The 189 Visa (Skilled Independent Visa): The Ultimate Guide In 2024!

Immigration information is subject to change. Please contact a migration agent for your visa enquiries!

Table of Contents

    Corazon Jasa

    Written: January 10, 2024

    Updated: January 17, 2024

    15 min read

    189 visa

    Embarking on the journey to make Australia your permanent home can seem daunting. The Skilled Independent Visa, or subclass 189, is a golden ticket for skilled workers dreaming of an Aussie lifestyle.

    This article will unravel the complexities of the visa process, guiding you through each step with clarity and ease. Dive in to turn those dreams into reality!

    Key Takeaways

    • The 189 Visa lets skilled workers live and work in Australia without needing a job offer or state sponsorship. It’s for people who have jobs on the skilled occupation list.
    • To get this visa, you need to pass a points test, do a skills assessment, and prove your English is good enough. Then you can ask to apply for the visa.
    • You can include your family in the application so they can live, study, and use healthcare services in Australia too.
    • This visa takes about 8 – 9 months to process after you’re invited to apply. It costs $4,045 for the main person applying.
    • If you have this visa, later on, you might choose to become an Australian citizen. You must live there for four years and be a permanent resident for at least one year before applying.

    What is the 189 Visa?

    The 189 Visa, also known as the Skilled Independent Visa, is a permanent residency visa that allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia. Basic eligibility includes meeting the points requirement and having an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.

    Skills assessment and English language proficiency are key requirements for this visa.

    Basic Eligibility

    To get the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189), you need to have a job that is on Australia’s skilled occupation list. You must also be under 45 years old and score well in the visa points test.

    This test looks at your age, work experience, English skills, and education.

    You must first submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. If you do well in the points test, you might get an invitation to apply for the visa. Also important are health and character checks; they make sure everyone who comes to live in Australia is safe and healthy.

    It’s good to know if you’re from New Zealand and have lived in Australia for a while; commitment counts towards being eligible too!

    Skills Assessment Requirement

    You need a skills assessment for the 189 visa. This check makes sure you have the right skills and education to work in Australia. Your job must be on a list of eligible jobs, and an Australian group checks your details.

    Get this done before you express interest in the visa. You must show that what you know meets Australian standards. It’s like a green light saying you’re ready to use your skills in Australia.

    Make sure your paperwork is complete and true, so there are no delays or problems with your application.

    English Language Proficiency

    Once your skills are checked, it’s time to show how well you can use English. Speaking English well is a big deal for the 189 Visa. To get this visa, you must prove that you have either “Competent” or “Proficient English”.

    This means taking tests and getting scores that meet the visa rules.

    Knowing English helps in many ways. It makes finding a job easier and lets you feel more at home in Australia. Your points go up if your English is better, which can help your visa chances.

    Even if your partner knows English well, it could help your application.

    So do practice and get ready to show off your best English skills!

    Benefits of the 189 Visa

    The 189 Visa offers the freedom to live and work in Australia without the need for sponsorship. Additionally, it allows for the inclusion of family members in the visa application.

    Freedom to live and work in Australia

    With a 189 Visa in your pocket, you get the amazing chance to make any part of Australia your home. Picture walking on sunny beaches or exploring vibrant cities—this visa means you can settle down wherever feels right.

    Work opportunities open wide too; no need for specific job offers or state sponsorships. You’re free to chase dreams in bustling Sydney businesses, quiet outback towns, or anywhere in between.

    Family joy is part of the deal because your loved ones can join you on this adventure. Up next, let’s talk about how they can be included and what it adds to your Australian journey.

    Inclusion of family members

    Living in a new country can be more joyful with loved ones by your side. The 189 Visa offers this comfort by allowing family members to join the main visa holder on their Australian adventure.

    Partners, children, and sometimes other relatives can get the same benefits as the primary applicant. They too can enjoy living, working, and studying anywhere in Australia.

    Your family won’t have to worry about healthcare either because they’ll also have access to Medicare. This means going to the doctor or getting medical treatment won’t be a big stress.

    With everyone settled in together, your new life down under starts off with strong support right from day one!

    Application Costs and Processing Time of 189 Visa

    Embarking on the journey towards an Australian 189 Visa comes with its financial considerations and timelines. Navigating through these elements is crucial for a smooth application process.

    Cost TypeAmount (AUD)Applicant Type
    Main Applicant Fee$4,045Main Applicant
    Additional Applicant Fee (18 years and over)$2,025Adult Family Member
    Additional Applicant Fee (Under 18 years)$1,010Child Family Member
    Second Instalment Fee (if applicable)$4,890Applicants with less functional English

    Diving into processing times, we observe a variance subject to application particulars. Insights suggest a wait of 8-9 months for 90% of submissions. Accuracy in applications and a surge in submissions can impact these figures.

    Processing StageEstimated Timeframe
    Invitation to Apply IssuanceVariable
    Application Submission Post-Invitation60 days to submit
    Visa Processing8-9 months for 90% of applications

    Applicants must be prompt upon receiving their invitation. A 60-day window is offered to submit the necessary paperwork. Deliberate and timely actions ensure the path to Australian shores remains clear.

    Application Process for the 189 Visa

    To apply for the 189 Visa, you will need to choose from the points-tested stream, New Zealand stream, or Hong Kong stream. Each stream has specific requirements and eligibility criteria that must be met in order to successfully apply for the visa.

    Understanding these streams is essential in navigating the application process and ensuring a smooth transition to living and working in Australia.

    Points-tested stream

    The points-tested stream is a way to get a 189 Visa. You need at least 65 points to be eligible. Points come from things like your age, work skills, and English ability. You show your skills with an assessment by an approved group.

    After you meet the points needed, you wait for an invitation to apply. Fill out all parts of the application well and send it in. It’s important to check everything before submitting it because mistakes can slow things down or cause problems.

    New Zealand stream

    Moving from the points-tested stream, we find a pathway made just for New Zealand citizens. This part of the 189 visa helps those from New Zealand who’ve lived in Australia for five years to become permanent residents.

    They can then go on to apply for Australian citizenship after holding a Special Category visa for one year.

    People from New Zealand should know about this great chance! You don’t need to collect points like in other streams. If you meet all the rules and have been living and working in Australia, getting this visa could be your next big step towards staying here forever.

    It’s good news that whilst the New Zealand stream has closed, there’s still a way straight to citizenship for some Kiwis who qualify.

    Hong Kong stream

    The Hong Kong stream of the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) is designed specifically for eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders. This visa allows skilled workers to live and work permanently anywhere in Australia without the need for employer sponsorship.

    Additionally, applicants can also apply for a five-year Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. To be eligible, applicants must have an eligible visa, have lived in Australia for at least 4 years, and have complied with the conditions of their eligible visa.

    This stream offers a great opportunity for those holding Hong Kong and BNO passports to establish permanent residency in Australia and pursue various career opportunities across the country.

    Comparison with Other Skilled Visas

    The 189 Visa offers a pathway to permanent residency without the need for state or territory nomination, unlike the 190 Visa. To learn more about the differences between these skilled visas and choose the right one for your situation, keep reading.

    189 Visa vs 190 Visa (Skilled Nominated Visa)

    The 189 Visa is for skilled workers who do not need state or territory nomination, while the 190 Visa requires it. For the 189 Visa, candidates with the highest points receive priority invitations.

    And both visas offer permanent residency and full work rights in Australia. However, with the 189 Visa, individuals have the independence to live and work anywhere in Australia, whereas the 190 Visa requires living and working in a specific state or territory that nominated them.

    This difference makes these visas suitable for different types of migrants based on their flexibility preferences within Australia. While both provide similar benefits such as permanent residency and full work rights, the independence offered by the 189 Visa may be appealing to some applicants compared to having to reside in a specific state or territory under the 190 Visa.

    Post-Application Steps

    Upon receiving your 189 visa, you’ll need to prepare for your arrival in Australia, understand your work rights and responsibilities, and learn about the path to Australian citizenship.

    For more information on these important steps, continue reading below.

    Arriving in Australia

    When you arrive in Australia with the 189 visa, you can start living and working anywhere in the country. You don’t need a specific job or location to settle down. This gives you the freedom to choose where you want to live based on your personal preferences and opportunities.

    You will be able to integrate into Australian society, connect with local communities, and explore different regions of the country. As a permanent resident, you’ll have access to various services and benefits provided by the Australian government as well.

    Work rights and responsibilities

    All workers in Australia, including visa holders and migrant workers, have the same rights at work. If you are granted the 189 Visa or any other Australian visa, you are entitled to fair pay, safe working conditions, and other workplace protections.

    When living in Australia on the 189 Visa, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities at work. This includes following workplace laws and regulations, paying taxes, and contributing positively to your workplace community.

    As a holder of this visa, you have the opportunity to contribute your skills while enjoying the benefits of fair treatment as an employee.

    Path to Australian citizenship

    Once you have met the requirements for permanent residency, such as holding a subclass 189 visa, you can start considering Australian citizenship. This process involves meeting specific criteria, including residing in Australia for four years and being a permanent resident for at least one year before applying.

    Additionally, individuals need to pass a citizenship test that evaluates their understanding of Australia’s values, history, and traditions. It’s essential to ensure your family members also hold the relevant visas if they wish to become citizens alongside you.

    To attain Australian citizenship through the path of permanent residency, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the necessary qualifications and steps involved in the citizenship application process.


    In conclusion, the 189 Visa offers skilled workers a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. By meeting the eligibility criteria, applicants can enjoy the freedom to live and work anywhere in Australia, as well as include family members in their application.

    Understanding this visa process is crucial for those seeking to contribute their skills to Australia’s workforce. With practical benefits such as access to healthcare and educational opportunities, this visa provides a valuable opportunity for individuals looking to build a future in Australia.

    Exploring further resources from registered migration agents can provide additional guidance on navigating through the application process. Ultimately, taking steps towards understanding and applying for the 189 Visa can lead to life-changing opportunities and growth for skilled individuals seeking permanent residency Down Under.

    If you’re interested in exploring other pathways to Australian permanent residency, learn more about the Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) which requires nomination by an Australian state or territory.


    CJMigration is a well-respected Sydney migration agency with over 30 years of experience in the industry. We can help guide you through the process and achieve your immigration goals.

    5/5 – from 75+ Google ratings