Lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI) is a key stage in applying for an Australian skilled visa. Below, Registered Migration Agent Darren Chatt MARN:0211214 explains the process of lodging an EOI and how to increase your points.

What is an EOI?

When applying for a skilled visa such as subclass 189, 190 or 491, an applicant must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). The EOI is an online application which includes personal details, skills assessment and English test results.

As a teacher you must obtain a positive skills assessment from AITSL before submitting an EOI. Most applicants will also need to complete a recognised English Language test.

EOI’s are lodged through SkillSelect and will generate a point score. Points are awarded for an applicant’s age, highest qualification, work experience and more. You can calculate your points score using Visa Go Australia’s free online calculator.

Lodging an EOI does not guarantee you an invitation to apply for a skilled visa. An EOI will expire after 2 years. Most skills assessments and English tests expire after 3 years.

Over-claiming points in an EOI can result in a visa refusal. Therefore, it is crucial an applicant completes an EOI correctly. If you require migration advice you should consider booking a consultation with an experienced Migration Agent.

EOI invitation rounds have changed

Applicants lodging an EOI for a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) or Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) are subject to invitation rounds. Invitations are firstly issued to those with the highest point score. Where applicants have the same points, the EOI submitted earliest will receive the invitation.

The Department recently announced that quarterly invitation rounds will run for the remainder of the 2020-21 program year. The last invitation round (21 January 2021) saw just 363 invitations issued.

EOI points score

Invitation round results are regularly published on the Department website. The results provide some insight into how many points are required to secure an invitation.

The most recent results show that 65 points is enough to secure an invitation for a 189 visa, which some people know has not been the case for years! In comparison, some applicants needed a minimum of 100 points last year.

We expect that those securing invitations on 65 points will have occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). This list was recently created to support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and currently contains just 18 occupations. As expected, most roles are in healthcare.

For example, a Registered Nurse on 65 points may secure an invitation before a Teacher on 75 points, simply because their occupation is on the PMSOL. As Australia recovers from COVID we expect this to change.

How many points are required for a skilled visa?

Applicants can lodge an EOI on 65 points, however meeting this minimum score is generally not enough to secure an invitation. It has been competitive for many years, as more people apply than there are spaces available. It requires patience and effort to secure a skilled visa invitation.

At Visa Go Australia, we recommend that our clients complete their skills assessment and English test now. This ensures they are first in line for the new migration year starting 1 July 2021. Visa allocations reset on this date, and we are hopeful that more invitations will be available for highly skilled applicants, such as Teachers on high points.

How can I increase my points?

There are two primary ways to increase your points score; The English Test and State Sponsorship (visa subclasses 190 and 491). Applicants should consider both to secure a visa invitation.

An English test can provide an applicant with an additional 10 or 20 points toward their visa. State nomination under the 190 visa awards an extra 5 points, while family or state nomination under the 491 visa offers an additional 15 points.

It is worth noting that many states will only offer sponsorship to Teachers who have a minimum of two years post-qualification work experience. Applicants should also consider teaching registration requirements differ from state-to-state.

Currently State Sponsorship options are limited, with many temporarily closed to offshore applicants. However, we expect states to reopen in the next financial year (July 2021) as skills shortages in Australia grow. Tasmania recently opened to offshore applicants and some NSW regions are looking promising.

At Visa Go Australia we are advising clients on how to become State Sponsorship ready. It is still possible to move forward with a skilled visa application.

To conclude

As Australia emerges out of the COVID pandemic and begins to rebuild their economy, skill shortages are starting to show. Skilled overseas workers will be needed in Australia, so the visa program will begin to reflect this.

Teachers have frequented on Australia’s occupation lists for many years, so as Australia slowly opens its borders we anticipate skilled visa options will become more available.

You can use Visa Go Australia’s free points calculator to determine your skilled points score. For tailored visa advice, you can book a consultation to speak with a licensed Migration Agent.