ACT Skilled Migration Nomination Requirements (190 and 491 visa)

ACT Skilled Migration Nomination Requirements (190 and 491 visa)

This financial year the ACT received 2,025 nomination places for the Skilled Nominated (190) visa, 2,025 nomination places for the Skilled Work Regional (491) visa subclass, and 10 nomination places for the Business Innovation and Investment Program. This is a significant increase in total nomination places, double that of last financial year.

As of Monday 17 April 2023:

  • 1,392 Provisional Skilled Regional Work visa (subclass 491) nominations, which means we have 633 nominations to go.
  • 1,175 Permanent Skilled Independent visa (subclass 190) nominations, which means we have 850 nominations to go.
  • 10 Business Innovation and Investment nominations, which means we have reached our allocation for this financial year. As such, the Business Innovation and Investment Program is now closed.

ACT still need to process 1,488 nominations or just over 600 nominations a month. You can therefore expect the number of invitations to increase, which will also likely result in lower minimum scores meriting an invitation. This means there are a few things you may wish to consider:

  • The minimum Canberra Matrix score required to receive an invitation to apply for ACT nomination of a 190 visa will likely continue to drop. The minimum Canberra Matrix score required to obtain an invitation for a 190 to date has been 70, though ACT have invited applicants at 65 points for certain priority occupations and / or occupations where ACT have not had many successful applicants for to date. These scores are not fixed and may drop further depending on occupation demand and the numbers of remaining places, Matrix submissions received, and migrants already nominated for that specific occupation. We encourage all interested applicants to submit a Canberra Matrix for 190 nomination.
  • Despite this, we believe, particularly overseas residents, are still more likely to receive an invitation under the 491 pathway. The minimum Canberra Matrix score required to obtain an invitation to date has been 60, though ACT have invited applicants at 50 points for overseas applicant, certain priority occupations, and / or occupations where we have not had many successful applicants for to date. These scores are not fixed and may vary depending on occupation demand and the numbers of remaining places, Matrix submissions received, and migrants already nominated for that specific occupation.

Please note: these scores are indicative only and no minimum scores are guaranteed. Depending on the number of Matrix submissions ACT receive (per occupation), the scores of those submissions, and the number of migrants we nominate (per occupation and by residency status), the scores above may increase or decrease.

Update to the ACT Nomination Guidelines and ACT Critical Skills List

Both the size and composition of the ACT migration program has changed considerably. As noted in our previous updates, these changes combined with continuing skills shortages in the ACT, have an impact on the ACT Skilled Migration program settings.

Here is the revised ACT Critical Skills list. When compiling the ACT Critical Skills list, ACT rely on a wide range of indicators, including but not limited to vacancy rates, employment levels, projected employment growth, and predicted retirements per occupation as well as industry and stakeholder feedback. Once the list will be published on the ACT website as soon as possible, it will take immediate effect. The continuing skills shortages mean that a further 128 occupations have been added to the list. One occupation has been removed.

ACT Migration has also made changes to the ACT Nomination Guidelines. The changes focus on making it easier for prospective migrants to apply for ACT nomination and clarifying language or current policies where necessary. Please see the revised guidelines here for ACT and Overseas residents. A summary of the key changes can be seen here. This list only includes key policy changes, it does not include instances where language has been adjusted to clarify current policy settings. These changes will take immediate effect once published on the ACT website and current policy settings will not be applied retroactively. This means that a Canberra Matrix submitted in the last six months will be assessed against the new ACT Nomination Guidelines. The changes to the guidelines make it easier to apply for ACT nomination. As such, clients waiting in the queue are unlikely to be negatively impacted. Applications that were refused where a decision has been made after 20 March 2023 that would have been approved were the new guidelines in effect, can submit a request for reconsideration.

One key change that may impact applicants relates to the change to the Canberra Matrix scoring for overseas applicants in the ‘relevant overseas work experience’ category. Please see here the summary of key changes or the guidelines for further details.

Invitation rounds

You can expect the size of invitation rounds to steadily increase over the next few weeks.

Every month, ACT assess the number of nominations per occupation to ensure we are inviting a broad range of applicants. If an occupation is in a priority field and there are few Canberra Matrix submissions or nominations for it, ACT will consider lowering the minimum score for occupations on a case-by-case basis.

Related: ACT – Invitation Rounds

Lastly, the ACT Government continues to prioritise increasing the number of nominations for overseas residents. This means you will see an increase in the number of invitations for overseas residents. To date, this increased number of invitations has not yet translated into a higher number of nominations, with the majority of nominations still for applications from ACT residents.

Summary of key changes to the ACT Nomination Guidelines for Canberra Residents
Change Summary
1. Employment Criteria have been eased for ACT nomination of a 491 and 190 visa. ·         The minimum hourly requirement an applicant must work per week has been reduced (from 20 to 15 for a 491 and from 35 to 30 for a 190).

·         Employment does not need to be fully continuous. Applicants need to meet the employment requirements for a set number of weeks in a given period (13

weeks out of 15 for a 491 and 26 out of 30 for a 190).

2.  The minimum required English level has been lowered for those

applicants applying for ACT Nomination for a 491 visa.

·         Applicants can now obtain ACT nomination for a 491 visa with ‘Competent’ English at date of Canberra Matrix submission
3.  The minimum threshold for 482 visa holders has been reduced. ·         Applicants can now receive an invitation at 60 points.
4.  Applicants can claim Matrix points for length of ACT residence

when they have been away from Canberra for more than six weeks under certain conditions.

·         Applicants claiming more than 2 years of ACT residence can be away from Canberra for up to 12 weeks in a year.
5. Applicants can claim Canberra Matrix points for length of ACT residence when they have previously worked in Regional NSW (within commuting distance from the ACT) while living in the ACT. ·         Someone can claim ACT residence points for any period they were living in Canberra while working in Queanbeyan (for example) in addition to being able to claim points for any period they are living in Queanbeyan while working in Canberra.

·         Please note: the eligibility criteria have not changed, applicants must still work in Canberra at the date of Canberra Matrix submission to be eligible for ACT

nomination.

6.  The renomination policy has been amended. ·         Please read the new policy in the guidelines.
Summary of key changes to the ACT Nomination Guidelines for Overseas Residents
Change Summary
1. Employment Criteria have been eased for ACT nomination of a 491 and 190 visa. ·         Applicant no longer need to be employed at date of Canberra Matrix submission.

·         Applicants for ACT nomination of a 491 visa now need to have 1 year of relevant overseas work experience in the last five years.

·         Applicants for ACT nomination of a 190 visa no longer need a job offer, but instead three years of relevant overseas work experience in the last five years as well as an employability statement.

2.  The minimum required English level has been lowered for those

applicants applying for ACT Nomination for a 491 visa.

·         Applicants can now obtain ACT nomination for a 491 visa with ‘Competent’ English at date of Canberra Matrix submission
3. Relationship requirements for overseas applicants have been adjusted. ·         Applicants can claim point for a partner or spouse if they are in a de facto relationship if it is illegal for them to obtain a relationship certificate in their country of origin.

·         A waiver must be requested beforehand.

4. Points awarded for relevant overseas work experience have been adjusted. ·         Applicants claiming three to five years relevant overseas work experience can now claim 10 points instead of 5 and those claiming five to eight years overseas work experience can now claim 15 points instead of 10.
5.  The criteria to claim points for an ACT job offer have been

amended.

·         It is now easier for applicants to claim points for an ACT job offer, for specifics please consult the guidelines.
6.  To claim points for a spouse or partner’s employment has been

amended.

·         The applicant’s spouse or partner no longer needs to be employed at date of Canberra Matrix submission.
7.  The renomination policy has been amended. ·         Please read the new policy in the guidelines.

Onshore applicants – Canberra resident applicant eligibility

Visa subclass 190 Nomination Visa Subclass 491 Nomination
Occupation ·      Must be on the latest ACT Critical Skill List; OR

·      Occupation does not have to be in the critical skills list if: you are a 457/482 visa holder having worked in your nominated occupation for an ACT employer for the last 6 months; or small business owner.

·      Must be on the latest ACT Critical Skill List; OR

·      Occupation does not have to be in the critical skills list if: you are a 457/482 visa holder having worked in your nominated occupation for an ACT employer for the last 3 months; or small business owner.

Length of residency in ACT At least 6 months prior to lodging the nomination, and continue to live in ACT until the date of invitation At least 3 months prior to lodging the nomination, and continue to live in ACT until the date of invitation
Employment You worked in Canberra for a minimum of 35 hours per week in each of the 26 weeks up to the date you submit the Matrix

If you are self-employed, your income must be at least $1000/ week in each of the 26 weeks; and must have at least 12 months ACT activity on your ABN.

Small business owner requirement: please refer to this article

You worked in Canberra for a minimum of 20 hours per week in each of the 13 weeks up to the date you submit the Matrix

If you are self-employed, your income must be at least $520/ week in each of the 13 weeks; and must have at least 12 months ACT activity on your ABN.

Small business owner requirement: please refer to this article

English You meet the Department of Home Affairs requirement for proficient or superior’ English unless your nominated occupation:

·         is Chef 351311.

·         has an ANZSCO skill level 3 to 5.

You meet the Department of Home Affairs requirement for proficient’ or superior’ English unless your nominated occupation:

·         is Chef 351311.

·         has an ANZSCO skill level 3 to 5.

Spouse/ Partner If you have spouse/ partner, he/she must have lived in Canberra for the last six months, or living overseas.

Must have Competent English

If you have spouse/ partner, he/she must have lived in Canberra for the last three months or living overseas.

Must have Competent English.

 

Offshore applicant – Overseas applicant eligibility

Visa subclass 190 Nomination Visa Subclass 491 Nomination
Occupation Occupation must be on the ACT Critical Skill List, and you are working full time in your nominated occupation.

You hold the relevant Australian registration or licencing if it is required for your nominated occupation.

Occupation must be on the ACT Critical Skill List, and you are working full time in your nominated occupation.
Work Experience N/A You have at least three years full time, post graduate work experience in your nominated occupation
Job Offer You have a full-time job offer in your nominated occupation. The position must be Canberra and be available for at least two years. The employer:

·         must be a medium to large Australian enterprise (50 plus employees)

·         cannot be trading from a home, online or serviced office.

·         must have a genuine need to employ an overseas skilled worker.

·         must demonstrate that the position is relevant to the business; and cannot be filled from the local labour market.

No need a job offer in Canberra. However, you must write a statement explaining your employability in Canberra based on your skills and the ACT economy.
English You meet the Department of Home Affairs requirement for ‘proficient’ or ‘superior’ English; or you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland. You meet the Department of Home Affairs requirement for ‘proficient’ or ‘superior’ English; or you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
Spouse/ Partner Must meet competent English; and

Your spouse/partner any any dependents must be living overseas, and have not lived in Australia for the last 12 months, and do not hold an Australian visa (except Visitor visa)

Must meet competent English; and

Your spouse/partner any any dependents must be living overseas, and have not lived in Australia for the last 12 months, and do not hold an Australian visa (except Visitor visa)

 

ACT Critical Skills List

You can find the ACT Critical Skills List here.

Doctorate Streamlined Nomination

The ACT offers streamlined nomination for holders of a Doctorate completed at an ACT university. You will benefit from a simplified application process with minimal supporting documentation, priority processing and fee free.

Your nominated occupation does not have to be on the ACT Critical Skills List. You may nominate any occupation on the relevant Department of Home Affairs List of Eligible Skilled Occupations as long as you have the mandatory skill assessment.

  • If you are Canberra Resident: You are eligible to apply for ACT doctorate streamlined nomination if you have lived in Canberra for at least 12 months at time of invitation and completed a professional or research doctoral degree at an ACT university.
  • If you are interstate Resident or Overseas Resident: If you are living in another state or territory or overseas, you are eligible to apply for ACT doctorate streamlined nomination if you were awarded a professional or research doctoral degree from an ACT university within the last two years.

Canberra Matrix Score

You can check your Matrix Score at our Canberra Matrix Points Calculator

Related:

Canberra Matrix scoring – Canberra residents

The Canberra Matrix is completed for both ACT 491 nomination and ACT 190 nomination. If you are invited to apply for ACT nomination, your supporting documents must prove any Matrix score claimed.

CANBERRA RESIDENT
CATEGORY OPTION POINTS
LENGTH OF Current ACT residence

How long have you lived in Canberra in the last eight years?

·      Your bank statements must evidence your date of arrival and the claimed period of residence in Canberra.

·      You must record any period away from Canberra (seven days or more) in the ‘Summary of ACT residence’ at Attachment D.

·      Your claimed period of ACT residence does not have to be continuous.

·      You may have holidays away from Canberra for a maximum of six weeks in any year without it affecting your claim for a year of residence

·      You can study interstate for one or two days a week. However, if you studied more than two days (one night) a week interstate, you will not be considered an ACT resident for that period.

·      You cannot claim ACT residency for any period that you lived or worked interstate or overseas.

·      You can live in NSW if you are within a 30 minute commute to where you work in Canberra e.g., Queanbeyan.

Five years plus.

Four to five years.

Three to four years.

Two to three years.

One to two years.

Less than one year.

25

20

15

10

5

0

English proficiency

What is your English proficiency level as defined by Home Affairs

 

You must meet the Home Affairs requirement for the level of English claimed.

Superior.

Proficient.

Competent.

15

10

0

Spouse/partner English proficiency

What is your spouse/partner’s English proficiency?

 

They must meet the Home Affairs requirement for the level of English claimed or hold an Australian passport.

Superior/proficient.

Competent.

Not Applicable.

5

0

0
Nominated Occupation

Is your nominated occupation on the ACT Critical Skills List?

Your nominated occupation is ON the ACT Critical Skills List.

Your nominated occupation is NOT on the ACT Critical Skills List.

20

 

0

Small business owner

Are you the majority owner (at least 51%) of a registered business actively operating in the ACT?  You must meet the following minimum criteria:

·      The business activity must be located in the ACT. Interstate / overseas business activity is not accepted.

·      Your business must have a minimum turnover of $200,000 per annum (or pro-rata).

·      Your business must be profitable.

·      Your business must be paying you the following taxable income immediately before date of Matrix submission: 

–        190 nomination: at least $26,000 for six months.

–        491 nomination: at least $13,000 for three months.

·      You must employ at least one Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen for at least 13 weeks (minimum 20 hrs pw).

–   You may employ one or more employees. The employment does not have to be continuous.  The employment cannot be concurrent.

–   The employment must be in accordance with Australian legislation.

–   The employee/s must be resident in Canberra.

 

 

 

 

 

Your business has actively traded in Canberra for at least twelve months from the date established or purchased.

 

Your business has actively traded in Canberra for at least six months from the date established or purchased.

 

Not applicable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

10

 

 

0

Length of ACT employment

How long have you worked for an ACT employer in Canberra in the two years immediately before the date of Matrix submission?

·      You may be working in any occupation. The employment does not have to be continuous.

·      While the employment does not have to be fulltime or permanent, you must be working a minimum 20 hours per week for each week that you claim towards the period of employment.

·      You may work for more than one ACT employer,  be self-employed on an ABN or operate a small business.

·      If you are claiming any period of self-employment:

–      Your taxable weekly income must exceed $520 for each week of employment claimed in the last two years.

 

 

Employed for 12 months plus.

 

 

10

 

Employed for six to 12 months.

 

5

 

Not applicable.

 

0

ACT employment – skill level

Are you currently working in Canberra in a highly skilled position? You must meet the minimum criteria below:

·      You must be working a minimum 20 hours per week for the last three months immediately before date of Matrix submission.

·      The employment must be continuous. Unpaid leave does not meet this criterion.

·      You may work for more than one ACT employer, operate a small business and or be self-employed. You must be working in the same occupation and at the same skill level.

·      Taxable income:

–        Employee: no less than $26 per hour (excluding casual loading).

–        Small Business owner: minimum $13,000  income for last three months .

–        Self-employment on an ABN: minimum $520 per week.

·      You must have a tertiary qualification relevant to your occupation. Your qualification must be dated before you commenced employment. A RPL certificate is not recognised as a tertiary qualification.

–      Any employment claimed must be recorded on your SkillSelect EOI.

1.      You are working in your nominated occupation which is on the current ACT Critical Skills List. Your occupation must be recorded as ‘related’ to the nominated occupation’ on your SkillSelect EOI.

2.      You are the primary holder of a subclass 457 / 482 visa and you are working for the ACT employer who sponsored your visa. Your occupation must be recorded as ‘related’ to the nominated occupation’ on your SkillSelect EOI.

3.      You are working in an occupation that is on the current ACT Critical Skills List; but it is not your nominated occupation.

4.      You are working in an occupation that has an ANZSCO skill level 1 to 3.

5.   Not applicable.

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

5

 

0

Spouse/partner employment

Is your spouse / partner currently working in the ACT or surrounding ‘commuter’ region? They must meet the minimum criteria below:

·           They must be working a minimum 20 hours per week for the three months immediately before the date of Matrix submission.

·           Their employment must be continuous.

·           Any period of unpaid leave cannot be counted towards the three months employment criteria.

·           They must meet the Home Affairs requirement for ‘competent’ English or hold an Australian passport.

·           They may work for more than one employer and / or be self-employed.

·           Their employer must provide a Statutory Declaration confirming their employment.  See Attachment E.

·           If they are self-employed on an ABN:

×     Their taxable weekly income exceeds $520 for each week of employment claimed; and

×     Their business has been actively operating in Canberra for at least 12 months.

 

1.      They are working in an occupation on the ACT Critical Skills List. They must have a skill assessment relevant to their current employment. Their taxable income must be no less than $26 per hour (excluding casual loading).

 

 

15

2.      They have a current skill assessment, and it is relevant to their current ACT employment. Their taxable income must be no less than $26 per hour (excl casual loading).

 

10
3.      They are currently working in any occupation, at any skill level, in Canberra.

 

5
4.      They do not meet the three months employment criterion, but they have:

·      A tertiary qualification
(3 year trade, or a Bachelors, Masters or PhD) from an Australian institution in any occupation; and

·      ‘competent’ English or an Australian passport.

 

 

5

5.      Not applicable. 0
terTiary Qualification

What tertiary qualification do you hold from an Australian or international educational institution?

 

Your selected qualification must be recorded on your Home Affairs SkillSelect EOI

 

Doctoral degree

 

Master’s degree

 

Bachelor’s degree or trade certificate

 

Diploma qualification/s

(2 years full time study)

 

Not applicable

20

 

15

 

 

10

 

 

5

 

 

0

years of study at an ACT Tertiary Institution.

For how many years did you study fulltime to complete a CRICOS* registered course and / or attend a Professional Year (PY) program at an ACT institution in the last eight years?

·      You must have a letter of course completion to evidence the claimed period of study. 

·      You must be resident in Canberra during your claimed period of study.

·      Distance education or online attendance is not accepted.

·      A PY undertaken in the ACT meets the one-year study criteria.

·      Two or more courses, including a PY, may be counted to evidence the period of ACT study.

·      The courses cannot be concurrent.

·      The courses do not have to be continuous.

CRICOS* – Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

 

Four years or more of study.

 

Three years of study.

 

Two years of study.

 

One year of study.

 

Not applicable.

 

20

 

15

 

10

 

5

 

0

Close family ties

Do you have a close family member who has lived in Canberra for the last two years?

A close family member is defined as a spouse/ partner, parent, child, brother, sister or grandparent of the main applicant or their spouse/ partner.

Australian citizen/permanent resident spouse/partner, child.

Australian citizen/permanent resident parent, grandparent, brother, sister.

Not applicable.

20

 

10

 

0

Assets in Canberra

You (and a spouse/partner if applicable) have invested at least $250,000 cash to purchase a residential or commercial property in Canberra (purchase of land only does not meet this criteria)

 

Minimum $250,000 cash investment in ACT residential or commercial property.

 

Not applicable

 

5

 

 

0

 

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