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Australia is a popular destination for people who want to start a new life. Migrants from around the world come to Australia for its high standard of living and fantastic work opportunities. While being accepted into Australia can be challenging, the Skilled Independent visa is a great avenue for skilled workers who want to live and work permanently in the country

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Skilled Independent Visa – Points Tested Stream

Also known as visa subclass 189, the Skilled Independent visa is a visa stream designed to attract invited workers with specific skills needed by the wider Australian community. If you fulfil the requirements, you will be able to live, work, and study permanently anywhere in Australia. The subclass 189 visa is points-tested based on specific work skills. If the visa is granted, invited residents benefit from many of the same rights as Australian citizens.

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Visa Benefits & Duration

The Skilled Independent visa comes with a number of associated rights and responsibilities. With this visa, you can stay in Australia permanently, work and study in Australia, and enrol in the Medicare public health care system. Medicare and related programs are designed to provide eligible people with access to some health services at low or no cost.

If the Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa is granted, you can sponsor your relatives to come to Australia, travel to and from the country for 5 years, and become an Australian citizen if you meet eligibility requirements. However, as a newly arrived resident and visa holder, you may have to wait to access certain Australian Government payments and benefits.

The Skilled Independent visa is a permanent resident visa, which means you can stay in the country on an indefinite basis. While the travel component of the visa expires after 5 years, a Resident Return visa (subclass 155 or 157) can be obtained to re-enter Australia after this time. The subclass 189 visa can be granted within Australia, and can also be used to enter Australia. You become a permanent resident for legal purposes the day you receive a Skilled Independent visa.

Including Family Members in your Application

The Skilled Independent visa has a popular family component that allows members of the family unit to be included in the application. Under Australian law, a person is considered a member of your family unit if they are a spouse or de facto partner, dependent child or stepchild, or dependent grandchild or step-grandchild of a dependent child or stepchild.

You can include eligible family members when you lodge your visa application, or add them after you lodge your application if a decision has not yet been made. All family members must meet Australian health and character requirements. If you have a partner or dependent child who is not included in the application, you must explain why.

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Visa Cost

The current cost of a subclass 189 visa is AUD$4,045. This price only includes the main applicant, with additional fees needed for each family member listed on the application. There is a Visa Pricing Estimator available from the Home Affairs website. The current cost for a family member over 18 years of age is AUD$2,020, with the current cost for someone under 18 years of age being AUD$1,015.

In addition, an extra charge may be added for any applicants over 18 years of age who have less than functional English language skills. This fee is charged in a second instalment and only applicable when the visa is successful. The second instalment charge for all family members over 18 is AUD$4,885. Along with these known costs, additional charges may be included for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics.

Visa Eligibility Requirements

The subclass 189 visa is a points-tested stream, with specific requirements needed to meet the eligibility criteria. Along with being invited to apply and meeting the skills threshold, there are numerous age, language, health, and character requirements:

  • Be invited to apply

  • Undergo a suitable skills assessment

  • Be aged under 45 when invited

  • Score 65 points or more

  • Have a competent level of English

  • Meet the skills requirement

  • Meet the health requirement

  • Meet the character requirement

  • No outstanding Government debt

  • Sign the Australian values statement

  • No previous visas cancelled or applications refused

There may be additional requirements listed at the Home Affairs website. 

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How to Apply for a Skilled Independent Visa (Points Tested Stream)

In order to apply for a Skilled Independent visa, it’s important to go through the comprehensive application process in detail. The outcome of the visa application and the time it takes to process depends on the accuracy of the information provided.

  1. Before you apply, you must submit an expression of interest through SkillSelect

  2. Gather all relevant documents

  3. Apply for the visa online

  4. Receive notifications and instructions for additional documentation if needed

  5. Receive the official outcome of the visa in writing

Skilled Independent Visa – New Zealand Stream

The Skilled Independent visa has a separate stream for New Zealand citizens. This visa is also under subclass 189, enabling eligible New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to Australia to live and work in Australia on a permanent basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between subclass 189 and 190?

While subclass 189 and 190 visas both enable permanent residency, 190 differs in that it is a state-sponsored visa that limits where you can live in Australia for the first 2 years.

Is subclass 189 a permanent visa?

The subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa that allows you to live, work, and study in Australia on an indefinite basis.

How many points are required for the Skilled Independent Visa?

The Skilled Independent visa is a points-tested visa based on a skills assessment with a minimum of 65 points.

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Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you want Australian student visa, work visa, or PR, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.