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What is the Points Test?

Professionals and Other Skilled Migrants

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The points test is a transparent and objective method of selecting skilled migrants with the skills and attributes needed in Australia. The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has the power to set the pass and pool marks for the points test.

The following General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas are subject to a points test assessment:

  • Skilled (Migrant) (Class VE) Independent subclass 175 visas
  • Skilled (Migrant) (Class VE) Sponsored subclass 176 visas
  • Skilled (Provisional) (Class VC) Regional – Sponsored subclass 487 visas
  • Skilled (Provisional) (Class VF) Regional – Sponsored subclass 475 visas
  • Skilled (Residence) (Class VB) Independent subclass 885 visas
  • Skilled (Residence) (Class VB) Sponsored subclass 886 visas.

What is the pass mark?

The pass mark is the total number of points you need to be eligible for any visa that is subject to a points test. The current pass mark is 65 points.

What is the pool mark?

Where the pool mark is set lower than the pass mark, applicants whose score is lower than the pass mark but is equal or greater than the pool mark, are held in a pool for a specified time. Currently, however, the pool mark for all visas that are subject to a points test is equal to the pass mark, which means no applications are currently being placed in the pool.

For applications lodged before 1 July 2011

An application for a GSM visa lodged before 1 July 2011 is given a points score after assessment against the points test and pass mark prior to 1 July 2011.

For applications lodged from 1 July 2011

On 1 July 2011 a new points test and pass mark were introduced. Subclass 485 visa holders eligible for transitional provisions who lodge on or after 1 July 2011, may also be assessed under the points test and pass mark prior to 1 July 2011.
See: GSM Transitional Arrangements

Pass and pool marks before and after July 2011


Visa class/subclass before 1 July 2011 after 1 July 2011
Skilled (Migrant) (Class VE) Independent subclass 175 visas 120 65
Skilled (Migrant) (Class VE) Sponsored subclass 176 visas 100 65
Skilled (Provisional) (Class VC) Regional – Sponsored subclass 487 visas 100 65
Skilled (Provisional) (Class VF) Regional – Sponsored subclass 475 visas 100 65
Skilled (Residence) (Class VB) Independent subclass 885 visas 120 65
Skilled (Residence) (Class VB) Sponsored subclass 886 visas 100 65

Further information on the 1 July 2011 points test can be found on the department's website.
See: 1 July 2011 – Points Test for Certain Skilled Migration Visas ( 95KB PDF file)

What happens to applications that were placed in the pool?

When a new pass or pool mark is set, the points score of an application which was previously placed in the pool must be compared against new pass and pool marks.

In cases where the pool mark is set to the same level as the pass mark, an application in the pool with an assessed score less than the pass mark must be removed from the pool and finally decided.

The department will be finalising those applications previously in pool.

What if your application does not meet the pass mark?

An application that does not meet the pass mark for the visa applied for must be refused.

Prospective applicants who are unable to achieve the required number of points to apply for skilled migration may want to consider their eligibility for an alternative migration option, such as the Employer Nomination Scheme or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

Further information on these programs is available on the department's website.
See: Workers

How often does the pass mark change?

The pass mark is a tool that allows for management of the skilled migration program and is subject to change in response to Australian labour market needs.

You should check the current pass mark immediately before making an application. You will be assessed against the pass mark that is in effect at the time a decision is made on your application.

Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014