Skilled Migration – What is an Expression of Interest?

Lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI) is an integral part of the skilled visa process.

What is an Expression of Interest?

When applying for a skilled visa – such as subclass 189, 190 or 491 – an applicant needs to successfully submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The EOI is an online application which includes personal details, skills assessment and English test results.

EOI’s are lodged online via SkillSelect and generate a point score. Points are awarded for the applicant’s age, highest qualification, work experience and more. You can calculate your points score using Visa Go Australia’s online calculator.

It is crucial an applicant completes an EOI correctly, as over-claiming points can result in a visa refusal. If you require migration advice you should consider booking a consultation with a Migration Agent.

EOI invitation rounds are changing

When lodging an EOI for a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) or Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491), applicants are subject to regular invitation rounds. Invitations are issued to those with the highest point score. Where applicants have the same points, the EOI submitted earliest will take precedence.

Invitation rounds generally take place once a month, however this is changing. The Department will run quarterly invitation rounds for the remainder of 2020-21 the program year. The last invitation round was run in January 2021. The results are yet to be published on the Department website.

EOI points score

Each month, invitation rounds are published on SkillSelect. The results are a good indication of how many points are required to secure an invitation, however COVID has temporarily skewed this.

The most recent results show that 65 points is enough to secure an invitation for a 189 visa, which many people will know has not been the case in years! In comparison, some applicants needed a minimum of 100 points last year.

The likelihood is that those securing invitations on 65 points will have occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This list was created to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and currently contains just 18 occupations. As expected, most roles are in healthcare.

Invitations are not guaranteed and an EOI will expire after 2 years.

How many points do I need for a skilled visa?

Applicants can lodge an EOI on 65 points, however in most cases meeting the minimum threshold is not enough to secure a visa invitation. It has been this way for years, as more people apply than there are spaces available, thus making it competitive.

At Visa Go Australia we believe an applicant requires at least 90 points to have a chance of securing a 189 visa. We do not anticipate this lessening any time soon.

If an applicant’s occupation is on the PMSOL, then there may be an opportunity to secure a visa invitation on 65 points. At Visa Go Australia we are yet to see this.

How can I increase my points?

There are two primary ways to increase your points score; The English Test and State Sponsorship (visa subclasses 190 and 491). State Sponsored visa categories (subclass 190 and 491) are not subject to invitation rounds. States choose applicants according to their skill shortages and own criteria. If State Sponsorship is approved, an applicant is invited to lodge a skilled visa soon after.

To secure State Sponsorship an applicant must check their occupation is on the state’s list.  Additionally, states set additional criteria such as financial capacity and providing employability evidence. The minimum points required to apply is 65, however the more points the better.

Currently State Sponsorship options are limited, with many temporarily closed to offshore applicants. However, we expect states to open up again in the next financial year (July 2021) as skills shortages in Australia grow. Tasmania recently opened to offshore applicants.

At Visa Go Australia we are advising clients on how they can be State Sponsorship ready. It is still possible to move forward with a skilled visa application.

To conclude

As Australia rebuilds its economy post-Covid, there are increasing reports of skill shortages and an outcry for overseas workers to fill these gaps. With state nomination being offered to a select number of occupations, we anticipate this to increase during 2021.

Please visit John Mason International’s visa partner, Visa Go Australia’s free points calculator to determine your skilled points score. Alternatively, you can seek advice from our licensed Migration Agent Darren Chatt MARN:0211214 by booking a consultation.

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