Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa
The Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa provides the opportunity for overseas workers with required skills and New Zealand citizens to live and work permanently in Australia.
There are two streams under the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa, namely, the Points Tested stream and the New Zealand stream. As well as meeting the criteria under the relevant stream, applicants will need to satisfy health and character requirements.
You might not be eligible for a Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa if you had a prior visa cancelled or refused while you were in Australia
Points Tested Stream
Under the Points Tested stream of the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa, applicants may qualify based on scoring a sufficient number of points on the relevant points test.
To be eligible for the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa under this stream, your occupation must be on the relevant skilled occupations list, and you need to be under 45 years of age when invited to apply.
If you intend to apply under the Points Tested stream of the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa, you should obtain a suitable skills assessment.
Proof of skills assessment may be accepted for medical practitioners who have an unconditional or general medical registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (‘AHPRA’), or conditional specialist registration with AHPRA that authorises them to practice in their speciality.
For legal practitioners, skills assessment requirements may be met by evidence of admission to practice law in an Australian state or territory.
You must show that your English language proficiency is at least at the Competent level in order to be granted a Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa.
To show that you have Competent English, you need to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
Alternatively, in the 3 years immediately before you apply for the visa, you must score sufficient points in one of the following English language tests:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – at least 6.0 in each of the four test components.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) – at least 18 for speaking, 13 for reading, 12 for listening, and 21 for writing.
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) – at least 50 in each of the test components.
- Occupational English Test (OET) – at least B in each of the test components.
- Cambridge C1 Advanced Test – at least 169 in each of the test components.
You must score at least 65 points on the points test to be eligible for the Subclass 189 visa. However, for certain occupations subject to pro-rata arrangements, the required points score may be higher.
If you are invited you to apply for the visa, you must show evidence of the claims you made in your Expression of Interest including with respect to your points score.
Points are allocated for factors such as your qualifications, skilled employment in Australia and overseas, English language proficiency, and age.
Points may also be awarded based on specialist education qualifications, accreditation in a community language, study in regional Australia or low population growth area, partner skill qualifications and professional year in Australia, or by meeting the Australian study requirement.
New Zealand Stream
The New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa allows eligible New Zealand citizens to live and work permanently in Australia.
Applicants under the New Zealand stream must hold a New Zealand Special Category (Subclass 444) visa. Applicants must have usually resided in Australia for a continuous period of no less than 5 years immediately before the date of their application, and they must have started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016.
Applicants under the New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa need to satisfy certain income requirements.
The applicant’s taxable income for each of the 4 completed financial years before applying for the visa, as shown on their ATO (Australian Taxation Office) notices of assessment, must be at least the income threshold listed in the relevant regulatory instrument for that income year.
This threshold is currently $53,900, that is, the same income level as the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.