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General visa information

Broadly speaking migration made up of three streams: humanitarian, family and skilled and can be either temporary or permanent migration.

Temporary migration is not capped by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  Temporary migration visas include (but not limited to):

  • Employer sponsored temporary long-stay business (subclass 457);
  • Business Skills (Temporary);
  • Student;
  • Tourist; and
  • Working Holiday Makers.

Permanent migration options may be capped by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  Broad categories of permanent migration visas include:

  • Family;
  • Refugee and Special Humanitarian Program;
  • Employer Sponsored (including Employer Nomination Scheme - subclass 186, Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - subclass 187, and Labour Agreements subclass 120/855);
  • Business Skills (Permanent); and
  • General Skilled Migration (GSM) not sponsored by an employer.

Exactly which visa you need to apply for depends on your individual circumstances, including occupation, age, whether or not you have a job in Australia, whether or not you have family in Australia, and whether you will apply for your visa in Australia or overseas.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship regulations and policy guidelines regarding visa application requirements are subject to change on a regular basis. As such for more specific information about visas and visa applications a visit to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website at immi.gov.au is recommended.

Main skilled migration pathways that are available to use for temporary and permanent migration to Australia

The skill stream makes up approximately two thirds of Australia's total permanent migration program. Temporary visas are also available in the skill stream. The two main pathways available for skilled migration are:


 Employer sponsored General skilled migration program 

Temporary Migration

  • Subclass 457;
  • Labour Agreements (including Enterprise Migration Agreements).

Temporary Migration

  • Skilled Recognised Graduate (subclass 476) visa;
  • Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa

Provisional Migration

  • Skilled - Nominated or Sponsored (subclass 489) visa

Permanent Migration

  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
  • Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS)
  • Labour Agreements (inclduing Enterprise Migration Agreements).

Permanent Migration

  • Skilled - Independent (subclass 189) visa;
  • Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190) visa;
  • Skilled - Regional (Residence) (subclass 887) visa.

Employer Sponsored

The subclass 457 visa is for skilled workers from outside Australia who have been sponsored and nominated by a business to work in Australia on a temporary basis.

The subclass 457 allows employers to recruit overseas skilled workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis, while the Employer Nominated Scheme and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme provide employer sponsored skilled workers with permanent residency. The Labour Agreements (including Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMA)) refer to individual arrangements between companies and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and are available to companies that wish to recruit overseas workers to meet labour shortages through either permanent or temporary visas.  

Regional certifying body

Skilled Migration WA functions as a Regional Certifying Body for specific regions of Western Australia for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS). Visit the Department’s webpage, Regional Certifying Body, for further information on the role of a RCB and which regions Skilled Migration WA offers certification advice for. The Department’s requirements for certification advice for employer nominations are also available online.

General Skilled Migration - State sponsorship

The Government of Western Australia sponsors applicants for two visa subclasses:

  • 190 – Skilled – Nominated;
  • 489 – Skilled – Nominated (Provisional).

These points based visas allow qualifying skilled workers to migrate independently of employment. To be eligible for State Sponsorship, applicants must meet the State Sponsorship criteria, including having an occupation on the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list.

Processing of Skilled Migration visas by Department of Immigration and Citizenship

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship currently processes visas in the following order:

  • 1st priority Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
  • 2nd priority Employer Nominated Scheme
  • 3rd priority State or Territory Nominated
  • 4th priority Occupations on the Skilled Migration List
  • 5th priority All other occupations

This means that skilled migrants who are nominated by an employer have their visa processed before General Skilled Migration visa applications enabling Australian companies to hire overseas workers as quickly as possible.

Skilled workers who wish to migrate to Australia independently and seek employment when they arrive are able to through the Independent Skilled Migration Program.

A higher priority is provided to those applicants who receive sponsorship from the State of Western Australia.


New process for State nomination.  Find out more.

Fun Fact
The Argyle Diamond Mine in the far north of West Australia, is the world's largest diamond mine.