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Australian Migration Program on hold

The start of the new financial year in Australia on 1st July is usually an exciting yet sometimes nervous time for Australian migration agents and lawyers as well as for prospective migrants. It is the date when the new migration program starts with fresh visa quotas, allocations, revised lists of occupations on Federal and State Governments level.

This year, the migration program in Australia did not commence on 1st July as planned.  The Department of Home Affairs has not released their quotas for available visa places nor has it given the State governments their visa nomination allocation for the new migration year. Without visa places being allocate, State Governments are unable to sponsor prospective migrants on skilled and other visas.

There is no indication when the program will re-open. Some suggest the program might remain closed as long as the Australian borders are shut due to Covid-19.  Some believe allocations might be issued between August and October when the Federal Government sets its budget.

This means that aspiring applicants for Skilled Migrant visas including subclass 190, 491 (and some 189 visa applicants) as well as certain business visa applicants will not be able to apply for Australian visas for the time being.

A State nomination is mandatory for applicants whose occupations are on the Short-Term or Regional Skilled Occupation List.

With the points pass mark required for an invitation for the 189 Skilled Independent remaining at sky rocket high 95 points (*based on invitation round results from April 2020) and only 50 applicants invited, those with occupations on Medium and Long-Term Skilled occupation list resort to applying for State Nomination which might not require such a high point score. This means that unless points required for the 189 visa invitation go down, the demand for State Sponsorship will be as great as ever. As each State has a limited number of places, only best candidates will be selected.


The Victorian Government’s state nomination program will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21.

In the meantime, you will not be able to apply for the following state nomination visas:

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa
  • Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) visa
  • Business Innovation stream (subclass 188A) (Provisional) visa
  • Investor stream (subclass 188B) (Provisional) visa
  • Significant Investor stream (subclass 188C) (Provisional) visa
  • Entrepreneur stream (subclass 188E) (Provisional) visa
  • Significant Business History (subclass 132A) (Permanent) visa
  • Venture Capital Entrepreneur (subclass 132B) (Permanent) visa


New South Wales

NSW is currently closed to applications for nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).

NSW will open to new nominations once the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs provides us with an allocation of positions for 2020-21. Invitation rounds for NSW nomination under the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) will also commence at this time.

At this stage we are unable to advise when this will occur.”


The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020-2021 program year. While applications for state nomination by Tasmania remain open and will continue to be considered, no nominations can be made in SkillSelect until quotas are allocated.

Migration Tasmania currently does not have an indication of the size of the 2020 -2021 nomination quota and cannot guarantee all eligible applicants will be nominated.”



“BSMQ has been advised by the Department of Home Affairs (HA) that it will not be in a position to open the 2020/21 migration program on 1 July 2020.

As a consequence, BSMQ’s business and skilled migration program will remain closed on 1 July 2020 until further notice. Please note:  BSMQ will not be accepting any Expressions of Interests (EOIs) submitted on Skillselect from 1 July 2020.  We will post an advice on this website, should the situation change.

BSMQ appreciates your patience in these challenging COVID-19 times. We thank you for your commitment to Queensland and look forward to opening the business and skilled migration program as soon as is possible.”


Australian Capital Territory

“The ACT Nomination Program (including the Canberra Matrix) will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21.”


South Australia

South Australia’s General Skilled Migration (GSM) program for the 2019/20 financial year has closed. Immigration SA will no longer be accepting application for 190/491 state nomination visas. Applications received prior to program closure will continue to be processed. The GSM 2020/21 program year is scheduled to re-open from early August.  Information relating to updated occupation lists, nomination requirements and criteria will be made available closer to program launch date.”

Western Australia

“WA Migration Services is awaiting allocation of State nomination places from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for the 2020-21 program year. Invitation rounds have been paused during this time.
We will continue to assess applications received. Nominations in SkillSelect from 1 July 2020 will be dependent on DHA confirming allocation of places for the new program year.WA Migration Services appreciates your patience and looks forward to progressing the State migration program as soon as possible.”

What can you do now

Whilst we are waiting for the Skilled Migrant program to re-start, aspiring applicants for the Skilled Migrant Visa might consider taking steps to prepare their applications ready for lodgement as soon as the program re-opens.

This would include preparing things like:

  • Completing a thorough eligibility assessment.
  • Formal assessment of qualifications and work experience in their nominated occupations – in some instances, those assessments might take 2-4 months to complete.
  • Sitting an English language test.
  • Applying for any registration or licencing if required.
  • Completing documents for future visa application.
  • Look for jobs in Australia to apply for the Employer Sponsored visa.

If you need assistance with any of the steps above, please contact our expert Australian migration team on 0207 427 5290 or [email protected]

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