Including Dependents On Your Visa Application
The Australian Government has introduced far reaching changes to the definition of Member of the Family Unit (MoFU) for the purpose of most visa applications. There are now significant limitations on the class of persons that can be considered part of MoFU and hence be included in a visa application.
Character Assessment of Australian Sponsors of Partner Visa Applications
From 18 November 2016, Australian citizen and permanent resident Sponsors of Partner Visa and Prospective Marriage Visa applications (“a partner visa”), are subject to character testing. In line with current Australian Government strategies to reduce family violence in the Australian community, the new provisions have been introduced to prevent Australians who have committed a relevant offence from being able to sponsor someone for a partner visa.
New Skilled Migration Points Test

The contents of this article are correct as at 9 June 2011.

On July 1, 2011 a new points test will come into force for a number of skilled migration visa applications.  

The changes will affect the following visas:

  • Subclass 175 Skilled – Independent

  • Subclass 176 Skilled – Sponsored

  • Subclass 475 Skilled – Regional Sponsored

  • Subclass 487 Skilled – Regional Sponsored

  • Subclass 885 Skilled – Independent

  • Subclass 886 Skilled – Sponsored

In order to be eligible for one of the above visas, applicants will need to satisfy the following threshold requirements:

  • Be under 50 years of age at the time of applying for a visa
  • Meet the threshold English language requirement of competent English
  • Nominate and hold a skilled assessment for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) at the time of lodging their application
  • Provide evidence of recent skilled employment in a skilled occupation or have recently completed the Australian Study requirement
  • Be eligible for award of sufficient points to pass the pass mark for the visa applied for

The current points test will be available after 1 July 2011, to people who held a subclass 485 visa on 8 February 2010 or who had an application for a subclass 485 visa pending on that date.  Such people will have until 31 December 2012, or until the date their subclass 485 visa expires (whichever occurs first), to apply for a skilled migration visa using the current points test.

The new points test is summarised below.


The pass mark

The pass mark (the number of points required to be eligible for skilled migration) will be set at 65 points.


The applicant’s (nominated) occupation

An applicant will no longer be awarded points based on his/her (nominated) occupation.  All applicants must however have their skills assessed in that occupation.



The maximum age threshold for applicants will be raised from 45 to 49 but no points will be awarded to applicants aged 45–49. The new age qualifications points brackets will be as follows:



Number of points












English language qualifications

The most noticeable change to the English language qualifications factor is that points will no longer be awarded for an English language test score corresponding to a level of “competent” English.  Applicants who hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America (USA) or the Republic of Ireland will no longer be awarded points based solely on these facts.  The new points test will only award points to applicants with levels of English language proficiency higher than “competent”.  In order to claim points for the higher levels of English, all applicants must complete an English language test.  The test must be completed before lodging the visa application.


The points awarded for English language qualifications under the new test are summarised below:



Number of points

Competent English – IELTS# 6*


Proficient English – IELTS# 7*


Superior English – IELTS# 8*


 Notes: # or equivalent standard in a specified test; *This score must be achieved in each of the four bands on IELTS. 


Skilled Employment

In order to claim points for skilled employment under the new points test, the experience must be in the applicant’s nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation.  The new points test gives extra credit to applicants who have more extensive skilled employment in Australia or overseas. Points will be awarded based on demonstration of a verifiable skilled employment history undertaken in the last ten years as follows:


Length of Employment

Number of points

One year Australian


Three years Australian


Five years Australian


Eight years Australian


Three years overseas


Five years overseas


Eight years overseas



The Department of Immigration and Citizenship considers skilled employment in the nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, to be at least 20 hours of work per week.  It is important to note that Australian and overseas employment can be combined but the maximum total number of points that can be awarded in this category is 20.


Professional Year

The number of points awarded for the completion of an approved Professional Year in Australia, in a nominated occupation or a closely related skilled occupation, will be reduced from ten to five points under the new points test.



The points awarded for qualifications (Australian or recognised overseas) will be changed as follows:



Number of points

Australian Diploma or trade qualification


Award or qualification recognised by the assessing authority in the assessment of the skilled occupation



At least a Bachelor degree (including a bachelor degree with Honours or Masters)


Doctorate Degree



It is important to note that the new points test will only allow applicants to claim points for their highest level qualification.  In order to claim points for a qualification obtained overseas, it must be recognised as being of a standard comparable to the relevant Australian level qualification.  Points for qualifications will only be awarded if they were relied upon to obtain skills assessment in the nominated occupation.


Australian study requirement

Five points can still be claimed by applicants who meet the Australian study requirement.  Applicants can use the same period of study in Australia to claim points for their qualification and for meeting the Australian study requirement.


In order to meet the Australian study requirement, the applicant must still have undertaken studies while he/she was in Australia and must still have completed the studies as the result of a course that was at least two academic years.  In addition, the study must be closely related to the applicant’s nominated skilled occupation.


Study in a Regional Area

Five points can still be claimed by applicants who satisfy the Australian study requirement while studying in regional Australia.


Community/designated language

The new points test will only award five points to applicants who are accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) in a designated language. Consequently, points for a designated/community language can no longer be claimed on the basis of being the holder of a qualification from a university where instruction was in that language.


Partner skills

Five points can still be claimed if the primary applicant’s partner meets the following criteria:

    • Be included on the same visa application as the primary applicant
    • Not be an Australian permanent resident or citizen
    • Be under 50 years of age at the time of application
    • Nominate an occupation on the same SOL as the primary applicant, and be assessed by the relevant assessing authority as having suitable skills for the occupation
    • Have competent English
    • Have been employed in a skilled occupation for at least 12 months in the 24 months before the application is lodged, or completed the Australian Study Requirement


    The new points test will award points for sponsorship as follows:


    Type of sponsorship

    Number of points

    Nomination by a state or territory government under a state migration plan, for the purposes of a subclass 176 or 886 application.


    Nomination by a state or territory government under a state migration plan, or sponsorship by an eligible relative, to a regional area for the purposes of a subclass 487 or subclass 475 Skilled – Regional Sponsored application.



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