May 14, 2021

Skilled Migration: Processing priorities 2021

The processing of certain Skilled visa applications is subject to both Migration Program planning levels and priority processing arrangements set by the Minister which determine the order in which the applications are processed.  The Department must process applications in accordance with planning levels and processing priorities.

The following points-tested skilled migration visas are subject to processing priority arrangements:

  • Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) (Points-tested stream)
  • Subclass 190 (Skilled – Nominated)
  • Subclass 489 (Skilled – Regional (Provisional))
  • Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional))

For the above listed visa subclasses, the current processing priorities at 14.05.2021 (with the highest priority listed first) are:

  1. Visa applications for any points tested subclass where the Department has determined that the applicant has an occupation within a Critical Sector.
  2. Subclass 491 (non-Critical Sector) – applicants are in Australia
  3. Subclass 491 (non-Critical Sector) – applicants are outside of Australia
  4. Subclass 489 (non-Critical Sector)
  5. Subclass 190 (non-Critical Sector)
  6. Subclass 189 – Points tested stream only (non-Critical Sector)


The current processing priorities came into effect from 31 August 2020 and apply to applications lodged with the Department on or after this date.  They also apply to applications that were lodged with the Department before this date and are not finalised including those in the final stages of processing.

Processing times

Updated skilled migration processing times are available here.

Visa processing times are updated monthly, providing you with an indicative timeframe for processing applications.

Applicants should be aware that the processing time for applications that are not within a Critical Sector may exceed the average processing time.  This is because each visa subclass contains applications that have a different processing priority.

Global Talent visa pathway – subclass 858

Visa applications identified through the Global Talent Program are priority processed.


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