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Skilled Migration Visa Processing Times

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The tables below detail the processing time targets for service standards for skilled migration visas.

We aim to process 75 per cent of applications within the timeframes detailed below. It should be noted that individual actual processing times will vary depending on a range of factors.
See: Processing Time Service Standards

The department also publishes information listing the lodgement dates of applications that have been or will soon be allocated to case officers.
See: Allocation Dates for General Skilled Migration Applications

Processing priority groups and order of processing

Priority processing arrangements apply to skilled migration applications. They determine the order in which the department considers applications. Applications accorded a higher priority under the arrangements will be processed ahead of lower priority applications, regardless of when the application is lodged.

The following table details processing priorities for skilled migration applications.
Note: The highest priority is listed first. SkillSelect applications (187, 186, 190 and 489) will be the highest priority in each group.


Priority Group Number Application Type
1 Applications under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).
2 Applications under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
3 Nominated by a state or territory government agency for an occupation specified on that agency’s State Migration Plan (SMP).

Order of processing will be:
  1. applications lodged from 1 July 2012 through SkillSelect (subclass 190 and 489 applications)
  2. applications in this priority for other General Skilled Migration (GSM) subclasses (subclass 176, 475, 487 and 886 applications).
4 Applications with nominated occupations on the Skilled Occupation List Schedule 1.
See: Skilled Occupation List (108KB PDF file)

Order of processing will be:
  1. applications lodged from 1 July 2012 through SkillSelect (subclass 189 and 489 applications)
  2. applications within this priority for other GSM subclasses (subclass 175, 176, 475, 487, 885 and 886 applications).
5 All other applications, which include the following
Note: These subclasses are not listed in order of processing:
  1. applications for a State or Territory Sponsored visa (subclass 176, 475, 487 and 886 applications) where a state or territory approved nomination has either not been provided or has not been accepted by the department
  2. applications for a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 175 and 885 applications) where the nominated occupation is not on the SOL
  3. applications for a family sponsored skilled migration visa (subclass 176, 475, 487, 496 and 886 applications) where the nominated occupation is not on the SOL.

Processing times – skilled migration applications affected by processing priorities

The below table describes the processing times for skilled migration visa subclasses.


Priority Group Number Visa Subclass Processing Time
1 RSMS
(subclass 119, 857)
Skilled Regional
Low risk – 5 months
High risk – 8 months
SkillSelect
(subclass 187)
6 months
2 ENS
(subclass 121, 856)
Low risk – 5 months
High risk – 8 months
SkillSelect
(subclass 186)
6 months
3 SMP
(subclass 176, 475, 487, 886)
12 months
SkillSelect SMP
(subclass 190 and 489)
3 months
4 Nominated Occupation on the SOL – Schedule 1
(subclass 175, 495, 496, 861, 862, 863, 880, 881, 882, 883, 885 and 176, 475, 487 if not SMP)
18 months
SkillSelect Independent and Family Sponsored
(subclass 189 and 489)
3 months
5 All visas listed in priority 3 and 4 that are not SMP or Nominated Occupation on the SOL – Schedule 1 Assessment will commence when all cases in priority groups 1-4 are finalised

Processing times – skilled migration applications exempt from processing priorities

The following visa subclasses are exempt from priority processing. These subclasses are processed in the order in which they are received.


Visa Subclass Processing Time
476 7 months
489 Subsequent entrant/ Renewal 6 months
887 6 months
120, 855 Low risk – 5 months
High risk – 8 months

Definition – low/high risk

The terms 'Low risk' and 'High risk' show whether passport holders are eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Low risk applies to nationals from countries which issue ETA eligible passports. A list of these can be found on the department's website. High risk countries are those which are not ETA eligible.
See: ETA Eligible Passports

More information on worker category visas is available.
See: Workers

More information on SkillSelect visas is available.
See: SkillSelect

Last reviewed Monday 03 March 2014

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