Skilled professionals and business people cannot apply directly for visas in Skilled and Business Migration programmes and must first lodge an Expression of Interest (EoI) through SkillSelect. An EoI is an indication that an applicant is interested to be considered for a skilled visa. Candidates can be invited by the federal Government to lodge a visa application or can be nominated by state and territory governments to apply for a relevant visa.
An EoI is not a visa application and there is no fee for it. However, all people interested in professional or business migration need to submit an EoI in order to receive an invitation to lodge a visa application. EoI is kept in the SkillSelect system and is valid for two years. Incomplete EOIs are also stored for two years, but are not eligible to receive invitations.
Applicants can update their EoI at any time during the validity period to reflect any changes in their circumstances. However, candidates will not be able to obtain information on the likelihood of receiving an invitation or the ranking and progress of their EoI.
Applicants will be asked to provide relevant information depending on the visa they want to be considered for:
- Personal information and family composition
- Nominated occupation and skills assessment
- Work experience details
- Study and education records
- English test results
- Business and investment experience details
The government can set and vary priority processing arrangements for skilled migration programmes. The current order (with the highest priority listed first) is as follows:
- Applications in the Regional Sponsored Migration programme
- Applications in the Employer Nomination programme
- Applications nominated by a state or territory government
- Applications with nominated occupation on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List
- All other applications
Invitation rounds for the independent and skilled regional nominated visas are scheduled to run on the 11th day of each month, but the schedule is subject to change. Not everyone who completes an EoI will receive an invitation to apply for a visa. After each invitation round, the Department publishes on SkillSelect website the lowest test mark that allowed an EoI to be invited. This test mark provides candidates with an indication of the likelihood to receive an invitation in future.
If the invitation is received, applicants will have 60 days from the date of invitation to make a valid visa application online before the invitation expires. Late applications will not be valid and applicants will have to wait for another invitation. If no application is made after receiving two invitations, EoI will be removed from SkillSelect.