Skilled Migration Process

Points Test Changes

Points Test Changes

Meeting the pass mark of the points test is one of the main requirements for the entry of skilled migrants into Australia. The current pass mark is set at 65 and the points are awarded for particular attributes that are linked to applicants’ abilities to contribute to Australia’s economy and society. Recently published legislation introduced an updated points system for the General Skilled Migration visas that will become operational in November 2019. The changes include additional points for certain qualifications, for partner’s skills or English competency and for regional nominations.
Australia Points Test Changes


The changes to the points test will apply to the new applications made after 16 November 2019 and to existing applications that were made before that date but not decided yet. However, no existing applications will be adversely affected as only additional points will be applied.

Points Test Amendments
  • 15 points for regional nomination or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia. Currently 10 points.
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications. Currently 5 points.
  • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner under 45 years old with Competent English, suitable skills assessment and with an occupation on the same skilled occupation list. Currently 5 points.
  • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with Competent English. Currently not applicable.
  • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner. Currently not applicable.


The aim of the points test changes is to maximise the benefits to the Australian economy and communities and ensure that Australia continues to select the best and brightest professionals for permanent residency places.

Awarding additional points for applicants nominated by a State or Territory Government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in a designated regional area, is designed to improve regional economic development and boost population growth of the remote communities.

Additional points for STEM qualifications are in line with the findings of of the Productivity Commission in its 2016 Report “Migrant Intake into Australia” and are designed to address a STEM skills shortage. These skills are vital for Australia’s future productivity, innovation and economic success.

STEM Qualifications
  • biological sciences
  • chemical sciences
  • earth sciences
  • mathematical sciences
  • natural and physical sciences
  • other natural and physical sciences
  • physics and astronomy
  • computer science
  • information systems
  • information technology
  • other information technology
  • aerospace engineering and technology
  • civil engineering
  • electrical and electronic engineering and technology
  • engineering and related technologies
  • geomatics engineering
  • manufacturing engineering and technology
  • maritime engineering and technology
  • mechanical and industrial engineering and technology
  • other engineering and related technologies
  • process and resources engineering

The extra points for skilled spouses or de facto partners is also based on a recommendation of the Migrant Intake into Australia report. Given the significant share of secondary applicants in the permanent skill immigration, it is important that secondary applicants with skills and other advantageous employment-related characteristics have a bigger contribution to the points score of the primary applicant.

English proficiency is a key factor affecting migrants’ employability and overall integration into Australian society. The extra five points for partners with competent English will provide further incentives to improve partners’ English competency prior to migration.

The additional points for singles will ensure that a single person with identical skills to a primary applicant with a skilled spouse or de facto partner will not be disadvantaged in the points test.


When all points except partner qualifications are equal, invitations will be ranked in the following order:

  • First – primary applicant with a skilled spouse or de facto partner
  • Equal First – primary applicant without a spouse or de facto partner
  • Second – Primary applicant with a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English but no suitable skills assessment or age
  • Third – Primary applicant with a partner who is not eligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points

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