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Skilled Independent Visa – Subclass 189

What is Skilled Independent Visa?

The Skilled Independent Visa is a permanent visa designed for foreign skilled workers who hold occupations on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List and are not sponsored by an employer or family member, and not nominated by a state or territory (Point tested stream). It also has another stream for New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to and are residents in Australia to gain permanent residency, who also must be able to evidence their commitment and contribution to Australia to be eligible for this visa (New Zealand Stream).

The Subclass 189 visa comprises of 2 streams:

+ What is Stream 1 – Point test Stream?

This stream allows invited workers with skills to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia, the invited applicant can also bring their family members to Australia.

+ Stream 2 – New Zealand Stream?

This stream allows certain eligible New Zealand citizens with a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa live and work in Australia permanently.


Application Process

Stage 1: Expression of Interest (only applicable to the Point tested stream)


All applicants must be invited in order to apply for Subclass 189 for the Point Tested stream.

Prior to the lodgement of an application, the visa applicant must first lodge an expression of interest (EOI) through the Department prescribed facility SkillSelect (For more information, please visit

Within the SkillSelect EOI form, the applicant will need to complete identify and passport details for themselves and anyone whom they wish to include in their application.

Validity of the EOI and changing Points on the EOI

EOI will remain to be valid for two years (unless the applicant has been invited to apply for a visa within 2 years). Prior to invitation, the applications can always update their relevant details on the website in order to claim more points and increase their opportunities to be invited.

Visa applicant would not be able to change their scores once they have been invited to apply for a Subclass 189 Visa

Stage 2: Receives an invitation (Point tested stream only)

Visa applicant needs to be invited by the Department in order to apply for a Subclass 189 visa.

 Prospective visa applicants can indicate their Expression of Interests (EOI) to apply for those visas by filling in an online form in SkillSelect which contains a series of questions about the skills of the visa applicant, depending on the visa subclass one elects.

Applicant will also be assessed of one’s points at the stage of EOI and be determined whether he or she has met the minimum points tests required for certain visas.

Points are awarded and allocated based on the applicant’s age, English level, past employment history, qualifications, past Australian study requirement, any specialist education qualification and other factors including regional studies, partner skill qualifications or community language.

The EOI will be automatically removed from SkillSelect System after 2 years from the date of initial submission, regardless of whether the visa applicant has withdrawn his or her previous EOI or received an invitation.

There is a maximum number of invitations the Department can send out for particular occupation, this is called the occupational ceiling. Once the annual occupational ceiling has been reached for a particular occupation, no further invitations will be issued. In addition, due to high levels of demand, some occupations are subject to pro rata arrangements to ensure availability of invitations across the program year.

If two (2) or more applicants have the same points, they will be ranked against the date and time they have submitted all eligibility factors. The time and date will be amended every time the applicants updates the Expression of Interest and their points. 

Invitation rounds for Subclass 189 run once a month, on the 11th day of each month. This date is determined by the Department. Dates for the rounds are subject to change. Invitation numbers in each round may vary depending on the number of applications being processed by the department. The Invitation round for each state differ and there is not set date for each date.

Stage 3: Visa Application

All streams are required to satisfy the following requirements:

  • All applicants need to be invited by the Department to lodge an Expression of interest (EOI) through Skill Select

  • Obtain a positive invitation from the Department

  • Must not have an outstanding debt to the Australian government.

  • All public interest criteria are met, particularly the health and character requirement

    • Health requirements:

      All persons included in the application will be required to undertake a medical examination prior to their visa being issued. When applying, all persons included in the application must:

      • declare whether they have a medical condition that is likely to require ongoing support from community or government services

      • declare whether they have been diagnosed with Tuberculosis or any other serious diseases that might be a threat to Australian Community

    • Character requirements:

      • All persons included in the application will be required to obtain a police clearance certificate for all countries they have lived in for greater than twelve months in the last ten years.

      • When applying, all persons included in the application must provide all requested information, declare all criminal offences, truthfully answer all questions

+ What is Stream 1 – Point test Stream?

  • Be under 45 years old;
  • Nominate an occupation included on the relevant occupations list;
  • Obtain a positive skills assessment;
  • Pass the English language requirement (at the time of invitation to apply for the visa);
  • Achieve at least 65 points pass mark in the points test

Additional information on Skills Assessment: In order to be eligible to apply for a Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189), prospective visa applicant must decide which occupation they wish to apply.

Visa applicants are required to provide evidence that their relevant skills have been assessed to be suitable for their nominated occupations by the relevant assessing authorities and receive favourable results in relation to that particular skill assessment(s).

Depending on the occupation the visa applicants choose to apply for, skill assessments may be undertaken by different skill assessing authorities in accordance with their professional capacities and relevant professional standards. The requirements for each skill assessment depend on visa applicants’ occupations and are determined by the respective skill assessing authority.

A positive skills assessment result will only be valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, or for a period of three years from the date of issue, whichever occurs first. Some assessing authorities may be able to issue either a provisional skill assessment or a full skill assessment depending on the nominated occupation and the visa types that the applicant is applying for.

A suitable provisional skills assessment issued for a temporary visa is not a suitable skills assessment for a Points Tested Skilled Migration visa.

+ What is Stream 2 – New Zealand Stream?

A New Zealand Special Category visa holder (subclass 444) must also satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Residence requirement:

    • The (primary) visa applicant has been a resident in Australia for continuous five years, on or before 19 February 2016;
    • Temporary visit for the purpose of business or holiday is not considered for the residence requirement
    • Visa applicant may be required to present evidence of their residential stay in Australia for a regular period of 5 years which consists both the physical presence and the intention to reside in Australia.
  2. Income requirement:

    • The applicant has provided copies of notices of assessment, and of any notices of amended assessments, given to the applicant by the Commissioner of Taxation, of the applicant’s income tax liability in relation to the 4 most recently completed income years before the date of the application (during the period of 5 years immediately before that date);
    • The evidence of income for those four years must confirm that visa applicant has gained annual taxable income that is equivalent to Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold or TSMIT for each of the five years (being at least 53,900 from financial year 2013 onwards).

    • Some exemptions to income requirement are applicable to the following applicants who:

      • Have parenting plans;
      • Are unable to work due to recent injury or illness;
      • Have maternity, paternity or carer’s leave
    • Please note:
      • Different evidences maybe taken into consideration when assessing the above exemptions to the income requirement.
      • The case officers often look at different considerations like their time spent in Australia, family composition including Australian citizen family members and financial contribution to Australia.

What We Like About This Visa

  • This Visa provides direct Permanent Residency pathway to skill workers and their family members much quicker compared to other Employer Sponsored Work visas that can also lead to permanent residency pathways.

  • It is a permanent visa that allow visa holders to:

    • Stay in Australia Indefinitely

    • Work and study in Australia

    • Enrol in Medicare, Australia’s Scheme for health-related care and expenses

    • Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence

    • Apply for Australian Citizenship, if eligible

  • Travel and Entry Australia for 5 years from the date of grant


Common Mistakes

The points test (EOI Process) is an easily misunderstood part of the Skilled visa application process. We have seen a lot of visa applicants are unable to provide sufficient evidences in relation to the EOI points they have claimed in SkillSelect when being invited by the Department which result in their visa application being refused in the end.

Some of the common mistakes include but not limited to:

  • The applicant not correctly weighting the value of a degree awarded under an international educational system;

  • The applicant tend to claim more work experience in an occupation or past work experience that is not connected or associated to their nominated occupation;

  • The positive Skills Assessment results has expired at the time of invitation, etc.


Client Testimonials

….we call it Support Network

As navigating through the immigration law process may be difficult, our former clients have agreed to share their experiences through telephone chats, emails and meeting in person.

These are their stories…


What Questions Do Migration Agents Ask Our Accredited Specialists

  1. Under what business structure, can a job placement company, apply to be a sponsor with the sole purpose of charging a fee to visa applicants? And is there a method which would allow the sponsor to place the visa applicant with another unrelated business?

  2. How can employers charge a payment to the visa applicants in exchange to sponsor, without being caught under the immigration offence ‘cash for visa’?

  3. How many types of visas (including streams), can a Temporary Activities Sponsor benefit from, in sponsoring more candidates? And are there any difference in the sponsorship obligation?

  4. Can a visa applicant pay for costs related to the visa applicant? or must the Sponsor pay for all costs? How do I explain & educate my client, a large company who does not wish to pay for any costs for the sponsorship because the Director feels that the visa applicant has more to benefit than the company.

  5. In what circumstances will a visa applicant lose their right to appeal a refusal?


How Much Do We Charge?

Professional Fees

Sponsorship Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Nomination Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Visa Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Dependent Application
(a) From $1,000 + GST
(b) From $2,000 + GST
(c) From $3,000 + GST

Credit Card Surcharge
- MasterCard: 1.5%
- VISA: 1.67%
- American Express: 2.75%
- EFTPOS: 30 cents


Sponsorship Application
- $420

Nomination Application
- $330

Levy Charges
- $1200 per annum (<$10m)
- $1,600 per annum (>$10m)

Visa Application
- $1,000 (over 18 years)
- $2,000 (under 18 years)
- $700pp (applying in Australia)

Health Check
- $330 (chest x-ray)
- $330 (medical exam)

Credit Card Surcharge
- MasterCard: 1.32%
- VISA: 1.32%
- American Express: 1.40%
- Diners Club: 1.99%
- JCB: 1.40%


Police Clearance
- $47 (Australia)
- TBA (Outside Australia)

Health Insurance

Interpreter & Translator

Job Advertisements

Other 3rd Party Services
(only if applicable)
- Recognized Prior Learning
- Skills Assessment
- Registration/Membership/Licence
- Labour Market Testing (Unions only)
- Business Plan writers
- Accounting services
- Researchers for salary, LMT, etc

a newer & better
financial expectation

The beautiful part is that if you find that your immigration lawyer does not meet your expectations, you have the option of changing immigration lawyers with different teams, without having to completely change law firms where they’d charge a significant amount as part of the initial fact finding and preliminary advice.


Why are there different prices for the same service?

We have a variety of legal professionals, allowing you the freedom to choose according to lawyer’s fees, speed, experience and most importantly a personality that matches yours. This way, our clients get the best of shopping around different law firms while eliminating the need to re-tell the story again and transferring of supporting documents. Naturally, junior lawyers charge lower fees and the more years of experience our lawyers gain, the higher their fees. However, it is not all always about profitting, some of our lawyers are open to pro bono cases (free legal advice).

What are the Legal Personas to Choose From?

Our lawyers are considered “book-smart”, while others are more inclined towards being labelled “street-smart”. The younger lawyers tend to be very fast & responsive, but a handful are slow (although they beg to differ, that slow & steady wins the race). The older lawyers are usually more attentive and have a reputation of customer relations. But if money is no object, you can engage a bunch of them, or all of them.

Similar to the concept of “shopping centers”

shopping around has never been easier