Workforce Skills Pathway | What Do You Need to Qualify?

Between COVID-19 and the great resignation, a number of critical industries are facing a severe talent shortage.

We’ve previously dove deep into the talent shortage in Australia, with articles on:

In Victoria, the government targets specific industries to stem talent shortages through the Workforce Skills Pathway program. Primarily, this initiative targets roles that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By heading through this pathway, workers can obtain permanent residency in Australia when they can’t go through an alternate migration pathway.

Which roles are in demand?

The Workforce Skills Pathway is targeting two industries with this program:


Specifically, the Victorian government wants to attract skilled chefs and cooks to the workforce. During the pandemic, many skilled chefs and cooks left their job to take up other vocations – now that lockdowns are rarer,

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, job ads for hospitality staff are at a two year high, while applicants are at a two-year low.

Early Childhood Teachers

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the childcare sector is facing 6,000 job vacancies throughout Australia. This has been caused by a combination of border closures and COVID-19 quarantine requirements.

The government is hoping to meet this teacher deficit through the Workforce Skills Pathway program, and is part of a $5 billion investment over the next decade.

Who’s eligible?

Both hospitality workers and early childhood teachers can go through the Workforce Skills Pathway by applying for a subclass 190 or 491 Victorian visa.

  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) – This is a permanent visa for workers skilled in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). They need to be nominated by Victorian and currently working in the state.
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) – This visa lasts for five years, and specifically targets workers who live in designated regional areas.

Why go for the temporary 491 over the permanent 190? According to the Victorian government,  there is much higher demand for the 190 subclass compared to the 491 subclass. Because of this, they advise that these workers apply for 491 if they’re after faster processing times.

Eligibility for both visas includes:

  • Submit a registration of interest, and be accepted.
  • Work in a sector being targeted by the Victorian government.
  • For the 190 visa, live in Victoria, and for the 491 visa, live in regional Victoria.
  • Be under 45.
  • Speak English.
  • Conduct a skills assessment. For 190, applicants need above a 60, and for 490, they need to surpass minimum requirement.

Additionally, applicants for 190 will need to stay in Australia for at least two years, and 490 for the duration of their visa.

How do you apply for a Workforce Skills Pathway?

Both visa subclasses have the same method for applying:

  1. First, go to SkillSelect and make an expression of interest. SkillSelect tracks skills assessments for certain visas.
  2. Then, you have to submit a Registration of Interest for Victorian Visa Nomination.
    1. Select Yes when asked ‘Are you applying under a Workforce Skills Pathway?’
    2. Choose whether you’re applying for subclass 190 or 491.
  3. Once assessed and invited, you’ll have 14 days to apply for a nomination through the Live in Melbourne portal.
  4. Finally, once your nomination is accepted, you’ll have 60 days to submit your visa application through the Department of Home Affairs.

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