Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) New Zealand Stream

Applications for the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream PR visa have been placed on hold until 1 July 2023.

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With more security, greater peace of mind and enhanced access to financial benefits, becoming an Australian permanent resident and citizen can be a game-changing move.

If you are a New Zealand citizen who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, you will hold a New Zealand Special Category Visa SCV (444).

This visa lets you live and work indefinitely in Australia, but it does not lead to Australian permanent residency (PR) and onto Australian citizenship.

If you want the peace of mind and associated benefits that being an Australian permanent resident offers, there has never been a better time to apply.

New Visa Stream for Kiwis

In July 2017, a new PR visa was introduced for 444 holders. It’s called the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream – the NZ 189 for short.

Unlike other skilled PR visas, there is no age limit or points requirement, you don’t need to do a skill assessment and your job doesn’t need to be on a particular list. And the best part is this: you only pay 20% of the Government’s visa fee upfront (the rest right before PR is granted).

The eligibility criteria is outlined below, but if you want a Registered Migration Agent to assess your eligibility for free, complete this form and our friends at True Blue Migration Services will tell if you if you qualify.

You may be eligible if:

  • You arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 but on or before 19 February 2016
  • You have lived in Australia for the past five years
  • You can show through your tax returns that you earned a gross salary of at least $53,900 per year in three of the past five financial years. You must include the most recently completed financial year as one of the three years. Exemptions are made on a case by case basis but generally relate to situations such as time off work for parental leave or workplace injury. If you did not meet the income requirement in either the 2019-20 income year or the 2020-21 income year due to COVID, you may be able to obtain an exemption to this income requirement and proceed with the application.
  • You pass character checks and have paid back any Australian government debts
  • You meet the health requirements. There is a health waiver for this visa, so if you or a family member has a major health condition, you may still be able to obtain PR (unlike other skilled visa applicants)

Partners and Kids

You can include your Kiwi partner in this application as long as you two meet the spouse or defacto criteria.

If your partner is not a Kiwi, they’ll need to hold another substantive visa (such as a student visa, working holiday visa or employer-sponsored visa) or a Bridging Visa A, B or C. If you have not lived with your partner for 12 months, you may be able to register the relationship to waive this requirement and still include them.

You can also include dependent children.

Getting Australian PR

Once you hold an NZ 189 visa, you are an Australian permanent resident, and some of the benefits are:

  • Future dual citizenship – you are on the pathway to Australian citizenship
  • Employment – access to jobs opportunities only open to Australia residents and citizens
  • Study – reduced education fees

If you engage a Registered Migration Agent to manage your application, they will oversee the whole process from start to finish, instructing you, liaising with Immigration on your behalf, and generally eliminating the stress.

With True Blue Migration Services, there are split payment options available to help you spread the cost out.

The first step is finding out if you’re eligible.

Split payment options available and may vary depending on the type of visa being applied for.

Disclaimer: The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances. There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here. Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here. You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application. For more information visit


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