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The skill stream of Australia’s Migration Programme is specifically designed to target migrants who have skills or outstanding abilities that will contribute to the Australian economy.

The migration to Australia of skilled people with the qualifications and attributes to succeed helps address specific skill shortages in Australia and enhances the size and skill level of the Australian labour force.

The 2014–15 skill stream outcome of 127,774 places accounted for 67.7 per cent of the total Migration Programme.

In the skill stream, priority processing is currently given to applicants who are migrating to a regional area, sponsored by employers or nominated by a state or territory government under a State Migration Plan.

Skill stream categories

There are four main skilled migrations categories:

  • Point-based skilled migration
  • Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme
  • Business Innovation and Investment Programme
  • Distinguished talent.

Point-based skilled migration

There is a range of points-based skilled migration visa options for skilled workers who want to live in Australia. Applicants can be nominated by a state or territory government agency, sponsored by an eligible relative or independently migrate (non-sponsored).

Independent migrants are selected on the basis of their skills, attributes and suitability for employment so they are in a position to contribute quickly to the Australian economy. They are not sponsored by an employer or relative in Australia.

Sponsorship by an eligible Australian relative or nomination by a state or territory government is also possible under points-based skilled migration.

Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme

The Permanent Employer Sponsored Programme consists of the following:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

The programme allows employers to nominate foreign workers for permanent residence to fill genuine vacancies in their business.
Within each of these visa subclasses there will be three streams:

  • The temporary residence transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for their employer for at least the last two years in the nominated occupation and the employer wants to offer them a permanent position in that same occupation
  • The direct entry stream is for applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and have not held a subclass 457 visa for at least the last two years or are applying directly from outside Australia
  • The agreement stream is for applicants who are being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement or regional migration agreement.

Business Innovation and Investment Programme

The Business Innovation and Investment Programme is designed to increase entrepreneurial talent and diversify business expertise in Australia. It is positioned to target migrants who have a demonstrated history of success in innovation and business and are able to make a significant contribution to the national innovation system and to the Australian economy.

Distinguished talent

This is a small category for distinguished individuals with special or unique talents of benefit to Australia.
The profiles of people who have been successful under this category generally include sports people, musicians, artists and designers, all of whom were internationally recognised as outstanding in their field.

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