Australian Visas:

The Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189

Why using Visa Jobs to apply for your 189 Visa is the smart move

The Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189 is the ultimate Permanent Residency visa for skilled workers. As a result the demand and requirements make it very tough to be invited to apply.

Visa Jobs has partnered with experienced MARA Registered Migration Agents who will make the whole process much easier for you. They will help assess your point score, gather all of the required documents and complete your skills assessment. Then when ready they can submit your Expression of Interest and visa application. 

    About the Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189

    The Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189 is the most sought after Australian visa for skilled workers wanting to apply for Permanent Residency. Unlike other Permanent Residency visas such as the 186, 187 or 190 Visas, the 189 visa does not require the applicant to be nominated by a state or territory, or employer.

    Like the 190 and 491 visa, to apply for the visa you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and then wait to be invited to apply. Once approved it allows the visa holder to live anywhere in Australia and work for any employer, indefinitely.

    Points test

    The 189 Visa like the 190 and 491 Visa is a points based visa which means you will need to score the minimum pass mark, which is currently 65 points. The pass mark could increase for certain occupations if there are a large number of high quality applicants.

    Only occupations on the MLTSSL can apply 

    To be eligible to apply for 189 Visa your nominated occupation must be on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). If your occupation isn’t on the MLTSSL then this visa won’t be an option for you. There may be other suitable visas such as the 190, 491 or TSS Visas which you may be eligible for.

    Visa application by invite only

    When you submit your EOI through SkillsSelect, your point score will be calculated. Even if you score the required passmark, it doesn’t guarantee you will be invited to apply. When submitting your EOI, your point score will be recorded and you will be ranked according to the scores of other applicants.

    Rounds of invitations are issued to the highest ranked applicants each month. The number of issued invitations each round will varies depending on the number of applications being processed by the Department. To check the number of invitations and required point score for the upcoming round or previous rounds, check the Departments invitation rounds.

    Including family and partners

    When applying for a 189 Visa application you can include dependent family members either at the time of lodgement or once the visa is approved. Applying for this visa can be lodged whilst you are onshore in Australia or if you are offshore.

    With the 189 Visa you can

    Stay in Australia permanently
    Live, work and study anywhere in Australia
    Enrol for medicare (Australia’s public health care program) 
    Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence 
    Apply for Australian Citizenship (if eligible)

    189 Visa requirements 

    Be under the age of 45 at the time of being invited to apply for the visa
    Your chosen occupation must be on the relevant Skilled Occupation List 
    Have a positive and valid Skills Assessment in your nominated occupation*
    Lodge an EOI and be invited to apply for the visa 
    Qualify for the points test (currently 65 points)
    Demonstrate a Competent Level of English or higher
    Meet the health and character requirements

    *There are some exemptions for applicants who are legal or medical practitioners, contact us for more information.

    Occupations available through the 189 Visa

    You will only be able to apply for the 189 Visa if your occupation is listed below. If your occupation is not listed below contact us to see what other visas may be suitable for you.

    Once you have found an occupation that you believe is suitable for you, contact us and we will send you the document checklist for the occupation. Make sure you tell us the full ANZSCO occupation title and ANZSCO code.

    The 189 Visa points test 

    Once you submit your EOI you will be given an indicative points score based on the information you provide. If you do not score a minimum of 65 points you will not qualify and will not receive an invitation to apply for the visa, so it’s important you calculate your points score before submitting your EOI.

    You can calculate your points score by using the general skilled self-assessment test, below explains how each section is scored. Calculating your own points should only be used as a guideline, it is always recommended to use a Registered Migration Agent who will be able to do a thorough assessment of your points and advise accordingly.

    Calculating your point score

    To calculate your current point score, answer the questions for each section below, keep a note of the points you score for each section and then add them up at the end. 

    It’s important to remember that your final points score will be calculated at the time you are invited to apply for the visa. Therefore, the score you calculate today should only be used as an estimate as your answers for each question may change by the time you receive an invitation to apply for the visa.

    Section 1: Visa Subclass

    Which of the following visas are you planning on applying for?

    Maximum score = 15 points

    Section 2: Age

    Which age bracket do you fall into?

    Maximum score = 30 points

    Section 3: English Language Skills

    What is your English language ability?

    Maximum score = 20 points

    Section 4: Employment history

    Part 1. Overseas Skilled Employed Experience

    In the last 10 years, how many years of experience (from outside of Australia), do you have in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation?

    Maximum score = 15 points

    Part 2. Australian Skilled Employment Experience

    In the last 10 years, how many years of Australian work experience do you have in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation?

    Maximum score = 20 points

    Note. You can only score a maximum score of 20 points in this section ‘Employment History.’ That means if your combined score for Part 1 and Part 2 is over 20 points, you will only be awarded 20 points.

    Section 5: Educational Qualifications

    What is your highest level of recognised qualification completed in Australia or from overseas?

    Maximum score = 20 points

    Section 6: Australian Study Requirement

    Have you successfully completed studies in Australia for a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or trade qualification(s) that is relevant to your nominated occupation? The course must have taken a minimum of two years to complete, have been taught on a full-time basis and in English.

    Maximum score = 5 points

    Section 7: Study in Regional Australia or a low population growth area

    Have you completed and been awarded a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or trade qualification(s), where the course took a minimum of two years to complete, was full-time, the campus of your institute was located in a regional area of Australia and you also lived in a regional area during the two years of study?

    Maximum score = 5 points

    Section 8: Specialist Education Qualification

    Have you completed a Masters by research or PhD (Doctorate degree) by an Australian educational institute which included a minimum of two years of study in a specialist field (currently STEM and ICT)?

    Maximum score = 10 points

    Section 9: Professional Year in Australia

    Since finishing studying, have you completed a professional year in Australia in your nominated occupation? Currently this is only available for Engineers, Accountants and ICT professionals, and must have been completed within four years of you being invited to apply for the visa.

    Maximum score = 5 points

    Section 10: Credentialed community language

    Do you hold a recognised qualification in a credentialed community language? 

    Recognised qualifications must be for translating or interpreting by the National Accreditation Authority for translators and Interpreters and include being;

    • accredited at a paraprofessional level or above, or
    • having a community language credential, or 
    • having been certified at a certified provisional level or above.

    Maximum score = 5 points

    Section 11: Partner skills

    Which of the following applies to you:

    Maximum score = 10 points

    The 189 Visa process

    The main costs for the 189 Visa

    Visa processing times for the 189 Visa

    As for all Australian visas the processing times fluctuates each month based on a number of different factors such as volume, complexity and the time of year. The Department updates the estimated processing times for each visa every month but should only be used as a guideline.

    To see the Department’s most up to date processing times for all visas, visit the Global Visa Processing Times page.

    Updated: October 2021

    Contact Visa Jobs for help getting your 189 Visa?

    If you are interested in learning more about the Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189 feel free to contact us today. We can connect you with MARA Registered Migration Agents who will help you decide if it’s the best option for you. They can assist you with gathering your documents, completing the skills assessment and lodging your EOI.

      Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – About the Skilled Independent Visa subclass 189 

      Can I apply for the 189 Visa if I am outside of Australia?

      Yes, you can submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) and visa application either whilst in Australia or overseas.

      Can I apply for the 189 visa if I am older than 45?

      You will not be able to apply for this visa if you are older than 45 years old. You must receive your invitation to apply for the visa before turning 45 years old.

      Once my visa is approved will I have permanent residency?

      Yes, once your visa has been approved you will have permanent residency status in Australia.

      Do I ever need to renew my permanent residency visa?

      No, this is a permanent residency visa meaning you can stay in Australia permanently. However, once approved the 189 Visa comes with a 5 year travel authority allowing you to travel in and out of Australia as much as you like. To renew your travel authority you will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) which has its own requirements.

      Is a medical examination required for a 189 Visa?

      Yes, you will be required to undergo a medical examination when applying for a 189 Visa. Medical examinations are valid for one year, so it is worth checking how long the estimated processing times are prior to lodging your application.

      Can my family or partner be included?

      You are allowed to include your spouse, de facto partner, dependent children or other family members who are financially dependent on you.

      If I include family members or a partner will they be able to work?

      Any family members included will have full work rights meaning they are able to for any employer, in any occupation if they wish to work.

      If I am invited to apply for the visa, how long is the invitation valid for?

      Once you have been invited to apply you have 60 days to submit your visa application. It’s therefore very important you have gathered all of the necessary documents and completed your Skills Assessment.

      How long will the visa take to process?

      As with all Australian visas processing times vary depending on factors such as the number of applications lodged and the complexity of them. Each month the processing times are updated to reflect the previous months processing times. You can check the current processing times here.


      Visa Jobs is an independent company that has no association with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), or the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA)

      This page provides general information based on public guidelines that are published on the Department of Home Affairs website and the legislative instrument for this visa. Information provided on this page should not be used as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Therefore, we provide no warranty of any kind or accept liability regarding the validity or reliability of this information.

      We strongly recommend engaging a MARA Registered Migration Agent before lodging any visa application or when seeking visa advice, as they are bound by the OMARA code of conduct. 

      If you require services from a MARA Registered Migration Agent, please contact us and we will connect you with one. To learn more regarding the information provided on our website, please see our full Disclaimer.

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