General Skilled Migration
(Subclass 189 Permanent Skilled independent Visa)
The 189 Visa is a points-tested permanent visa for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an Australian employer, family member or have been nominated a state or territory. Applicants must obtain a minimum of 65 points on the point assessment to be eligible to apply for the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189). To apply for this visa, an applicant must submit an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited by SkillSelect. Upon receiving an invitation to apply for this visa, you have 60 days to submit your application. Once the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa has been granted, the visa holder and accompanying family members are are able to live, work and study in Australia as permanent residents.
(Subclass 190 Permanent Skilled Nominated Visa)
The Skilled Nominated Visa is a points-tested permanent visa for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government. Applicants must obtain a minimum of 65 points on a points assessment to be eligible to apply for a Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) and must be nominated by a participating State or Territory government in Australia. To apply for this visa, you must submit an expression of interest (EOI) and be invited by SkillSelect. Please note that each State has its own set of eligibility criteria.
(Subclass 491 Provisional Skilled work Regional Visa)
The 491 Skilled work Regional (provisional)visa replaces the 489 visa. The Skilled Regional Visa is designed to encourage skilled workers to live and work is specified regional parts of Australia for up to five years. Applicants must be sponsored by an Australian relative who is living in a designated area, or be nominated State or Territory government. Please note that each State has its own set of eligibility criteria.
(Subclass 191 Permanent Visa)
The subclass 191 skilled regional visa is a pathway to permanent residency for applicants who hold a 491 Skilled work Regional (provisional) visa. This visa allows individuals holding a qualifying visa who have lived for at least 3 years in a designated regional area and who have also earned the specified income amount, to reside permanently in Australia. The visa can include eligible members of your family. You do not need a sponsor or nominator for this visa. The visa will opened to new applications on the 16 November 2022.
New Zealand Citizens (Subclass 189 Visa)
This visa has temporarily closed to new applications. This pause on new applications means an application cannot be made from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023
The 189, New Zealand stream Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa has temporarily closed to new applications. This means a new application cannot be made from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.
This is a temporary pause on new applications while the Government considers future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia, reflecting the close ties between our two countries.
For the interim, The Department of Home Affairs will seek to finalise the majority of on-hand applications in the New Zealand stream.
Most New Zealand stream applicants have been waiting several years for their visa application to be finalised due to the limited number of places allocated to this group in recent years.
The following streamlining measures introduced acknowledge that this this group of New Zealand citizens are long-term residents of Australia, have been working here and contributing to Australia’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include removing the requirement for New Zealand stream on-hand applicants to satisfy criteria relating to:
- a period of residence in Australia;
- minimum income threshold requirement;
- health requirement, given the access New Zealand citizens already in Australia have to Medicare.
Grant of New Zealand stream visas in the 2022-23 Program Year will allow visa holders to access the benefits of permanent residence more quickly, notably the immediate ability to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme and automatic acquisition of Australian citizenship at birth for their children born in Australia.
Questions and Answers
Why can’t I apply for a New Zealand stream visa on or after 10 December 2022?
The New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa has been temporarily close to new applications. This pause on new applications means an application for a New Zealand stream visa cannot be lodged from 10 December 2022 until 1 July 2023.
Applications have been paused to avoid disappointment for new prospective applicants while the Government is considering future options for New Zealand citizens in Australia. These options will be designed to more appropriately reflect the close ties our two countries have, and the positive contribution New Zealanders make to Australia.
What happens to my New Zealand stream visa application that I made before 10 December 2022?
The Government is continuing to process these applications with an intention to finalise the majority by mid-2023.
Can I add my partner and/or my child to my New Zealand stream application after 10 December 2022?
Yes, partners and children may be added to New Zealand stream applications that were lodged before 10 December 2022.
I started an application for a New Zealand stream visa in ImmiAccount before 10 December 2022, can I submit it on or after 10 December 2022?
No. If you started an application for a New Zealand stream visa in ImmiAccount before 10 December 2022 you will not be able to submit your application on or after 10 December 2022.
I lodged an application for a New Zealand stream visa before 10 December 2022, do I need to provide any further information?
The Department of Home Affairs will contact you and request any additional information if required.
What are the period of residence, income threshold and health requirements that have been streamlined and are no longer required to be satisfied by on-hand New Zealand stream visa applicants?
The New Zealand stream criteria that no longer need to be satisfied by a primary applicant are those that previously required the applicant to:
- be resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately prior to the date of application, and that residence began prior to 19 February 2016; and
- meet the taxable income threshold in relation to three income years within five years immediately before the date of application (including the income year that ended most recently before the date of application), or be exempt, for example due to care of a child who is to remain in Australia; and
- satisfy Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 relating to health
Family members of the primary applicant included in the visa application will also no longer need to satisfy Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4007 relating to health.
Why have these requirements been removed?
The purpose of the streamlining arrangements is to support faster visa processing of on-hand New Zealand stream applications for New Zealand citizens (and their family members) who have been living in Australia generally for a significant period of time and continued to work in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Does removal of the health criterion post a threat to the Australian community and place undue cost on the public health system?
No. All applicants for a New Zealand stream visa currently hold a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) and are already living in the Australian community. Unlike most other temporary visa holders, New Zealand citizens in Australia who hold a Special Category Visa (Subclass 444) already have access to Medicare – they do not require grant of a permanent visa to access Medicare.
Family member applicants who are not the holder of a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) and hold another temporary visa would have had health assessed in relation to that temporary visa before being permitted to enter Australia.
Migration to Australia under the “skilled visa” category, requires lodging an expression of interest (EOI), and receiving an invitation from the DOHA (Department of Home Affairs). In order to be eligible to lodge an expression of interest to migrate, you are required to score a total of 65 points.
Points are awarded for age, English proficiency, work experience in an occupation on the relevant eligibility list, qualifications, and state or family sponsorship.
The following information applies to all points-based Skilled Migration that includes the following Subclasses:
Subclass 189 Skilled Independent
Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated
Subclass 491 Skilled Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional)
Every application is subject to a “skills assessment,” this is undertaken by an independent authority appointed by the Australian Government. We will advise you which assessing authority is relevant to your particular occupation, and that of your spouse, if you are claiming bonus points for spouse qualifications. The purpose of this assessment is to determine whether or not your qualifications and skills are at a level that is equivalent to the Australian standards. The assessment is conducted by an independent authority, and is a critical part of the process (as are all parts of the process), and one with which we strongly advise that you only seek the assistance of a professional Australian Registered Migration Agent.
Once your skill assessment has been completed, we will receive notification from the relevant assessing authority stating either that:
- “Your skills have been assessed as being suitable to make an application to migrate”
- “Your skills have been assessed as not being suitable to make an application to migrate”.
In the case of (A.), we would then proceed to lodge your EOI with the DIBP. At the time of lodging your application with the DOHA, the primary applicant will also be required to provide an IELTS examination result or equivalent (i.e. PTE or TOFEL), evidencing the required level of English proficiency, relevant to your particular application. This can range between a minimum of 6, to a minimum of 8 in each of the four bands of reading, writing, speaking and listening. In most cases this can be done while we are preparing and processing your skill assessment. However for some occupations, an IELTS result must be provided at the time of lodging the application for a skill assessment, we will advise you whether or not this requirement is applicable to you.
In the case of (B.), I may, if instructed by you, appeal the decision, or you may be required to provide further evidentiary documentation.
Once the EOI has been lodged, it will be entirely up to the DOHA to assess and determine whether or not to issue you with an invitation to lodge your visa application.
If you have not been invited to lodge a visa application within the time specified by the DOHA, your EOI will expire. If you are invited to lodge a visa application, we would then start to prepare your application for lodgement with the DOHA. The application must be lodged within the prescribed time.
Please note, the timing and sequence for lodging documents is critical.