Bespoke Invitation Rounds for 189 and 491 visa (Family Sponsored Stream)

In the past 12 months, many of the applicants who submitted their Express of Interest for invitations to apply for visa subclass 189 or 491 – Family Sponsored stream were disappointed when not being invited despite their high scores. A big question raised among applicants was how the invitation rounds were run, and their possibility of receiving an invitation with their situation.

As record, bespoke invitation rounds have been run since May 2020. This is the reason why there was a decrease in points, from 90 points pre-Covid to as low as 70 points. Many people in the EOI pool wondered why they have not been invited with even 100 points while their friends got invited with only 75 points. This does not seem right with the algorithm of the EOI system.

In this article, we will explain how the EOI system works in normal time, and how it is targeted during the last 12 months. Also, as the recent budget announcement has allocated the same migration level with 2020 – 2021, we think it is worth looking back at some historical data from May 2020 and at some implications it may have towards the future rounds.

EOI system

In normal time, the Express of Interest system is used to manage express of interest from applicants all over the world, who want to migrate to Australia under the Skilled and Business migration programs. It is used to receive, assess, calculate points, and issue invitations to those who are on top of the pool.

The selection through Skills Select platform is set up by an algorithm, which issues invitations based on ranking system. The ranking system is fairly simple: EOIs with the highest points score then with the earliest dates of submission. Therefore, those with high scores will have more opportunity to be invited, regardless of their occupations and current residence (as long as they are in MLTSSL and the ceilings have not been reached).


Targeted invitation rounds – How does it work?

The unprecedented Covid19 situation is by no mean “normal”. Since May 2020, the algorithm has been tailored in a way that it does not simply base on the points and date of submission. The Department of Home Affairs has tailored the algorithm by adding more parameters to the ranking system. The most important filter in this bespoke ranking system is the occupation lists which are limited to healthcare, engineering, technology, and sciences.

Let us have a closer look at the quotas, parameters, and occupation lists from different invitation rounds since May 2020 to October 2020.

  May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020
Quota SC 189 = 550 invitations

SC 491 = 100 invitations

SC 189 = 170 invitations

SC 491 = 30 invitations

SC 189 = 500 invitations

SC 491 = 100 invitations

SC 189 = 100 invitations

SC 491 = 30 invitations

SC 189 = 350 invitations

SC 491 = 150 invitations

SC 189 = 30 invitations

SC 491 = 80 invitations

Country of Residence In Australia In Australia In Australia and Overseas In Australia In Australia and Overseas 189: In Australia and Overseas

491: in Australia only

Occupations May Occupations June Occupations July Occupations August Occupations 189 List

491 list

189 List

491 list

As can be seen in the occupation lists of each round, healthcare occupations were being issued with the greatest number of invitations. Those who are in accounting, programming and engineering occupations were revealed to account for more than 70% of the EOIs submitted last year. Disappointedly, even though they might score very high points, being not in the tailored lists meant that they did not receive any invitations.

Noticeably, in July, September and October 2020, the Department of Home Affairs issued some invitations to overseas applicants. It might be because the current onshore applicants within these occupations were not enough to fill in the shortage.

The future invitation rounds

We do not know yet when the bespoke invitation rounds would end, however, it is expected to run until the pandemic is controlled, or at least until those occupations reach their ceilings.

Considering the limited occupations contained in the bespoke lists, and the unknown timeline of this, applicants who wish to obtain permanent residence through 189 or 491 – Family sponsored stream but are not in these occupations should consider alternative pathways, especially those who are onshore with their visa closed to expiry.

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