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Skilled 190 Visa pathway for STEM graduates

Written By Micaela Hoglund
Fri, Jan 19, 2018
Micaela Hoglund

Are you STEM-qualified and interested in becoming a permanent resident of Australia?

STEM-qualified refers to those members of the Australian population with a post-secondary qualification at the level of Certificate III or above in any of the following fields of education1:

  • Natural and Physical Sciences (NPS)
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Engineering and Related Technologies (ERT)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Related Studies (AERS)
  • Mathematical Sciences

Or “Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths” for short.

STEM fields have been widely recognised as key to national economic growth in Australia.2 Employers of businesses across these important growth industries, as well as more general professions, find that employees with STEM qualifications are extremely successful at their jobs. However, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to source candidates for these positions from the local labour market.

According to a 2013 Deloitte Access Survey commissioned by the Office of the Chief Scientist, 144 of 356 employers reported difficulty filling technician and trade worker roles, and 135 of 429 had difficulty recruiting STEM graduates. Additionally, 241 of 451 employers expected their needs for STEM professionals to increase over the next five to ten years and 169 of 342 expect an increase in their needs for STEM-qualified technicians and tradespeople.3 The 2015 report on the survey notes that this trend is not unique to Australia. Most modern economies in the world are working to harness the technological and innovation advantages that a STEM education can bring.4

The Australian Government is taking proactive steps through its current immigration policy in targeting recent STEM graduates from Australian educational institutions and STEM-qualified members of the workforce by creating new visa pathways and relaxing eligibility criteria needed for successful visa applications, as a means to further grow these industries in Australia. 

According to the Office of the Chief Scientist, the top six industries STEM graduates go on to work in are5:

  • 25% – Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • 10% – Manufacturing
  • 10% – Public Administration and Safety
  • 10% – Education and Training
  • 6% –  Health Care and Social Assistance
  • 5% –  Financial and Insurance Services

Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 Visa

Just one of the range of immigration pathways open to those skilled in a STEM profession is the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa. This visa allows skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state or territory government to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. Each state and territory has its own unique list of occupations, requirements and processes you must follow.


Applicants will need to meet a points score of at least 60 or more on their invitation letter, as at the time they are invited. You can check your provisional point score here.

In addition to achieving the above score, applicants will need to provide identity documents, meet the age, health and character requirements and have achieved Competent English.

Application Process

The first step in the process is to obtain a positive skills assessment which demonstrates you have the skills and qualifications to work in that occupation. We recommend contacting a migration agent in advance to gain an idea of what documents will need to be submitted, as some may take some time to source.

Once the skills assessment has been finalised, the next step is to submit an expression of interest (EOI) via SkillSelect with details of your nominated occupation, skills and qualifications. EOIs can be submitted in or outside of Australia. SkillSelect will review your file and estimate your points score – the relevant Australian state or territory government agency will then be able to view your EOI and decide if they wish to nominate you.

How TSS Immigration can assist

The Skilled 190 Visa is an excellent visa option for STEM-qualified graduates and members of the workforce as it lets you stay in Australia indefinitely and allows you to work, study, enrol in Medicare, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency, travel to and from Australia for five years and apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible.

TSS can guide you through the entire process including assessing your eligibility, providing an estimate of your points score, preparing your EOI, liaising with the state or territory to ensure their specific processes are followed, gathering and collating the required documents and drafting and lodging your visa application.

We can also advise you in the event that your visa application has special circumstances or complications.

If you are STEM-qualified and want to understand your future visa options, please contact a member of our expert team.


1ABS 2006b and 2011c. Census of Population and Housing. Cat no. 2006 and 2011. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.
2A Smart Move, Future-proofing Australia's workforce by growing skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), PricewaterhouseCoopers, (2015).
3Office of the Chief Scientist (2014), Stem Skills in the Workforce: What do Employers Want? Occasional Paper Series, Issue 9, Australian Government, Prinsley, R and Baranyai K.
4Office of the Chief Scientist (2014), Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia's Future, Australian Government, Canberra.
5ABS 2011. Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). Cat. no. 1272.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

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