July 2020 Migration Update

The year of 2020 has been really a turbulent year for the whole of Australia due to the Covid-19 crisis. A lot of alterations in the immigration policy have been made as a result of this pandemic. Visa holders like partner and parent visa holders, students, skilled migrants all are facing the infliction of this.

Home Affairs advised ALL states that they will confirm timing and program size shortly. We StudyIn expect that there will be a 491/190 state-sponsored program albeit of a smaller size and less occupations. Possibly from August 2020.

States/territories are unable to advise Home Affairs of any new 190/491 sponsorship approvals (and so allow you to be given 60 days to lodge your visa) until this program reopens

The 189 program is currently only inviting health related professions. DHA have not announced any program numbers for 2020/21 yet and we will not know a number until closer to the October Federal Budget. We expect invites to be low until then for both 189s and 491 (family sponsored).

Further information has become available from various states that their GSM programs will not be opening until further notice. There is no clarity as to when the Federal Government will allocate the nomination quotas to the state governments.

It is a regrettable situation that there is a lack of transparency in the current GSM system, with no official round results published for the 189 invitations since April 2020.  In April where there was only 50 subclass 189 invitations as compared to 1750 invitations in March 2020.

Consistent with our previous update, the following states and territories have published the following on their website:


State nomination program remains temporarily closed. But applicants can still lodge an EOI through the Department of Home Affairs SkillSelect system.

“The Victorian Government’s state nomination program will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21. In the meantime, you will not be able to apply for the following state nomination visas:

The 2020-21 Victorian state nomination program will open at a date to be advised after further advice from the Commonwealth Government. Please check our website news regularly for more information.”

Source: https://liveinmelbourne.vic.gov.au/news-events/news/2020/update-to-victorias-subclass-491,-190,-188-and-132-visa-nomination-programs

Northern Territory

The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020 to 2021 program year. NT Government has also declared that it is currently unable to issue nominations under the skilled and business migration programs.

At this stage, onshore General Skilled Migration nomination applications and all Business Investment and Innovation Program nomination applications will continue to be accepted and assessed, but no nominations can be issued until the Northern Territory has been allocated quotas. We will update as further information becomes available.

Applicants must note that nominations are not guaranteed and the nomination application fee is non-refundable.

As of now, the NT has shelved its visa invitations for offshore applicants in the light of the Covid-19 crisis. The state has declared that a completely new set of eligibility criteria will be applicable from July 1, 2020. These eligibility requirements will apply to all the nominations of the state. This will give international applicants already living in the state an edge over the applicants of the new financial year.

Students With Upgraded Skills

Students who constantly upgrade their pertinent skills and knowledge residing in their respective designated areas will get the primary preference. Not only this, they will also become eligible for permanent residency in the state/territory wherein they are staying.

Source: https://theterritory.com.au/news/2020/2020-to-2021-program-year-update

New South Wales

“NSW is currently closed to applications for nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) and the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).

NSW will open to new nominations once the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs provides us with an allocation of positions for 2020-21. Invitation rounds for NSW nomination under the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) will also commence at this time.

At this stage we are unable to advise when this will occur.”

Source: https://www.business.nsw.gov.au/live-and-work-in-nsw/visas-and-immigration/visa-and-nomination


Applications remain open and will continue to be considered, but no nominations can be made until the state receives its allocation for the program year.

“The Australian Government has not yet allocated nomination quotas to the states and territories for the 2020-2021 program year. While applications for state nomination by Tasmania remain open and will continue to be considered, no nominations can be made in SkillSelect until quotas are allocated.

Migration Tasmania currently does not have an indication of the size of the 2020 -2021 nomination quota and cannot guarantee all eligible applicants will be nominated.”

The state of Tasmania has provided a good deal of flexibility to some of its applicants. The flexibility will only be granted to those whose applications have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis. These applicants are supposedly striving hard to meet the criteria of their state nomination programs. The state government already curbed its invitations reasonably from March 20, 2020. This will remain unchanged until a notification about occupations comprising the Tasmanian Skilled Occupation List (TSOL) is declared.

Occupations in Demand

Some migration professionals are focusing light on the in-demand occupations over others. This means the occupations which are beneficial to eradicate the Covid-19 plight will be preferred. This means that professionals involved in the healthcare sector of Australia will be the most benefitted. This preference has naturally brought an upsurge to the invitations of 3 of the following visas:

Visa Subclass 491, Visa Subclass 190 and Visa Subclass 189

This will have a positive influence on the economic fabric of Australia to a great extent.

Graduates of Accounting and IT Gets an Edge

Fresh graduates in the sectors of accounting and IT will also be in an advantageous position. This is due to the dwindling competition amongst the various offshore applicants out there. Applicants who have failed to obtain the visa subclass 189 and 190 can effortlessly procure the 491 visa. This has given them a light of hope to access the country at their ease.

Source: https://www.migration.tas.gov.au/news/2020-2021_program_year_update


Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) has also announced that its state nomination program will remain closed until further notice. The state has declared that it will not be accepting any EOIs.

“BSMQ has been advised by the Department of Home Affairs (HA) that it will not be in a position to open the 2020/21 migration program on 1 July 2020.

As a consequence, BSMQ’s business and skilled migration program will remain closed on 1 July 2020 until further notice. Please note:  BSMQ will not be accepting any Expressions of Interests (EOIs) submitted on Skillselect from 1 July 2020.  We will post an advice on this website, should the situation change.

BSMQ appreciates your patience in these challenging COVID-19 times. We thank you for your commitment to Queensland and look forward to opening the business and skilled migration program as soon as is possible.”

Source: https://migration.qld.gov.au/latest-news/bsmq-business-and-skilled-program-remains-closed-on-1-july-2020/

Australian Capital Territory

“The ACT Nomination Program (including the Canberra Matrix) will remain temporarily closed while we await the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21.”

Source: http://www.canberrayourfuture.com.au/portal/migrating/article/visas/

South Australia

The state’s business and skilled migration programs are scheduled to re-open from early August.

“Our Skilled and Business Migration programs are scheduled to re-open from early August. This will be dependent on the Commonwealth Government’s allocation of state nomination places for program year 2020-21.”

Source: https://migration.sa.gov.au/news-events/news-releases/program-update

Who Will Be Affected?

There are no effects on those who already hold 189, 190 and 491 visas. Applicants who have previously received invitations will not be affected.

Applicants who have lodged EOIs and have not been invited may be affected.

We are still encouraging potential applicants to consider making the necessary preparations for when the program does re-open, which could include:

  • Skills assessments
  • English test
  • Gaining skilled employment
  • Gaining work experience in the relevant state or territory

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