What is Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa – New Zealand Stream?

Subclass 189 New Zealand stream visa is for New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to Australia. By applying for this visa, it will allow eligible New Zealand citizens to live in Australia indefinitely; work and study in Australia; enrol in Australia’s public health care scheme; sponsor eligible family members for permanent residency; travel to and from Australia for 5 years and can become Australia citizens if the criteria are met.

Before 1st of July 2021, in order to apply for Subclass 189 New Zealand stream visa, one must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa;
  • Have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of 5 years immediately before the date of application (the usual residence in Australia must have started on or before 19 February 2016);
  • Taxable income must be at least the minimum income threshold (currently $53,900) for each of the 4 completed financial years before application, unless exempt;
  • Meet Australia’s health and character requirement;
  • Have paid back one’s debt to Australian government;
  • Have no record of visa cancellation or refusal.


Changes to Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream Visa in 2021

On 24 May 2021, the Department announced amendment would be made for subclass 189 NZ stream visa in order to make it easier for New Zealand residents to access the pathway to permanent residency.

From 1 July 2021, visa applicants only need to demonstrate that their taxable income meets the income threshold for 3 out of the 5 income years (reduced from 4 out of 5 years) before lodging visa applications, including the most recent tax year.

In addition, a new class of exempt, named COVID-19 income exemption, has been created. The applicants can claim an exemption to the income requirement if they can prove their 2019-20 taxable income was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They need to demonstrate that they would have likely met the income threshold for the 2019-20 income year if not for the impact of the COVID-19 on the Australian economy and they could not meet the income threshold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a New Zealand citizen who currently live in Australia and would like to obtain your permanent residency in Australia, please contact Ausdirect Migration today at 1800 462 188 or click here to book a consultation session to discuss how we can best assist you securing your permanent residency.