Who can claim partner skills points?

On 16 November 2019, the government introduced a new points test system for skilled visas. In brief, the new point test allows applicants to claim an additional 5 – 10 points depending on the partner’s age, educational qualification/occupation and English language skills.

10 points – partner with relevant age, skills and English

Your partner must meet the following requirements for you to claim 10 points for skills.

  1. Your partner must be under 45 years old (at the time the invitation to apply for the visa is issued).
  2. Your partner must have a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for their nominated skilled occupation.
  3. Competent English (IELTS 6 or equivalent)
  4. Your partner’s occupation must be an eligible occupation, There are three lists; ROL, ‘short term’ and ‘medium to long term’.
Examples of claiming 10 partner points for skills (assuming your partner meets age and English)

You are applying for a 189 Visa, Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), and partner’s occupation is on the 190 Visa, Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

You partner cannot contribute points for skills for 189 and 491 Family Stream. Your partner would contribute 10 skills points for 491 State Sponsored stream and 190 visa.

You are applying for the 189 Visa (MLTSSL), and partner’s occupation is also on the 189 Visa List (MLTSSL).

In this scenario, you would be able to claim 10 points for partner skills. An example of this would be that you are a Biomedical Engineer which is on the MLTSSL and your partner is a Chef which is also on the MLTSSL.

Your partner would need to apply to the relevant accessing authority to obtain a skill assessment.

You are applying for the 491 visa, and partner’s occupation is also on the 491 Occupation List:.

You can claim 10 points for partner skills.

  • Applying for a 190 visa: PA (principal applicant) is on the 190 list (ICT project manager) and partner is an accountant (MLTSSL) : 10 points for partner skills
  • Applying for a 190 visa: PA is on the 190 list (ICT project manager) and partner is on the ROL list (real estate representative) or STSOL for PA and Regional for partner: 0 points for partner skills
  • Applying for a 189 visa: PA is an accountant (MLTSSL) and partner is ICT project manager (STSOL): 0 points for partner skills
  • Applying for 491 visa: PA is a real estate representative (ROL) and partner is a real estate representative (ROL): 10 points for partner skills

5 Points for partner’s English

You can claim 5 points if your spouse or de facto partner has competent English. For Australian migration purposes, competent English is defined as:

  • IELTS – At least 6 for each 4 components
  • PTE – At least 50 for each 4 components
  • TOEFL iBT – At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
  • OET – At least B for each of the 4 components
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test – At least 169 in each of the 4 components

10 points – Single or partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident

As the title suggests, if you are single or if your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you may claim the additional 10 points.

Summary Table
You are single or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident 10 points
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and meet age, English and skill criteria

For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.  Additionally, you will need to provide evidence that when you were invited to apply for this visa that they:

  • were under 45 years old
  • had competent English
  • had nominated a skilled occupation that is eligible for points
  • had a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for their nominated skilled occupation.
10 points
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and has competent English

For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.

5 points

Relationship Status: When completing your Expression of Interest (EOI) you should select Partner as your relationship status if you have a spouse or de facto partner.

De Facto Partner

A de facto relationship is one where you and your partner are not legally married to each other but: 

  • you are committed to a shared life excluding all others
  • your relationship is genuine and continuing
  • you live together or do not live separately and apart on a permanent basis
  • you are not related by family

A de facto relationship can be with someone of the same or different sex.

Time you spent dating or in an online relationship does not count as being in a de facto relationship.

Spouse
A spouse is one of two people in a married relationship if they are married to each other under a marriage that is valid for the purposes of the Migration Act and:
  • have a mutual commitment to a shared life excluding all others
  • have a genuine and continuing relationship
  • live together or don’t live separately and apart on a permanent basis

Message on SkillSelect- Relationship Status: When completing your Expression of Interest (EOI) you should select Partner as your relationship status if you have a spouse or de facto partner. Do not use the relationship status ‘engaged’ if this person is also your de facto partner. You should ensure this information remains current throughout the life of your EOI

Definition of De Facto Relationship and Implications for GSM Points

For the purposes of calculating points under Schedule 6D, the definition of a de facto relationship is still as set out in 5CB of the Act and Reg 1.09A, however the difference is that reg 2.03A (the 12 month rule) is not applicable.

The SkillSelect system will allocate points for partner relationship status as follows (item 6D112):

  • Single – SkillSelect will award 10 points
  • Engaged – SkillSelect will award 10 points
  • Married – SkillSelect will award 0 points
  • De Facto – SkillSelect will award 0 points

GSM visa applicants’ marital status will sometimes change between lodging the EOI, lodging the visa application, and when a decision is made on points. This change of status may result in the loss or gain of points at visa assessment. For example, a person assigned 10 points (as single) at EOI, may lose these 10 points at the visa application stage if they have subsequently married or entered a de facto relationship.

Where intending applicants are both in a de facto relationship and engaged simultaneously at time of EOI, they may consider selecting “De Facto” rather than “Engaged” when calculating their point score irrespective of the length of the de facto relationship.   This will avoid being invited at a higher point score than what the visa applicant will be able to meet.

It is also important to note the implications of the overlay of the 12 month rule at visa stage.  For example an intending applicant may declare a de facto relationship at EOI (where no 12 month rule is applicable) but if that de facto relationship is of less than 12 months standing at visa application then that de facto partner will not be eligible for consideration as the visa applicant’s partner for purposes of the visa.

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