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AR LAW Services  |  Lawyers & Consultants  |  Masters of Australian Migration and Visa Law

GSM – Skill Visa Program Update

As many of you maybe aware, as of the first of July 2017 the skilled visa program was again altered.

This is a summary of some of those changes:

  • The maximum age for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa will be reduced from 49 to 44
  • A new permanent residence pathway for NZ citizens will be introduced
  • The skilled occupations lists are likely to be reviewed
  • Occupational ceilings will be released
  • State Migration Plans will reopen

Changes to Age Limit for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 Visas

The maximum age for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa, is NOW 44 from 1 July.

At this stage, none of the following visa types will be affected by the change: – maximum age 49

That is the 190, 489 and new NZ Citizen stream 189 (no age limit)


According to Department of Immigration figures, only around 1% of applicants for the 189 subclass are between 45 and 49 at present. Whilst the overall impact on program numbers is small, for people between 45 and 49 the effect will be significant because the age limit for permanent employer sponsored is also being reduced to 44.

Occupational Ceilings to be Released

Occupational ceilings play a very important part in managing the General Skilled Migration program. They give a maximum number of EOI invitations which can be issued to Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Skilled Regional Provisional (Family Sponsored) Subclass 489 applicants.

In the last few years, it has become more competitive for people in popular occupations in the accounting, IT and certain engineering specialisations. If the occupational ceilings stay the same or are reduced, we expect it to become even more competitive. This will mean higher points scores may be required for an invitation.

So if you or someone you know would like to find out more about these and other changes to the skilled visa program talk to us.

Call 03 9614 0218 or email to make an initial 30 Minute consultation at our Melbourne office. (conditions apply)

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Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page