Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) New Zealand Stream

Please note: The following information is meant as a general guide only and not considered formal advice. Each situation should be assessed on its own merits.

The Australian Government announced a new permanent visa pathway dedicated to certain New Zealand citizens who meet strict criteria.


This pathway became available on 1st July 2017 and is still currently available.

This visa is a Skilled Independent Visa for New Zealand citizens who meet the criteria.

Upcoming changes:  The Australian Government announced they will reduce the four year income requirement to three years but this criteria has not yet started so the old rules of 4 years income still applies.

The Department of Home Affairs has not indicated a start date for these amendments yet so further details will follow once the new changes have been announced.

Under the new changes, to be eligible for the SC 189 New Zealand Stream visa, the applicant must:

  • Be holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa

  • Have resided in Australia for at least the last 5 years

  • Have started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016

  • Have the taxable income at or above the income threshold of $53,900 for at least 3 of the last 5 income years including the most recent financial year.

    • Two years can be any of the years in the last 5 years but most recent financial year MUST be at or above the $53,00 taxable income threshold as well.

    • So in other words, at this present time 2020 Notice of Assessment has to be a minimum of $53,900 but the other 2 years can be any of the 2016 to 2019 years.

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 (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016)

- Earned a minimum of $53,900 taxable income per year for the four most recent years from 2017 to 2020

- 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:                                                                                    $ 810

2. Additional applicant for an applicant who is at least 18yrs old:  $ 405

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:                                                                                    $3,235

2. Additional applicant for an applicant who is at least 18yrs old:  $1,615

3. Additional applicant for an applicant who is under 18yrs old:    $   810

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:

  • Subclass 189 NZ Stream Visa Application from

    • AU $5,445.00   

  • Additional Family Members from

    • AU $1,320.00 per person for 18yrs and over

    • AU $ 660.00 per child under 18yrs old

  • 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. 🙏