State Nomination Update February 2013

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Obtaining a state or territory nomination is one of the best ways to improve your chances of obtaining a General Skilled Migration visa.

Each state and territory produces a list of occupations in demand in their state.

Apart from differing occupations lists, states and territories all have different requirements which need to be met for state nomination.

This article aims to give a summary of the requirements in each state so that you have a better idea of which states and territories may be interested in nominating you.

Which Visa Types are State/Territory Nominated?

States and territories can nominate for either the Skilled - Nominated Subclass 190 visa, or the Skilled - Nominated or Sponsored Subclass 489 visa.

The Skilled - Nominated Subclass 190 visa is a permanent visa which allows you to live in any area of the state or territory, including the capital.

The Skilled Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) Subclass 489 Visa is a 4-year temporary visa. Whilst on this visa, you can only live, work or study in a regional area of Australia. To qualify for permanent residence, you must live in a regional area for two years, and work full time in a regional area for at least 12 months.

As it is a permanent visa, the subclass 190 is generally more advantageous. However, it can be easier to qualify for the subclass 489 visa for the following reasons:

  • The list of possible occupations for nomination is generally longer than for the subclass 190 visa
  • 10 points are available for regional nomination versus 5 for the subclass 190 visa

Advantages of State Nomination

State nomination can greatly assist applicants for General Skilled Migration in a number of ways. State nominated applicants for subclass 190 and subclass 489 visas have many advantages over independent and family sponsored applicants, for instance:
  • Extra Points: 5 points are available for nomination to live in a metropolitan area, and 10 points for regional areas
  • Wider list of Occupations: People nominated by state and territory governments can nominate any occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL - 641 occupations) whereas independent and family sponsored applicants must nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL - 192 occupations).
  • EOI Invitations: Once the state nomination is finalised, an EOI invitation is usually issued automatically. Otherwise, applicants must wait for an automated invitation round which is based on the points score of each applicant.

Occupations in Demand

The following occupations are the ones generally in most demand by states and territories:
  • Engineers
  • Nurses
  • Medical Practitioners, including GPs and specialist medical practitioners
  • Allied health such as physiotherapist, occupational therapists, psychologists
  • Teachers - secondary, primary and pre-primary
  • Metal Trades such as welders, fitters and metal fabricators
  • Accountants
  • Building industry occupations such as surveyors, architects
  • Building trades such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers
  • Automotive trades such as motor mechanics, motor electricians, panel beaters and vehicle painters
  • IT occupations such as software engineers, business analysts and systems administrators
However, the above is not a comprehensive list of occupations in demand, and there are some surprising occupations on some state lists. For instance, the occupation of driving instructor is in demand in WA, but nowhere else in the country!

Comparison of State Lists

South Australia has the longest list of possible occupations with 215 occupations on their State Migration Plan list, and 290 additional occupations which are considered for "offlist" nominations. Currently only international students completing studies in South Australia are eligible for "offlist" nomination for South Australia.

The ACT list has 341 occupations and this reflects a serious skills shortage in the ACT. However, if an applicant is resident in Australia, they must generally show that they have lived and worked in the ACT for at least 3 months in their occupation to be eligible for nomination by the ACT.

Queensland has the shortest list with some 52 occupations on their subclass 489 list and only 38 occupations on their Subclass 190 list. Nomination by Queensland is by invitation only, and it is not possible for visa applicants to initiate the nomination process with Queensland.

NSW is somewhat unique in that the list of occupations on their subclass 190 list is actually longer than the list for subclass 489. As a result, for most applicants it may be easier to obtain a nomination for a permanent visa than a provisional visa for NSW.

English Language Requirements

Many states and territories have higher requirements for English language ability than are required by the Department of Immigration for visa purposes:
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT): Minimum of 7 in each band of IELTS, or 8 for "Limited" or "offlist" nominations
  • Northern Territory (NT): Minimum of 6 in each band of IELTS, with some occupations requiring 7 average in IELTS
  • Queensland (Qld): Generally a minimum of 7 in each band of IELTS, with trade occupations requiring 6 minimum
  • South Australia (SA): Varies, but generally a minimum of 6.5 in each band, with some occupations requiring 7 in each band
  • Victoria (Vic): Either minimum of 6 in each band of IELTS or 7 minimum for some occupations
The following states do not appear to have any requirements over and above the visa requirement of 6 minimum in each band of IELTS:
  • Tasmania (Tas)
  • Western Australia (WA)
  • New South Wales (NSW)

Work Experience Requirements

There is no minimum work experience requirement for subclass 190 and 489 visas. However, many states have work experience requirements, for example:
  • ACT: people living in Australia must show that they have worked in the ACT for at least 3 months in their occupation
  • NT: most occupations require either 3 or 5 years of post-qualification work experience in the occupation
  • Qld: between 2 and 7 years of work experience depending on occupation.
  • SA: generally require 12 months of work expeirence, and some occupations require either 2 or 3 years
  • Vic: either 2 or 5 years of experience, apart from Victorian graduates
  • Tas: generally require 5 years of experience

NSW and WA appear to have no work experience requirement for most applicants.

International Students

Most states and territories have a streamlined process for international students completing studies in the relevant state or territory. For example
  • Northern Territory (NT): Graduates completing qualifications from Charles Darwin University taking at least 2 years are generally eligible for nomination
  • South Australia (SA): Recent international graduates who studied in South Australia do not in general require any work experience
  • Tasmania (Tas): Tasmanian graduates generally need to show only 3 months of work experience rather than the usual 5 years for most applicants

Off list nominations are also possible in some states for those students who completed their 2 years of study.

The requirements may be quite difficult for interstate graduates for some states or territories (ie students who did not complete studies in the relevant state or territory). For example:

  • Western Australia (WA): Interstate graduates would need to have a job offer in WA in their nominated occupation
  • South Australia (SA): interstate graduates need at least 12 months or work experience and must have completed at least 6 months of work experience in South Australia and be currently residing in the state. Also only a provisional visa will be available in these circumstances.


The above information hopefully gives you an idea of the different criteria which apply for state nomination.

The criteria for state nomination change constantly and many states have occupation-based quotas which mean that places may run out during the program year.

For up to date advice on your eligibility for state nomination, please book an immigration consultation to arrange a consultation.

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