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General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visas

What is a GSM Visa?

The GSM visa is relevant for experienced, skilled migrants who hold an occupation in demand in Australia and together with the members of their family unit would like to live, work or study in Australia permanently.

Three sub classes can be found under the GSM category:

  • Skilled Independent visa - subclass 189

  • Skilled Nominated visa - subclass 190

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa - subclass 491

Before applying for any of the visas under the GSM category, you must apply via the SkillSelect Program and submit your Expression of Interest (EOI).

What is EOI?

EOI is an online system which helps the Australian Government to monitor and select the best candidates in each occupation lists of the relevant visas based on the Australian market needs.

Your EOI application can be accessed by Australian employers and by the states and territory governments. If your EOI application matches their needs, you will be invited to apply for a visa.

Once invited to apply for a GSM visa, you must submit your visa within 60 days or your invitation will expire.

The EOI application is a point-based system, therefore each applicant must achieve at least 65 points to be able to apply for EOI. In most cases, due to the high demand for each occupation, a higher score is required to receive an invitation for a GSM visa.

It is important to notice that your EOI application stays active for up to two years.

How to calculate points for the EOI?

Based on the point system - the higher the score you can achieve on the EOI, will increase your chances to receive an invitation to apply for a GSM visa.

There are two main sections for accumulating points for the EOI:

The mandatory section, which the candidate must satisfy the minimum requirements but will get additional points for exceeding them.

The second section, which the candidate can accumulate extra points based on their personal circumstance, qualifications and professional experience.

Here is the breakdown of the two sections:


The following categories are required for the EOI application

  • Age – You must be younger than 45 when invited to apply for the GSM visas. Age exemption might be accepted in some instances.

  • English level – You must hold at least a competent English level to apply for any GSM visas. Proficient or Superior English level will award extra points.

  • Occupation – you must hold an occupation within the occupation list of the specific visa applying for under the GSM visas.

  • Skills Assessment – you must hold a positive skills assessment approved by the relevant Australian assessing body for your nominated occupation.

The following categories can help add points to the EOI score

  • Work experience - you can collect points from either overseas work experience or Australian work experienced (or both). The more experienced you are, the more points you can gain against this criteria.  

  • Qualification - you can collect points from your overseas / Australian qualifications.

  • Local Australian studies - applicants who studied in Australia beyond 92 weeks can gain points as well as for studies which took place in rural areas in Australia.

  • Studying in regional area in Australia - you can collect 5 points if you studied in regional areas in Australia.

  • Designated Language- relevant for NAATI translators and Interpreters professionals

  • Having a partner or a single status - you have several options to gain points if you have a partner or if you are single.

  • Applying for a 190 visa will provide you with extra 5 points.

  • Applying for a 491 visa will provide you with extra 15 points.


Make sure you speak with a migration specialist to maximise your points.

What are the different GSM Visa Sub classes?

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) – Permanent resident visa

This visa allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. This stream is for applicants who wish to freely choose their employer and place of living, once arriving in Australia. This visa is considered the most flexible visa for permanent residents.


Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) stream – Permanent resident visa

This visa allows skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory government to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) stream – Temporary visa

This visa  Allows skilled people who are nominated by a state/ territory government to live and work in regional Australia. After three years you may be eligible to apply for your permanent visa.

What is the estimated waiting time to get a GSM visa?

EOI - 1 to 24 months. (Higher points applicants are treated as a priority)

Visa 189 – 12 months

Visa 190 – 10 to 12 months



LifeinAus specialises in GSM Visas, Permanent Residents and Skills Assessment.

Contact us today to check your eligibility

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