July 3, 2024

The Difference Between Visa Subclasses 189 and 190

difference between 189 and 190 visa

When considering the difference between 189 and 190 visas, it’s important to understand the unique aspects of these two popular programs under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) category. Both 189 and 190 are points-based visas that require an invitation to apply after an EOI (Expression of Interest) process. Both visas also require an upfront skills assessment and a minimum level of English proficiency. However, there are some differences between the two programs:

The Invitation List

Subclass 189 invites applicants in an occupation on the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List). Currently, there are 212 occupations on the list which also corresponds with the list for the Employer Nomination Scheme. Occupations such as Accountants, ICT Business Analysts, Program Developers, Registered Nurses, Electrical Engineers, and Early Childhood (Pre-Primary School) Teachers are examples of MLTSSL occupations.

Subclass 190 has a broader list than the MLTSSL by also incorporating STSOL (Short-term Skilled Occupation List) occupations. The STSOL has an additional 215 occupations, including Marketing Managers, Restaurant Managers, Financial Advisors, Hairdressers, and Enrolled Nurses. In total, there are 427 occupations eligible under the subclass 190 visa program, but only theoretically. Keep reading to understand why.

The Process and Requirements

Subclass 189 EOI invitations are offered to successful applicants directly by the Federal government without the need for a sponsor / nominator.

For the 190 visa, applicants need to be invited first by a State or Territory government to seek their nomination. Only once they have secured the nomination approved, will they then receive an invitation to apply for the 190 visa itself.

The State or Territory governments can set their own rules with respect to their nomination criteria. These are a function of State government policy, and do not need any to have any direct relationship with the visa criteria at all.

Most importantly, State and Territory Governments may decide to only nominate some of the occupations on the subclass 190 list (or even none at all). Other examples include the way that the State governments treat the work experience assessed by the skills assessing with the NSW Government only accepting experience acquired only after the skill assessment date. This is in contrast with the visa criteria where, job experience acquired after the completion of relevant qualifications (but before the skill assessment date) usually meets the requirements under Part 6D of the Migration Regulations.

Different Points

There are 5 additional points awarded to 190 visa applicants, by virtue of their having State / Territory Nomination. Since every EOI for a subclass 190 visa is awarded these 5 points, it does not positively or negatively affect candidates from an invitation perspective.

The Future of GSM

For the 2025 program year (2024/25 financial year), the planning level for the 189 visa will be cut from 30,375 to 16,900. Meanwhile, there will be a slight increase in the subclass 190 planning levels from 30,400 to 33,000. As such, the State and Territory governments stand to have marginally greater power to select more candidates based on the needs of that State / Territory.

With a greater focus on the State and Territory government nomination requirements comes an even greater need to thoroughly understand the expectations and criteria of the jurisdictions who will be supporting your application.
Understanding the difference between 189 and 190 visas is crucial for selecting the right pathway for your migration to Australia. If you would like to map your options under the GSM program, we are here to assist.

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