State Nomination Requirements 2015

webster By Mark Webster
Monday, 14 December 2015

State nomination is one of the best ways of improving your eligibility for skilled migration to Australia. There are a number of advantages to state nomination:

Two visa pathways are possible via state nomination:
  1. Skilled Nominated Subclass 190: a permanent visa which allows you to live anywhere in the state
  2. Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489: a 4-year temporary visa which requires you to live in a regional area for 2 years and work full time for 12 months to qualify for permanent residence

Number of Nominations Approved in 2015-16

The table below summarises the number of state nominations approved from July to November 2015:

Visa subclass SA NSW Vic. Qld ACT NT WA Tas. Total
Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190) visa 1309 625 830 178 166 54 139 72 3373
Skilled - Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa 276 574 2 93 0 91 7 21 1064
Total 1585 1199 832 271 166 145 139 93 4437

South Australia is the biggest user of state nomination, followed by NSW and Victoria. Other states have far fewer numbers.

Most states issue far more 190 nominations than 489 nominations, except for the Northern Territory which has issued almost twice as many 489 nominations as 190 nominations. NSW is the biggest user of the 489 program.

Criteria for state nomination vary widely by state - below is a summary of the main criteria:

New South Wales (NSW)

NSW now operates an "invitation only" program for 190 nominations. Applicants first lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI), indicating that they are willing to settle in NSW. NSW then periodically issues invitations to the "best" EOIs to make a nomination application. Currently, NSW is issuing invitations to people with 70 points, and gives preferential treatment to applicants with higher English and points for skilled work experience. The NSW 190 list is largely the same as the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

NSW is also very active in the 489 nomination space. The various regions of NSW have different in demand lists, with varying criteria. You can lodge a nomination application directly with the Regional Development Agency in the region you are interested in, rather than waiting for an invitation.

Victoria (Vic)

Victoria operates two different lists:
  1. Recent Graduates - having completed a course in Australia within the last 2 years - 32 occupations
  2. Non-graduates - 84 occupations - requires between 2 and 5 years of work experience in the occupation
If you live in Australia, but outside Victoria, you would in general need to have a job offer in Victoria.

People who have completed a PhD within the last 5 years receive favourable treatment. If completing in Victoria, you can nominate any CSOL occupation. Otherwise, you can nominate any occupation on the Victorian 190 list.

Some occupations require English language ability better than competent, but a waiver is available if you have worked in your occupation in Victoria for 6 months.

South Australia (SA)

South Australia has two lists - the main State Nomination Occupations List (SNOL) and the supplementary list. Within the main list, occupations are classified as "Special Conditions Apply" once they are filled. They are then treated quite similarly to the occupations on the supplementary list.

Applicants usually need to meet the SA work experience requirement - at least 1 year of work experience in an SNOL occupation in the last 3 years. SA Graduates can qualify for an exemption from the SA work experience requirement if they have completed a PhD or have worked in SA in their occupation for the last 6 months.

If your occupation is on the Supplementary List or "Special Conditions Apply", you can only qualify if:

  • You are graduate from a South Australia institution; or
  • You have worked in SA in an SNOL occupation for the last 12 months; or
  • You have relatives in SA

Queensland (Qld)

Queensland also operates an "invitation only" system. Queensland has 3 lists covering:
  • Qld Graduates - 42 occupations
  • People working in Qld - 235 occupations
  • People not working in Qld - 91 occupations
People completing a PhD in Qld can nominate any CSOL occupation. If you are living in Australia, but outside Qld, you would need to have a job offer in your occupation in Qld.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

If living outside Australia, you must show that you have thoroughly researched job opportunities in the ACT. If living in Australia, you must have lived in the ACT for at least 3 months before applying, or 6 months if you hold a student or graduate temporary visa. You must also be working in the ACT in a skilled occupation to be considered.

ACT is next due to review its occupations list in February 2016.

ACT is not specified as a regional area, and so does not offer nomination for the subclass 489 visa.

Northern Territory (NT)

You may be eligible for NT nomination if you have completed a qualification at Charles Darwin University within the last 2 years. You can nominate any occupation on the CSOL in this case.

Otherwise if you live in Australia, you must have at least 3 months of work experience in your occupation in NT.

Some occupations require competent English or a job offer in the NT.

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia has two lists which operate:
  • Schedule 1: job offer in WA not required, unless living in Australia outside WA or applying to settle in restricted region
  • Schedule 2: job offer in WA required in all cases

Proficient English is required for managers and professionals.

In terms of work experience, you must have either worked in Australia in your occupation for at least 12 months in the last 10 years or 3 years outside Australia in the last 10 years.

Tasmania (Tas)

Graduates completing a course in Tasmania taking at least 2 years have a significant advantage in applying for Tasmanian nomination. They are eligible for off-list nomination and do not need to show any skilled work experience.

In general, applicants need to show they have worked in their occupation for at least 5 years, and have an occupation on the Tasmanian State Migration Program (SMP) list. However, the following are also possible:

  • Medical practitioners who have worked in Tasmania for 6 months in their occupation - eligible for 190 nomination
  • Applicants who have worked in their nominated occupation in Tasmania for 6 months - 489 nomination
  • People who have operated a business in Tasmania for the last 6 months, and have a turnover of $75,000 - 489 nomination


Whilst state nomination gives a huge advantage in applying for skilled migration, the requirements can be complex and are constantly changing.

If you would like advice on applying for state nomination, please book a consultation with one of our immigration advisors.


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