A Guide To Australian Points-Based Skilled Migration System

Are you searching for information about Australia’s points-based system for skilled migration? If so, this is the guide for you.

If you have landed on this page, you may be considering emigrating to Australia to start a new life but are not sure where to start. Like many countries, Australia operates a points-based immigration system that awards points to an applicant based on a number of criteria, skillset, and experience being important components of that scheme.

There are a variety of visas that people can apply for to work in Australia that caters to regional requirements, graduate positions, or temporary skill shortages, and the occupations that are sought can vary between visas.

We will cover the more general ‘Skilled Occupation List’ in another post. Regardless of the visa that you apply for, you will still need to qualify under the points-based system in most cases.

We will touch on the most important criteria of the points system later in this article, but the Australian Department of Home Affairs publish a list of skilled occupations they deem to be a high priority which, if you meet the other points conditions, can help accelerate your application.

The Australian Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

The ‘Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List’ identifies critical roles that currently need filling in Australia to support the economic recovery in the country in the wake of COVID-19. There are many routes to obtaining a visa to work in Australia, but any visa application or employer-sponsored nomination is given priority if the occupation being applied for is on the PMSOL.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List in Australia

Are You On The Australian Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List?

There are currently 44 occupations on the PMSOL at the time of writing. If the role you are applying for or being sponsored by an employer for is on the list below, your application will receive priority processing:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • External Auditor
  • Internal Auditor
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum)
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Industrial Pharmacist
  • Retail Pharmacist
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist
  • General Practitioner
  • Resident Medical Officer
  • Psychiatrist
  • Medical Practitioners nec
  • Midwife
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • Registered Nurses nec
  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Analyst Programmer
  • Developer Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec
  • ICT Security Specialist
  • Social Worker
  • Maintenance Planner
  • Chef

What Is Australia’s Points-Based System?

The Australian Migration Points System is a method of selecting labour migrants based on a set of criteria that are beneficial to the aims and needs of Australia. In practice, this means if you want to apply for a Visa to work in Australia, you must meet the criteria. In Australia the main areas that points are awarded for are:

  • Educational qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Language proficiency

The points system provides some flexibility to applicants in that if they lack in some areas, they can make up for them in others.

Many countries adopt the view that Visa applicants should already have a job lined up (often referred to as having an employer ‘sponsor’ their application, but in Australia, it is possible to plan to migrate without a solid job offer in advance. However, applicants with an employer sponsor may accrue additional points or have their applications prioritised.

How Does The Australian Points-Based System Work?

How Does The Australian Points-Based System Work?

The different types of visas and their requirements are beyond the scope of this article, but we will examine how the points system works in relation to the skilled immigration program. Let’s go through the main categories of points in turn.


Points are awarded according to the age group that the applicant falls into, the younger you are, the more points you get.

  • 18-24 – 25 points
  • 25-32 – 30 points
  • 33-39 – 25 points
  • 40-44 – 15 points
  • 45-49 – 0 points

English Language Proficiency

Most applicants for Visas will be required to take an International Language Testing test (IELTS) unless they are native English speakers or have taken a degree in a University where English is the main language spoken. However, they should take the test anyway, as they can only be awarded points for having more than a competent use of English:

  • Superior (IELTS score of 8 or more) – 20 points
  • Proficient (IELTS score of 7 or more) – 10 points
  • Competent (IELTS score of 6 or more) – 0 points

Skilled Employment

Previous employment in a relevant skilled occupation also attracts points, either in Australia or another country. Applicable skillsets are those on Australia’s Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), the Regional Occupation List (ROL), or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) ROL List.

Applicants can accrue separate points for work in Australia and work outside of Australia, up to 20 points in total.

Skilled Work Experience In Australia

  • 1 year experience – 5 points
  • 3 years experience – 10 points
  • 5 years experience – 15 points
  • 8 years experience – 20 points

Skilled Work Experience Outside Of Australia

  • 3 years experience – 5 points
  • 5 years experience – 10 points
  • 8 years experience – 15 points

Educational Qualifications

Applicants will be awarded points for the highest level of educational qualification achieved below that is related to the applicant’s nominated application, so qualifications not related to the occupation that they are applying in relation to will be ignored.

  • Doctorate – 20 points
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree – 15 points
  • Australian Diploma or trade qualification – 10 points
  • Award or qualification recognised by the assessing authority in the assessment of the skilled occupation – 10 points

All qualifications must be comparable to Australian qualifications and recognised as so.

 A further 5 points can be obtained for each of the following:

  • Australian qualifications such as a degree, diploma, or trade qualification completed in an Australian institution in the last 2 years.
  • Regional study qualifications – an Australian qualification earned in an Australian regional or low population growth metropolitan area.
  • Community language skills at the translator/interpreter level for one of Australia’s designated community languages – must be Australia’s National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) recognised.
  • Spouse/partner skills and qualifications – if the applicants’ partner is included on the Visa application and are not an Australian resident, their skills can be taken into account for calculating the applicants’ points, but they still need to fulfil the migration basic requirements of age, English language, and nominated occupation.
  • Professional year experience also awards an additional 5 points if the applicant has completed an approved ‘Professional year’ in Australia in the past 4 years.

Nomination And Sponsorship

Applicants sponsored by an Australian state or Territory government may also receive additional points.

  • Nomination by a State or Territory government for a Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) application – 5 points
  • Nomination by a State or Territory government for a Skilled Nominated or Sponsored visa (Provisional) (Subclass 489) application – 10 points

Applicants must score a minimum of 65 points to be eligible for a visa.

Hopefully, this article has demystified the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List and the Australian Migration Points System somewhat, but to summarise the main takeaways from this article are:

  • The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List is a list of priority occupations from the General Skilled Occupation List that can help prioritise your migration application.
  • The Australian Migration Points System will assess your general suitability across a range of criteria.
  • Achieving enough points in the Australian Migration Points System is still required in all cases before you can be considered for a visa.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and that the guide has given you a better understanding of the Australian Points-Based Skilled Migration System.  If you are looking for skilled migration assistance or have any questions about migrating to Australia, please do not hesitate to contact Southern Cross Personnel today on Tel: +61 (0) 8 8155 6025.

Southern Cross Personnel is a trusted international recruitment agency In Australia that provides employment and migration assistance for overseas skilled workers. They have the expertise to handle your case.

Please note that the information on this page is subject to change without notice and is only given as a guide. For more information on the Australian Points-Based Skilled Migration System, please visit the Australian Government website here.

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