189 Independent

The subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa allows suitably qualified highly skilled individuals to come to Australia and stay permanently. The applicant may apply under the points tested or NZ citizen stream

Other than for the 189 New Zealand stream, there are three (3) stages to successfully applying for the subclass 189 visa. These include:

  1. Applicant must achieve at least 65 points on the points test and submit an Expression of Interest to the Department's online Skills Select system;
  2. Applicant must have received an invitation from the Department to apply for the 189 visa in the occupation chosen in the EOI;
  3. Applicant must apply for the 189 visa in their chosen occupation within 60 days of the Department issuing the invitation.
New Zealand stream applicants may proceed directly to lodgement of their visa application once their documents and written submissions are prepared.


For the subclass 189 visa in the New Zealand stream, the primary applicant must:

  1. Hold a NZ Special Category (subclass 444) visa; and
  2. Have been continuously resident in Australia for 5 years, starting on or before 19 February 2016; and 
  3. Have had a taxable income at or above the income threshold for each income year in the four (4) years prior to lodging an application, unless exempt.

For the subclass 189 visa in the points tested stream, the primary applicant must:

  1. Have achieved a score of at least 65 points on the points test (75 is currently recommended);
  2. Hold an invitation from the Department in relation to your expression of interest (EOI);
  3. Hold a valid positive skills assessment for the occupation you chose in your EOI;
  4. Have chosen an occupation from the relevant skilled occupation list;
  5. Meet all relevant health and character requirements;
  6. Be under 45 years old at time of invitation;
  7. Have a 'competent' level of English.

Points Test

The points test details the points allocated for meeting certain criteria under the different specified categories.

GSM Points Test Tables


The subclass 189 visa uses a modified version of the Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Skills - Experience

Applicants for the subclass 189 visa in the points tested stream must have their skills assessed by the relevant skills assessing authority, based on the level of qualification, skills and experience listed in the ANZSCO for the relevant chosen occupation.


Information provided on this site - page is not legal or immigration advice and you should seek assistance specific to your individual circumstances.
More Information
English Language
Competent English is most common

All skilled visas require applicants to satisfy a English language  criteria. The below table shows the relevant score required for each level, as it applies to the different English language tests.

proficiency levelTest componentIELTSTOEFL
& iBT
Functional Overall Score 4.5 32 30 147 n/a
Vocational Listening 5.0 4 36 154 B
Reading 5.0 4 36 154 B
Writing 5.0 14 36 154 B
Spea‚Äčking 5.0 14 36 154 B
Competent Listening 6.0 12 50 169 B
Reading 6.0 13 50 169 B
Writing 6.0 21 50 169 B
Speaking 6.0 18 50 169 B
Proficient Listening 7.0 24 65 185 B
Reading 7.0 24 65 185 B
Writing 7.0 27 65 185 B
Speaking 7.0 23 65 185 B
Superior Listening 8.0 28 79 200 A
Reading 8.0 29 79 200 A
Writing 8.0 30 79 200 A
Speaking 8.0 26 79 200 A

You may be exempt from the English requirement if:

  • you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland as evidence that you are a citizen of that country;
  • Or
  • you are applying under the temporary residence stream; and
  • You have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English.
  • You cannot include short courses studied for this purpose.

    Applicants for the Labour Agreement Stream must demonstrate that they have English language skills that are suitable to perform the occupation to which the position relates. This will be the same level of English as for the other visa streams , unless otherwise specified in the labour agreement.

    Under 45 - unless exempt
    Age exemptions may exist for the skilled 186 and 187 visas, including:
    1. If you are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia;
    2. If you are nominated as a scientist, researcher, or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level one or two by an Australian government scientific agency
    3. if you are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a 482 or subclass 457 visa for the last three years and your earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold for each year over that period
    4. If you are a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) (Temporary Residence Transition stream)and you meet all specified criteria.
    5. If you hold a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461) and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before applying under the direct entry stream.
    6. If you are applying through the Labour Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 45 to be employed.

    Important: you may also be able to apply for a visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you are over 45 years of age but under 50, if transitional arrangements apply because you either held, or were an applicant for, a subclass 457 visa (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.

    Ask Us
    Get Started For Free
    Should I Submit A Form 80
    Fill it in...
    Currently, there is no legislation requiring the form 80, however the Department claim it will help with processing times. We recommend filling in the form 80 and lodging it if and when your circumstances require it
    Who Can Certify My Documents
    Your lawyer or RMA in Australia
    In Australia any lawyer or Registered Migration Agent may certify your documents. If overseas it is best to use a Notary Public.
    What If My Occupation Isn't Listed
    Your employer may apply for a labour agreement
    How Difficult Are Skilled Visas?
    It depends on the visa subclass
    We are not interested in taking advantage, so we do not generally assist with simple visas. Skilled visas range from medium to very high difficulty, mostly due to the ongoing changes in immigration Law and policy.
    How are Employer Supported Visas Different?
    The Ability to Obtain PR
    Criteria482 - S482 - L186187
    Visa Type TR TR PR PR
    Transition to PR N Y - -
    Maximum Age 44 44 44 44
    Minimum Years Work Experience 2 2 3 3
    Minimum English   Competent Competent Competent
    Skills Assessment Required N N Y Y
    Relevant Qualifications Required Y Y Y Y
    Minimum Stay in Regional Area N N< N Y
    Minimum Months Processing Time 6 6 12 12
    Include Family on Application Y y Y Y
    Health Assessment Required Y Y Y
    Criminal History Check Required Y Y Y Y
    Skills Select EOI Required N N N N
    Points Test Required N N N N
    Health Insurance Required Y Y Y Y