From the 1st of July 2018, the Australian Government has raised the minimum migration points threshold from 60 to 65 points for Australian General Skilled Migration Visas, including Visa Subclass 189. This is one of the biggest changes to Australia’s immigration policy in recent years and represents a significant impact on numerous individuals who apply for immigration to Australia.
The increased threshold of 65 migration points will make it more difficult for prospective immigrants but there are still multiple ways in which to increase their points test score:
- Improve English Language Ability Scores;
- Accreditation in a Community Language;
- Study in Regional Australia
- Professional Year Completion; and
- Partner Skills.
English language ability
Obtaining a high score on one of the English tests is one of the fastest ways to meeting the requisite amount of points. In the immigration system, English skills has three categories of proficiency: Competent English, Proficient English, and Superior English. Applicants will generally take either the IELTS or PTE test to obtain certification of their English proficiency.
The below is a scale noting proficiency requirements and the respective migration points:
6.0 or above on each band ——- Competent English ——- 0 migration points
7.0 or above on each band ——- Proficient English ——- 10 migration points
8.0 or above on each band ——- Superior English ——– 20 migration points
50 or above on each band ——- Competent English ——- 0 migration points
65 or above on each band ——- Proficient English ——- 10 migration points
79 or above on each band ——- Superior English ——– 20 migration points
Accredition in a Designated Community Language
Applicants can obtain 5 migration points if they are accredited at the para-professional level or above in translating or interpreting by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in a language they offer accreditation in.
There are two ways to obtain accreditation from NAATI:
Certification Testing: individuals are required to complete a NAATI Endorsed Course prior to sitting the certification test. There are specific entry requirements for NAATI Endorsed Courses and it is recommended that applicants make their own enquiries to ensure that the course is NAATI Endorsed;
- Credentialed Community Language (CCL) Test: The CCL Test is open for bookings and does not have any prerequisites before taking the test. Individuals who pass this test can obtain their 5 migration points, although it should be noted that passing the test does not enable them to work as a professionally certified translator or interpreter.
Study in Regional Australia
The Australian government has recently been focusing efforts in encouraging overseas students to live and study in regional Australia. This is a readily available method in which students can secure 5 migration points where they study in these regional areas for two or more years.
There are no requirements as to the type of course or major being studied. Additionally, there are no requirements for a course of study to be completed within a specific regional area. However, students must be able to demonstrate that they have studied in a regional area for a minimum two year period. It should be noted that distance education does not meet this requirement.
Professional Year Completion
The Professional Year Program is a program offered to international students that aims to enhance their job readiness. The program includes courses for accounting, computer science and engineering and typically run for 12 months including a work experience component.
By completing the Professional Year Program, graduates can claim 5 migration points.
Where an applicant applies for immigration with a partner, it may be possible for the applicant to claim 5 migration points based on their partner’s skills.
The partner of the application must:
- Be under 45 years of age
- Have competent English proficiency (refer to the scale above);
- Not already have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency;
- Have already completed a skills assessment that shows they have suitable skills for their nominated occupation; and
- Accompany you to Australia
Please note that the occupations of both the applicant and partner/spouse needs to be listed on the same skilled occupation list. For example, if the occupation of the applicant is listed under the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) while the partner’s is under the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), then they will not be eligible to claim partner skills points.
The change in immigration policy has made it harder to migrate to Australia. Due to the constantly changing and complex nature of migration law, we recommend that you speak to one of our migration law experts to provide you with tailored advice and options available to you.