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Skilled migration for South Australian graduates

South Australia’s Skilled and Business Migration program gives skilled graduates a way to permanently migrate to Australia. If you’re an international graduate who has studied in South Australia, you might be eligible for state nomination as a skilled migrant. Read on to find out how you can continue to enjoy the fantastic lifestyle and work opportunities in Adelaide as a skilled migrant.

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What is the General Skilled Migration program?

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is a way for skilled people to migrate to Australia. The program is a points-based visa system that fills skills shortages in Australia.


There are three visa subclasses under the GSM program:


If you hold a Skilled Independent or Skilled Nominated visa, you’ll have permanent residency in Australia.

If you hold a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa, you can work in regional Australia for up to 5 years. After 3 years, you can apply for permanent residency.

*Most locations of Australia outside major cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) are classed as designated regional areas for migration purposes.


What’s the main difference between the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) and the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)?

The main difference between the two visas is the application process and how you can apply.

If you want to apply for a Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190), a state or territory government must nominate you. You also need to submit an expression of interest and be invited to apply by the Department of Home Affairs.

If you want to apply for a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189), you don’t need to be nominated by anyone. You do need to submit an expression of interest and be invited to apply by the Department of Home Affairs.


What about the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)?

If you want to apply for this visa, a state or territory government or an eligible family member can nominate you. You also need to submit an expression of interest and be invited to apply by the Department of Home Affairs.


Who is eligible to apply for an Australian GSM visa?

To apply for a General Skilled Migration visa in Australia, you must*:

You can check your points assessment on this points calculator.

If you don’t have enough points to apply for an independent skilled visa, you might still be eligible to apply for a nominated skilled visa in South Australia.

*This information is a general overview only. Check the Department of Home Affairs visa list for the most detailed and up-to-date information.


Why apply for a state-nominated skilled migration visa in South Australia?

If you’re eligible, a skills nomination from the Government of South Australia could help you secure a skilled migration visa.

Depending on your situation, there are two visa subclasses available for state-nominated skilled migration:

  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

When you apply for a skilled visa with a nomination from the Government of South Australia, you’ll get extra points to go towards your points assessment. You’ll get an extra 5 points for an approved subclass 190 visa and an extra 15 points for an approved subclass 491 visa.

With a subclass 491 visa, you can live and work in a designated regional area for up to 5 years. After 3 years, if you meet all the requirements including earning a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold, you can apply for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191).


What if my occupation isn’t on the Department of Home Affairs’ skilled occupation list?

If you can’t find your occupation on the Home Affairs’ list, you might find it on South Australia’s skilled occupation list. South Australia has one of Australia's most extensive skilled occupation lists, with around 500 occupations included. One of the major benefits of applying for a nominated skilled migration visa in South Australia is that we have more occupations included.

Check to see if your occupation is on South Australia’s skilled occupation list.


What are the pathways available for a South Australian state-nominated visa?

At the moment, there are three main pathways available for state nomination in South Australia:

Some people might be eligible for certain concessions or waivers when applying for a South Australian state-nominated skilled migration visa.

Before you apply for a state nomination, you should read the information on each of the pathways to see if you’re eligible.


How do I apply for a nominated skilled migration visa with a nomination from the Government of South Australia?

If you’re applying for a state-nominated visa via our Talent and Innovators program, there is a different process for you. Go to the next question.

To apply for a South Australian state-nominated skilled migration visa, you must meet the Department of Home Affairs eligibility, and then follow these steps:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

If you’re successful, you’ll get a state government nomination and an invitation from the Australian Government to apply for your visa. You must apply within 60 days of getting your invitation.


How do I apply for a nominated skilled migration visa under the Government of South Australia’s Talent and Innovators program?

To apply for a South Australian state-nominated skilled migration visa via our Talent and Innovators program, you must meet the Department of Home Affairs eligibility, and then follow these steps:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

If you’re successful, you’ll get a state government nomination and an invitation from the Australian Government to apply for your visa. You must apply within 60 days of getting your invitation.


How can studying in South Australia help me with my skilled nominated visa application?

Graduates who have studied in South Australia enjoy significant benefits when applying for a skilled nominated visa to continue to live and work in SA. Because SA is considered regional for visa purposes, you’ll get an extra 5 points for all GSM visas.

If you’re a South Australian graduate applying for an SA state-nomination visa, you’ll get:

  • Access to one of Australia’s most extensive lists of approved skilled occupations
  • Extra points towards the visa points test for the subclass 190 and subclass 491 visas
  • Priority visa application processing for the subclass 491 visa
  • Potential waivers for state-based work experience requirements, depending on your GPA and visa type**
  • Reduced timeframes for state-based work experience requirements, depending on your occupation (this isn’t available to non-South Australian graduates)**
  • Potential waivers and concessions for students or graduates who have lived in SA for more than 3 years ***

** You still need to meet any visa skills assessment requirements from the skills assessment authority for your occupation. Please check South Australia’s skilled occupation list.

*** The specific benefits available to you will depend on your occupation and circumstances. Please check South Australia’s skilled occupation list and the details of our currently living and working in South Australia priority stream.

The information in this article is a general overview only. Check South Australia’s Skilled & Business Migration website for the most detailed and up-to-date information. The specific visa options and benefits available to you will depend on your occupation and circumstances.



Recent changes to South Australia’s Skilled and Business Migration program make it easier for South Australian graduates.

You can read more about the recent changes to the skilled migration program here.


Data and policies are accurate as at 7 June 2021.

The information in this article is a general overview only. Check South Australia’s Skilled & Business Migration website for the most detailed and up-to-date information.

Author: Sherrie Gaskin (MARN 1681494) 

Editor: Johanna Kohler


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