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Points tested 189 Visa Changes - Better or Worse?

The Subclass 189 visa is the points tested skilled independent stream and is a popular visa pathway for skilled migrants. This stream was impacted by the 1 July changes.

Previously, applicants that scored enough points but were over 45 years of age and under 50 years of age could still submit an Expression of Interest through the Skillselect, and be invited by the Minister to apply for a visa.

However, on 1 July 2017, as part of the major changes implemented by the Department of Immigration, the age limit was decreased to less than 45 at the time of invitation. This change means that only migrants under 45 years of age can apply for this visa steam.

At the same time, a further opportunity for Australian permanent residency became available for New Zealand citizens, with a new stream under skilled migration specifically created for New Zealand citizens.

The main features of the 'New Zealand stream' are:

  • The primary applicant must hold a Subclass 444 Special Category visa. Secondary applicants must hold a substantive visa or Bridging Visas A, B or C.

  • The applicant must have been usually resident in Australia, on or before 16 February 2016, for a continuous period for at least five years immediately before the date of application.

  • The primary applicant must have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each income year in the five years prior to lodging an application (unless claiming an exemption

  • This stream is subject to PIC 4007, which allows health waiver requests to be made to the Minister.

  • The visa application charges will be paid in two instalments.

The changes were a win for New Zealand citizens, especially given the stream does not require a specific skill or occupation.

Complete your online assessment today on our website to understand your visa options.

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