Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) New Zealand Stream

LATEST UPDATE: 25th May 2021

NEW exemption of income (COVID) & Reduction from 4 to 3 years

Please note: Conditions apply in all instances and it is advised that seeking specialised advice from a Registered Migration Agent or Immigration Lawyer to ensure the criteria is met before lodging an application.


Under current regulatory and policy settings the New Zealand citizens must be usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of a least 5 years before the date of application and that continuous period of usual residence in Australia started on or before 19 February 2016.

Note:  New Zealand citizens whose first arrival in Australia was after 19 February 2016 are not eligible to apply for this pathway.

As of 1 July 2021 the AMENDED criteria is available to New Zealand citizens who:

1. Earned a taxable income must be a minimum of $53,900 for 3 out of the last 5 years


As of 31 May 2021 a new INCOME EXEMPTION FOR 2019-2020 financial year is available to New Zealand citizens who:

1. Can demonstrate that their 2019-20 taxable income was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The applicant:

(a)  would have likely met the minimum amount of the income requirement for the 2019–20 income year if not for the effect of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the Australian economy;



(b) could not meet the minimum amount of the income requirement for the 2019–20 income year because of the effect of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the Australian economy.

Allowance for time spent offshore due to COVID-19 travel restrictions to be counted as residence in Australia for applicants who were on a pathway to meeting the 'usually resident' requirement for the visa.

To apply for this visa, New Zealanders must meet these criteria:

1. Usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least 5 years immediately before applying.

2. The continuous period of usual residence has to be on or before February 19th, 2016.

3. Applicant must be a Special Category Visa, subclass TY444 holder.

  • There is no age limit or occupation restrictions for this specific pathway.

  • There is a possibility of requesting a health waiver in cases where the health examination was failed.

  • Certain family members may be included, including children under 23yrs old who are still dependent or over 23yrs old if they are deemed as dependents in prescribed circumstances.


Further general criteria includes:

- Five of your most recent Notice of Assessments (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017)

- Earned a minimum of $53,900 taxable income per year for the most recent year, AND 2 other years within the last 5 years e.g. 2021 - $53,900+, 2019 - $53,900+, 2017 - $53,900+

- Meet medical health requirements (or be granted a health waiver)

- Meet public interest criteria including good character

- Exemptions may apply in limited circumstances ie Maternity Leave, Work Cover, Family Court orders, Carer's Leave

New Zealand citizens are able to pay the visa application charge in two split payments known as 'First & Second Instalments'.

First instalment also known as a base visa application charge is:

1. Main applicant:                                                                                    $ 825

2. Additional applicant for an applicant who is at least 18yrs old:  $ 410

3. Additional applicant for an applicant who is under 18yrs old:    $ 205

Second instalment of the visa application charge (payable before the grant of the visa)

1. Main applicant:                                                                                    $3,290

2. Additional applicant for an applicant who is at least 18yrs old:  $1,645

3. Additional applicant for an applicant who is under 18yrs old:    $   825

The 1st Instalment must be paid at the time the application is lodged. The 2nd Instalment is payable prior to the grant of the visa. 

Our Professional Fees:

  • General professional fee's will be stated in the Consultation Process

  • Additional costs may be incurred for work outside the standard application process, such as, but not limited to, applying for health waivers, responding to character requirements, responding to the Department of Home Affairs requests for further information, managing and addressing various types of visa complexities.

Additional information:

  1. Additional costs are medical examinations and penal clearances.

  2. Exemptions exist for certain applicants whose income have fallen below the $53,900 threshold due to prescribed circumstances such as approved parental or carers leave, parenting orders or receiving compensation for a work related injury.

  3. Meet health and character checks.

  4. Partners and dependant children may me able to be included as additional applicants in this type of application.

  5. The main applicant must be the holder of a Special Category Visa, subclass TY444.

  6. Hold a valid passport.

  7. There are no age restrictions for the applicant to make this type of visa application.

  8. There are no capped limits to how many of these permanent visas can be granted.

  9. There are no points requirements as compared to the general Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa criteria.

  10. Once the visa has been granted, then the earliest you may be able to apply for citizenship is 12 months. This is subject to meeting residency requirements.

  11. Current processing times are approximately 12-15 months as of the 3rd July 2020. 

  12. Important to note: If one family member fails the medical examination and does not receive a health waiver, all family members will be refused this visa. 


Please note: Unfortunately, this visa can not be applied for by any New Zealand citizen who arrived to live in Australia from the 20th February 2016 onwards unless they can satisfy the Department of Home Affairs they were ordinarily living in Australia.

Note: Visa application charges are non-refundable by the Department of Home Affairs if applications are refused. Therefore, every effort is made to ensure only valid visa applications are ever submitted.

189 Visa Grant in record time

P. Babore, VIC 2018

Kia Ora to all the current clients and also future clientele of Morunga Migration...

I had attempted several times to navigate the confusing and often frustrating pathway to citizenship.

I stumbled across one of Erina’s videos. I thought wow this lady knows what she’s talking about. I liked that she was Maori and that she had actually been through the process herself. 

I thought she would be good because she would understand exactly how it feels to go through such an intense process.

I will admit, at first I was a little unsettled and quite weary of giving someone access to my private and confidential information.

This was someone I had never met.

I kept an open mind and the more videos I watched the more I felt that there was something special about Erina.


I felt that she was the key to me getting to where I wanted to be.

I let my guard down and I enlisted complete faith and trust in her.

My gut feeling was on point.

Erina is an amazing person with a wealth of information and a passion for her job. She will go above and beyond for her client.

I feel privileged to be your first 189 visa and for it to be granted in record time is absolutely amazing. 

I cannot thank you enough Erina. I consider you a close friend not just an agent and feel blessed to have met you albeit online and over the phone. 
One day I am certain we will meet in person. 🙏