Apply for a Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

What is a Skilled Independent Work Visa (Subclass 189)?

Work and live in Australia with this permanent resident work visa. Certain foreign-national skilled workers, who hold occupations on Australia’s Skilled Occupations List, may be eligible for a Subclass 189 visa. This visa requires the applicant to complete a skills test and be sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government.

An additional path to permanent residence for New Zealand citizens

On July 1 2017, this additional path became a new stream within the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa making it easier for New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia to become permanent residents.

You must meet the following requirements in order to apply:

  • Hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • Have been living in Australia continuously for five years and started that period before February 19, 2016 prior to applying
  • Meet the taxable income requirements
  • Meet the health requirements
  • Meet the character requirements

What Are the Benefits of a Skilled Independent Work Visa (Subclass 189)?

The Skilled Independent Work Visa offers all the benefits of Australian permanent residence for you and your family.

  • Work and live in Australia indefinitely
  • Opportunity to study in Australia
  • Enrol in Medicare, Australia’s state-run healthcare program
  • Opportunity to apply for Australian citizenship
  • Sponsor relatives for permanent residence
  • Travel in and out of Australia as you please

How Can I Apply for a Skilled Independent Work Visa (Subclass 189)?

Step 1: Check if your occupation is on the Skilled Occupation Lists

This visa is only available to people who can fill a position on this list.

Step 2: Ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements

You must meet the following requirements in order to apply:

Step 3: Complete a Skills Assessment

You must complete a Skills Assessment and obtain an acceptable score in order to be eligible for the Subclass 189 visa. Your score must be meet that specified on your letter of invitation (step 5). Instructions on how to get a proper Skills Assessment can be found on the DIBP website.

Step 4: Submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect

Next, you will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. The SkillSelect program will ask you a number of questions related to your background, skills, and relevant work history. Your EOI will be seen by the Australian authorities as well as available to Australian employers who may be looking for someone of your skill-set to hire.

If you obtain a nomination or sponsor and your EOI meets the requirements of the visa, you be invited to apply for the 189 visa.

Step 5: Find a sponsor or obtain a government nomination

The Skilled Independent Work Visa (subclass 189) requires you to be sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government. Once you find a suitable sponsor, they will send you a letter of invitation to apply for the visa.

If you do not have an eligible relative or employer to sponsor you, you may be able to find an employer through the SkillSelect program. This program matches skilled workers with employers looking for foreign-national workers. A state or territory government may also nominate you through this program.

Step 6: Have your sponsor complete necessary paperwork

Once you find a sponsor, you will need to have them nominate you for the visa. You can often apply for this visa at the same time your sponsor lodges their applications.

Employers can complete the employer nomination application online through the DIBP.

Step 7: Apply for the Skilled Independent Work Visa (subclass 189)

After you find an employer and get a nomination, you can apply for the 189 visa online through the DIBP.

Step 8: Wait for a decision

It can take several months for the DIBP to make a decision on your visa application. In 2016, the processing time for the 189 visa was 3 months.

Step 9: Receive your visa and start working

Once your application is approved, you will receive your visa and can start work in Australia.

IMMIGRATION DIRECT helps you complete your application quickly and accurately, provides 24/7 email support, telephone support
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m - 6 p.m. and automatically generates all the forms you need for your application.