.
Often State and territory lists have special requirements including higher English , minimum work experience, job offers etc which you must meet before they will nominate.
Work experience in your nominated skill:
You can get extra points depending upon how much time you have spent being employed in your nominated skill. How many years experience do you have out of the last 10 years in your nominated occupation? This can sometimes include work in a closely related occupation.
If your work experience is from overseas…
- Three years = 5 points
- Five years = 10 points
- Eight years = 15 points
But you will get more points for work experience gained in Australia in your nominated occupation…
- One year = 5 points
- Three years = 10 points
- Five years = 15 points
- Eight years = 20 points
- Doctorate degree = 20 points
- Bachelor degree = 15 points
- Australian Diploma or trade qualification = 10 points
- A successful authorised skills assessment in a recognised qualification = 10 points
There are several ways to earn extra points:
- Studying a course in Australia that meets certain requirements = 5 points
- By meeting the Australian Study Requirement (above) while studying in a regional area = 5 points
- NAATI accreditation = 5 points
- By completing a Professional Year course specified by the Minister = 5 points
- If your partner meets the basic requirements for a skilled migration visa = 5 points
Having spoken to my MARA agent, I can now clear up the following.
A partner can assist with 5 points if they:
- were under 50 years of age at the time of the application;
- had at least competent English (prescribed passport holder or 6 in all 4 IELTS modules);
- had nominated an occupation on the same skilled occupation list as the main applicant’s nominated occupation (can’t mix and match with SOL and CSOL);
- have been assessed by the relevant assessing authority as having suitable skills for the nominated occupation (formal assessment).
How many points do you need?
The current qualifying point score to receive an invitation to lodge an application is 60.
If you have lodged an Expression of Interest ( EOI) in any of the points based skilled visas, then you will need a minimum 60 points to receive an invitation, but invitations are issued to the highest scoring EOIs so the qualification score may not guarantee success.
This is a statement I have had verified through official channels:
“The current qualifying point score is 60. If you are applying for a Skilled Independent visa, then you will need a minimum 60 points to do so, but invitations are issued to the highest score.
If you are applying for a Skilled Nominated visa, then you still need 60 points but you will be allocated the 5 ‘nomination‘ points by selecting that nominated visa sub-class so you will meet the minimum 60 points upon lodgement of the EOI.
When you apply for the state sponsorship (which must be approved by the state government or territory) you must include your EOI reference. When the state nomination is approved, the nomination points will be confirmed on the system and the invitation will be issued by DIBP automatically.
If you are applying for a Skilled Nominated visa or Skilled Regional visa, then you must ensure that the score you will achieve, once the nomination is approved (and the points confirmed) meets at least the qualifying score of 60 points. Beware of (usually) age changes which may decrease your points score after lodgement of your EOI as this will mean your score will not meet the qualifying score or you will not be able to support the age points when the application is assessed.
Getting the required number of points does not guarantee you an invitation as it depends upon availability of spaces within the selected ANZSCO occupation quota (ceiling) and also how competitive your score is. Invitations are issued to those with the highest score. Once an invitation has been issued, you will then have 60 days to lodge a visa application based upon your EOI submission (amended where required).”
If you want the full details you can get them directly by visiting border.gov.au
What if you don’t get enough points?
It’s not always over if you don’t get enough points, there’s often things you can do to improve your tally. Just about the only thing you cannot change is your age, but you could, for example, try and improve your IELTS score, wait until you have a few more years experience or maybe come here to Australia to study.
It is important to also understand that there are many visa types, including skill-based visas that are not points-based, but instead are based on employment sponsorship and also partner visas and parent visas. So if you don’t score enough points, there may be other pathways you can go down.
Want to know exactly how many points you have?
Not only exactly how many points you have, but whether you have a realistic chance of lodging a successful visa application or not. I know this process can be very confusing, I know it can be very difficult to work out how many points your qualifications are worth, how many points you might get for your work experience, whether your skill is on one of the skills lists, none of these things are straight forward.
That’s why I have a MARA registered migration agent working with me on this website who can help you, you’ll be surprised at just how much information you will receive through my…
Please DO NOT ask me to calculate your points
Update November 2013
Please read before commenting below:
Many people are asking me how many points they get for their work experience, education, qualifications and even age. This points calculator is a guide only, how many points you actually get can often take a good deal of thorough investigation.
Where did you get your qualifications? Are your qualifications recognised here? Has your work experience been relevant? Do you have any work experience in a closely related environment?
The complications are too numerous to mention.
So it is impossible for me to calculate how many points any of you might be getting no matter how much information you give me.
Up until now I have tried to answer people with these questions, if you look at the answers I have given you will see how difficult or impossible that has been.
Only the questions about age, and maybe IELTS, have straightforward answers. By the way, if you’re not sure how many points you get for your age, please see my answers to those with the same questions below.