logo

Subclass 189: NZ Skilled Independent Visa


Australian legislatures introduced a new pathway to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens currently living and working in Australia on the Special Category (subclass 444) visas (SCV) who have lived in Australia for the last five years, making positive commitment and contribution to Australia.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible under the New Zealand stream of a Subclass 189 visa, the applicant must:

  • Hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa;
  • Have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of five years on or before 19 February 2016;
  • Have a taxable income at or above the income threshold; and

Meet mandatory health, age, character and national security checks.

Income Threshold

In the last 4 of the 5 most recent financial years, the applicant’s taxable income must exceed the Income Threshold of $53,900. This figure only encompasses the total taxable income and excludes superannuation contributions.

Exemptions to the Income Test Exemptions

Not all applicants are required to satisfy the minimum income test for the purposes of this visa stream. Below are the 3 primary exemptions to the income requirement of Subclass 189 under the New Zealand stream.

You can claim an exemption from the income requirement if you can’t leave Australia because the Family Court of Australia has given you primary care of a child and you are not allowed to take the child out of the country.

Exemption 1: Family Court/ Parenting Plan

The applicant seeking exemption on this ground may claim that he or she cannot leave Australia because the Family Court of Australia made an order assigning primary care of a child to the applicant and disallowed him or her from taking the child out of the country.

Exemption 2: Compensation Claim

The grounds for this exemption exist if:

  • The applicant is being compensated for an injury that prevents from earning the income threshold; and
  • The compensation (or rehabilitation) would cease with departure out of Australia.

Exemption 3: Parental or Carer’s Leave Waiver

The grounds for this exemption are present if the applicant:

  • Is on approved parental or carer’s leave; and
  • Earned no less than the income threshold immediately before the applicant went on leave; and
  • Has resumed (or will resume) earning an income no less than the income threshold.

Relevant Public Interest Criteria

4001, 4002, 4003, 4004, 4007, 4020 and 4019 (if applicable)

Visa Conditions

The applicant must be in Australia and holding a Subclass 444 visa at the time of application.

Visa Condition 8515 may be imposed whereby the secondary visa holders must not marry or enter into a de facto relationship before entering Australia

Application Charges

First instalment payable at the time of application;

  • Base application charge: $810
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $405
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $205

Second instalment payable prior to visa grant;

  • Primary applicant: $3,235
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $1,615
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $810