Australia Visa Guide: General Skilled Migration vs. Temporary Skill Shortage

Australia, renowned for its vibrant cities, high standard of living, and vast opportunities, is a coveted destination for many looking to build a new life. Two of the primary visa options for skilled workers seeking to move to Australia are the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa and the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. Both have unique benefits and requirements, making them suitable for different circumstances and career plans. This guide provides an in-depth comparison of these two visas, helping you decide which is the best pathway for your Australian journey.

General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visa

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is designed for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer but possess skills in demand in the Australian labor market. It includes several visa subclasses, with the most common being:

  1. Subclass 189 (Skilled Independent Visa): This visa does not require a sponsor and is based on points.
  2. Subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa): This visa requires a nomination from an Australian state or territory government.
  3. Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional Visa): This visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Skills Assessment: Applicants must undergo a skills assessment through a relevant assessing authority for their occupation.
  2. Points Test: A minimum score of 65 points is required, based on factors such as age, English language proficiency, work experience, and education.
  3. Occupation List: The applicant’s occupation must be on the relevant Skilled Occupation List.
  4. Health and Character Requirements: Applicants must meet health and character requirements set by the Australian government.
  5. Age Limit: Generally, applicants must be under 45 years of age.

Application Process

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI): Submit an EOI through Skill Select.
  2. Invitation to Apply: Receive an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs to apply for the visa.
  3. Lodging the Visa Application: Submit the visa application with all required documents.
  4. Processing Time: The processing time can vary, typically ranging from several months to over a year.


  1. Permanent Residency: The GSM visa provides a pathway to permanent residency, allowing you to live, work, and study in Australia indefinitely.
  2. Access to Healthcare and Education: Visa holders have access to Medicare and can study at Australian educational institutions.
  3. Family Inclusion: You can include eligible family members in your application.
  4. Freedom to Work: You are not tied to a specific employer, offering greater flexibility in employment.

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa

The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, also known as the Subclass 482 visa, is designed to address labor shortages by allowing employers to sponsor skilled workers from overseas. The TSS visa is divided into three streams:

  1. Short-Term Stream: For occupations listed on the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), valid for up to two years (or four years if an International Trade Obligation applies).
  2. Medium-Term Stream: For occupations listed on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), valid for up to four years and provides a pathway to permanent residency.
  3. Labour Agreement Stream: For workers nominated under a labor agreement with the Australian government.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Sponsorship: Applicants must be sponsored by an approved Australian employer.
  2. Nomination: The employer must nominate the applicant for an occupation on the relevant occupation list.
  3. Skills and Experience: The applicant must have the skills and experience required for the nominated position.
  4. English Language Proficiency: Depending on the stream, applicants must meet specific English language requirements.
  5. Health and Character Requirements: Similar to the GSM visa, applicants must meet health and character requirements.

Application Process

  1. Sponsorship Approval: The employer must apply to become a standard business sponsor.
  2. Nomination Application: The employer nominates the applicant for a specific position.
  3. Visa Application: The applicant submits the visa application, including evidence of skills, experience, and English proficiency.
  4. Processing Time: Processing times vary depending on the stream and individual circumstances, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months.


  1. Quick Entry: The TSS visa can be processed relatively quickly, allowing for faster entry into Australia.
  2. Employment Security: Being employer-sponsored ensures a job upon arrival.
  3. Pathway to Permanent Residency: The Medium-Term and Labour Agreement streams offer pathways to permanent residency.
  4. Flexibility for Employers: Employers can address specific labor shortages by sponsoring skilled workers.

Comparing GSM and TSS Visas

Duration and Residency

  1. GSM Visa: Offers permanent residency from the outset.
  2. TSS Visa: Typically, temporary, with the Medium-Term stream offering a pathway to permanent residency.

Job Flexibility

  1. GSM Visa: Provides the freedom to work for any employer in Australia.
  2. TSS Visa: Ties the visa holder to the sponsoring employer, with limited flexibility to change jobs without affecting visa status.

Processing Time

  1. GSM Visa: Generally longer processing times due to the comprehensive assessment involved.
  2. TSS Visa: Can be processed more quickly, allowing for faster entry into the country.

Sponsorship Requirement

  1. GSM Visa: Does not require employer sponsorship; suitable for individuals with skills in demand.
  2. TSS Visa: Requires employer sponsorship, making it dependent on securing a job offer from an Australian employer.

Pathway to Permanent Residency

  1. GSM Visa: Direct pathway to permanent residency.
  2. TSS Visa: Offers a pathway through the Medium-Term stream and Labour Agreement stream, but not for the Short-Term stream.


  1. GSM Visa: Generally higher initial application fees due to the permanent residency status.
  2. TSS Visa: Lower initial fees, but potential additional costs if transitioning to permanent residency later.

How Visa4You Can Help You

Navigating the complexities of Australian immigration can be challenging, whether you are applying for a General Skilled Migration visa or a Temporary Skill Shortage visa. This is where Visa4You comes in, offering comprehensive support and expert guidance throughout your visa application journey.

  • Personalized Visa Assessment – Visa4You starts with a thorough assessment of your individual circumstances, skills, and goals. This personalized approach ensures that you understand your eligibility for the different visa options and choose the one that best suits your needs.
  • Expert Guidance on Visa Selection – Based on the assessment, Visa4You provides tailored advice on whether the GSM or TSS visa is more appropriate for your situation. Our experts explain the benefits and requirements of each visa type, helping you make an informed decision.
  • Assistance with Documentation – Accurate and complete documentation is critical to a successful visa application. Visa4You assists you in compiling, organizing, and reviewing all necessary documents, ensuring that your application meets the stringent requirements of the Australian immigration authorities.
  • Application Preparation and Submission – Our team guides you through the entire application process, from preparing your Expression of Interest (EOI) for the GSM visa to coordinating with your employer for the TSS visa nomination. We ensure that your application is submitted correctly and promptly, maximizing your chances of a positive outcome.
  • Ongoing Support and Updates – Visa4You provides continuous support throughout the application process, keeping you informed of any updates or additional requirements. We act as your liaison with the immigration authorities, handling all communications on your behalf.
  • Pathway to Permanent Residency – For those on the TSS visa, Visa4You offers guidance on transitioning to permanent residency, ensuring a smooth and successful progression through the necessary steps.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance – Staying abreast of the latest immigration laws and policies is crucial. Visa4You ensures that your application complies with all current regulations, minimizing the risk of delays or rejections.

In conclusion, whether you are considering the General Skilled Migration visa for its permanent residency benefits or the Temporary Skill Shortage visa for a quicker entry and employment security, Visa4You is here to assist you every step of the way. Our expert services are designed to simplify the process, provide clarity, and enhance your chances of success in achieving your Australian dream.

For personalized assistance and to start your visa application journey, contact Visa4You today.