Skill Select – Quarterly Invitation Rounds

For the remainder of the 2020-2021 Program Year, Skill Select invitations will be quarterly.

Quarterly – yes that means only 4 invitation rounds a year.

The last invitation round prior to January, was in October 2020 – which appears in retrospect to be when the quarterly trend began (it was not announced).  Further, the numbers on issue have been historically low.  In the October round, only 30 people were invited to apply for the Subclass 189, and 80 were invited to apply for the Subclass 491 – Skilled Regional Family Sponsored – Visa.

These would surely be the lowest monthly numbers on record, since Skill Select commenced in 2012.

In fact, during the whole 2020-21 year (we’re more than halfway through it), only 990 people in total have been invited to apply for the Subclass 189 visa.  Contrast this with a couple of years ago, where we would regularly see monthly 189 invitation rounds of between 1,500-3,000.

I would never want to say “I told you so” but I predicted this as far back as May 2019 in this blog post.

If the trend continues – the October figures equate to 120 invitations for 189 in a YEAR.

Yet, we are still inundated with offshore people wanting a 189 visa who are on 65 points!

The increased focus on Regional Visas – which I have also predicted on numerous occasions – is borne out in the juxtaposition of the 189 vs 491 invitation numbers.  In past years we have seen thousands of 189 invitations a month, and about a hundred 491 invitations.  Now, in October, it’s reversed – even though the numbers are extremely low, there are almost twice as many 491 invitations as 189.

It’s time to get real about this, if you’re a potential visa applicant.  Skilled Migration (particularly 189) is not the basket in which to place all of your eggs at the moment.  There may be alternatives – even in this COVID environment.

Why is this happening?

Simply put, Skill Select is a completely demand driven system, with no apologies.  Just like a tap, the Department can turn it on or off in an instant, depending on Australia’s needs.  That’s right – it’s all about Australia’s needs, pandemic or no pandemic.

Want to look at Alternatives? 

The main, viable alternatives at the moment are Employer Sponsored Visas – particularly if you are in a priority occupation – and the Global Talent Program.  While Global Talent is not for everyone, it’s surprising how many people we have dealt with lately who are eligible for this visa, and many of these people have become permanent residents under our guidance in the last 12 months.

Would you like to discuss alternatives, and whether they might work for you?  Click here for a free online assessment.


Leanne Stevens

CEO, Emergico // Registered Migration Agent (#1171279)