189 Visa

The points-tested stream of a Subclass 189 skilled independent visa is the primary skilled independent visa subclass for permanent residency for persons in an occupation for which Australia experiences a labour shortage. Visa applications are only accepted if the applicants have been invited on SkillSelect. This skilled visa for Australia does not require state or employer nomination. Upon grant of the visa application, 189 visa holders may work and study in Australia permanently. You may also include certain family members in your subclass 189 visa application, provided said family members are members of your family unit.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the skilled independent visa subclass 189 under the points tested stream, the applicant must:
  • Be in an eligible occupation;
  • Be invited during an invitation round on Skillselect to apply;
  • Have a positive skills assessment from no more than 3 years ago;
  • Have competent English; and
  • Have the same Schedule 6D points as claimed in the Expression of Interest (EOI).


Only specified occupations are eligible to apply for Subclass 189 visa. This list of occupations is referred to as the “Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List” and is the most restrictive of all occupation lists applicable in the Australian migration scheme. When lodging your expression of interest you must specify your occupation and hold the applicable skills assessment. This detail must be determined well before making an expression of interest as it is not possible to change after being invited to apply for a skilled visa to Australia.

Invitation Rounds

Invitations for Subclass 189 visas operate under an annual quota. The portion of this quota is utilized every month, and in each round a set number of persons are invited to apply for the 189 visa on the basis of their EOI. Priority is given by number of points and the date on which each EOI was lodged.

Because demand outstrips supply, being invited to apply for a skilled visa in Australia is highly competitive. The minimum points required to secure an invitation varies depending on the level of competition. Some occupations are subject to additional restrictions, rendering receipt of the skilled independent 189 visa invitation more competitive.

Skills Assessment

For each eligible occupation, an authority is tasked with assessing the suitability of applicants for said occupation. This process of assessment is known as “Skills Assessment.” Each assessor sets its own standards. For certain occupations, multiple bodies may conduct skills assessments for migration purposes.

Schedule 6D Points

As mentioned above, the skilled independent visa subclass 189 operates on a points tested bases. These are awarded on a range of factors and must be substantiated with evidence when preparing your 189 visa application. These factors and the points awarded for each have been extracted below.


  • Not less than 18 and under 25 – 25 pts
  • Not less than 25 and under 33 – 30 pts
  • Not less than 33 and under 40 – 25 pts
  • Not less than 40 and under 45 – 15 pts


  • Competent English – 0 pts
  • Proficient English – 10 pts
  • Superior English – 20 pts

Overseas Employment Experience in the Last 10 Years

  • 36 months – 5 pts
  • 60 months – 10 pts
  • 96 months – 15 pts

Australian Employment Experience in the Last 10 Years

  • 12 months – 5 pts
  • 36 months – 10 pts
  • 60 months – 15 pts
  • 96 months – 20 pts
  • NOTE: You cannot claim more than a total of 20 points for all work experience in Australia and overseas.

Australian Professional Year (IT, Engineering and Accounting only)

  • Completed within the last 48 months – 5 pts


  • Recognized qualification – 10 pts
  • Trade qualification – 10 pts
  • Diploma – 10 pts
  • Bachelor – 15 pts
  • Doctorate – 20 pts
  • NOTE: You can only claim one set of points for your highest level of qualification. The bachelor qualification or other qualification does not have to be related to the applicant’s nominated occupation.

Specialist Education – Masters by Research or Doctoral Degree

  • Qualification competed in a specified field – 10 pts

Australian Study

  • Degree, diploma or trade qualification completed in Australia – 5 pts

Regional Study

  • Degree, diploma or trade qualification completed in regional Australia – 5 pts
  • NOTE: You may claim points for both Australian study and regional study for a total of 10 points collectively.

NAATI Certification in a Community Language

  • Certified translator or interpreter in a specified language – 5 pts
  • NOTE: Not all languages are classed as community languages.

Partner Qualifications (Non-citizen Non-permanent Resident Partners Only)

  • Partner has competent English – 5 pts
  • No partner – 10 pts
  • Partner is under 45 and has a positive skills assessment for an eligible occupation – 10 pts
  • NOTE: Only one of the above may be claimed.

Applicable Public Interest Criteria

4001, 4002, 4003, 4004, 4020, 4021 and 4019 (if applicable)

Applicable Special Return Criteria

5001, 5002 and 5010


Australia attaches no conditions to Subclass 189 visas. This visa permits you and the family members included in your application to live and work in Australia indefinitely.

Application Charges

The 189 skilled independent visa is payable in two installments. As with many skilled visas in Australia, a second visa application charge is payable for secondary visa applicants who do not demonstrate the requisite English proficiency.

First installment payable at the time of application;

  • Base application charge: $4,045
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $2,020
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $1,015

Second installment payable prior to visa grant;

  • Applicants aged 18 and over who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,885

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