From 1 July 2012 the Australian Government is making changes to the skilled migration program.
 
Introduction of new points test skilled migration visas

The six existing points test based skilled migration visa subclasses (175, 176, 475, 885, 886 and 487) will be consolidated into three new visa subclasses:

*Subclass 189 (skilled independent – permanent)
*Subclass 190 (skilled nominated – permanent)
*Subclass 489 (skilled regional – provisional).

From 1 July 2012, intending migrants, both in and outside Australia, may submit an expression of interest for subclass 189, 190 or 489 visas.

From 1 July 2012, points tested skilled migration visas granted outside Australia (175, 176 and 475) will be closed for all new applications. Points tested skilled migration visas granted in Australia (885,886 and 487) will remain open for new applications until 1 January 2013.

Until 1 January 2013 intending skilled migrants in Australia may be able to submit an expression of interest, through SkillSelect, for one of the new points tested visas (subclasses 189, 190 and 489) and/or make an application outside of SkillSelect for an 885, 886 or 487 visa, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

Introduction of SkillSelect

SkillSelect is an online service that will be introduced on 1 July 2012 and will involve significant changes to the skilled visa application process. Intending migrants will first need to submit an expression of interest and then will need to be invited to apply for one of the new points tested skilled migration visas. Further information about these changes is available. See:http://www.skillselect.gov.au

Skilled migration points test requirements under SkillSelect

The three points-tested skilled migration visa subclasses (189, 190 and 489) will continue to require intending migrants pass a points test to be invited to apply for a visa. Factors assessed under the new points test will be similar to the current points test. The main difference is that the points will be based on the applicant’s attributes at the time of invitation rather than at the time of application lodgement or decision.

The pass mark is the minimum number of points required to be eligible for a points tested skilled migration visa and is subject to change in response to Australian labour market needs. The current pass mark can be found on the department’s website.
Under SkillSelect, the ability to meet the points test mark will not guarantee an invitation to apply. Invitations will be issued periodically to the highest ranking expressions of interest subject to occupation ceilings. An expression of interest is not an application for a visa. If you are invited to apply, you will have to demonstrate that the claims in your expression of interest are correct.

1 July 2012 Points Test for the subclass 189, 190 and 489 visas
Factor Description Points
Age, at time of invitation 18-24 (inclusive) 25 points
25-32 (inclusive) 30 points
33-39 (inclusive) 25 points
40-44 (inclusive) 15 points
45-49 (inclusive) 0 points
English language competency level, at time of invitation Competent English – IELTS 6 / OET B 0 points
Proficient English – IELTS 7 / OET B 10 points
Superior English – IELTS 8 / OET A 20 points
Overseas skilled employment in nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation, at time of invitation At least three but less than five years (of past 10 years) 5 points
At least five but less than eight years (of past 10 years) 10 points
At least eight and up to 10 years (of past 10 years) 15 points
Australian skilled employment in nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation, at time of invitation
(Note that the maximum points awarded for any combination of overseas and Australian skilled employment is 20 points)
At least one but less than three years (of past 10 years) 5 points
At least three but less than five years (of past 10 years) 10 points
At least five but less than eight years (of past 10 years) 15 points
At least eight and up to 10 years (of past ten years) 20 points
Educational qualifications, at time of invitation. Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or other Doctorate of a recognised standard 20 points
At least a Bachelor degree, including a Bachelor degree with Honours or Masters, from an Australian educational institution or other degree of a recognised standard 15 points
Diploma completed in Australia, trade qualification completed in Australia, or qualification or award of recognised standard 10 points
Australian study qualifications, at time of invitation One or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications awarded by an Australian educational institution and meet Australian Study Requirement 5 points
Other factors, at time of invitation Credentialled community language qualifications 5 points
Study in regional Australia or in a low population
growth metropolitan area (excluding distance education
5 points
)
Partner skill qualifications 5 points
Professional Year completion, for a period of at least
12 months in the four year period immediately before the day on which the invitation was issued
5 points
Nomination/Sponsorship, at time of invitation Nomination by State or Territory government
(visa subclass 190 only)
5 points
Nomination by State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member, for residing and working in a specified/designated area
(visa subclass 489 only)
10 points