189 Visa Requirements and Processing Time

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About Visa to Australia


Skilled Independent visa subclass 189 is a visa designed for invited workers, eligible New Zealand citizens, and eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders with relevant skills to live and work permanently in any part of Australia.

It is possible to apply either onshore or offshore of Australia. Applicants can include dependent family members such as spouse/partner and dependent children.

A skilled independent visa permits you to live and work/study permanently in Australia, enroll in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses, get access to some social security payments, and lodge an application for Australian citizenship once you meet relevant requirements.

Important: Skilled Independent visa subclass 189 has been closed to new applications from primary applicants from 1 July 2023.

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Skilled Independent visa

Skilled Independent visa requirements

To be able to apply for a 189 Australian visa, you need to satisfy the following conditions:

  • Hold a visa: if you are in Australia at the moment of applying, you need to have a substantive visa, Bridging visa A, Bridging visa B, or Bridging visa C; if you currently have, or your last substantive visa was a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) or Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional), you must have held that visa for a minimum 3 years when applying;
  • Have a suitable skills assessment: you should provide a skills assessment copy for an applicant’s nominated skilled occupation within the 60-day period of invitation;
  • Be of acceptable age: you must be under 45 when you get an invitation to apply for the visa;
  • Get enough points in a test: your score must be higher than 65 points;
  • Have a sufficient level of English language: have competent English proven by a relevant test result;
  • Meet the skills requirement: your occupation must be in the list of eligible skilled workers occupations for the subclass 189 visa;
  • Have health examination: you must meet minimum health standards and pass medical assessment;
  • Meet the character requirement: applicants and family members aged 16 years and over must provide proof of a clean criminal record and truthfully answer all questions.
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Note: Sometimes, your occupation may not be on the skilled migration occupation list. If this is the case, you need to think about what other occupations may be related to yours and look them up in the list. If another related occupation is in high demand and you fulfill the requirements for it, it may be your chance to get a Skilled Independent visa. For instance, if your occupation is civil engineer, you may look at the structural engineer, and if you are a livestock farmer, you may consider a dairy farmer occupation.

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How to get a Skilled Independent visa

In order to obtain a Skilled Independent visa, you need to follow this step-by-step instruction:

  1. Check your eligibility: Review the list of eligible occupations and see whether your occupation is present; all applicants for an 189 visa to Australia must have at least 65 points in the skilled migration points test.
  2. Submit an expression of interest. You should let the authorities know you would like to obtain an 189 visa.
  3. Wait for the invitation: You will be ranked along with other applicants. If Australian authorities choose you, you will be invited to apply for the visa.
  4. Collect the documents. You need to prepare the required documents, 2 face photographs, including identity proof, Skills Assessment Report, English Language Test results, Character certificate, and other documents.
  5. Submit the 189 visa application. You need to apply within 60 days of receiving the invitation.
  6. Await the decision. You will be notified about the visa outcome in writing. You can be in or outside Australia while waiting for the processing of your visa application but not in immigration clearance.
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When you are granted a visa, you will receive your visa grant number, information on the date when your visa validity begins, and your visa conditions. If you are outside Australia when the visa is approved, you need to enter Australia before the validity start date specified on your 189 visa grant letter.

In case of refusal, you will be notified why your visa application is rejected and whether you have a right to a review of the decision. Keep in mind that if your application is refused, your visa charge won’t be refunded.

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189 visa

189 visa processing time

Generally, applications are getting processed on a case-by-case basis. There is no exact time for all applications: every situation is individual.

The factors that influence the processing time for 189 visa include:

  • the accuracy and completeness of the application form: errors and irrelevant details may cause delays
  • how long it takes for you to respond to emails regarding your application: sometimes you may be required to provide additional information or supporting documents
  • how much time Australian authorities need to check the information you’ve provided
  • the amount of places available in the migration program