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Skilled Independent SC 189 (New Zealand stream) Visa

Skilled Independent SC 189 (New Zealand stream) Visa

Citizens of New Zealand who have stayed in Australia to work for a minimum of 5 years can utilize this new pathway towards permanent residency. This visa pathway belongs to the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa.

Residence requirement

The new pathway to obtaining Australian residency is provided only for NZ citizens. These citizens must be living right from or before February 19th, 2016 in Australia. You will have to showcase that you were living during this whole time. A short trip to Australia on a business or holiday purpose won’t make you eligible for this visa. On the contrary, if you stayed outside Australia temporarily on February 19th, 2016, but spent time in Australia as a resident before that, you might be able to confirm your eligibility. 

In this NZ citizens pathway to Australian residency, you should be able to showcase proof of being a resident for a minimum of 5 years continuously in Australia before submitting your application. This continuous residence duration has to have begun either on February 19th, 2016 or before that date. 

To showcase your continuous residency involves these two factors:

  • Your physical presence for 5 continuous years in Australia.

  • Your intent to reside permanently in Australia. Short visits to abroad such as holidays are acceptable, provided that you keep Australia as your main residence destination. If you buy a permanent house or accept a job outside Australia, it might impact your application and proof of usual continuous residence. 

You will need to be a holder of the Special Category Visa (SCV Subclass 444) for the last five years. This visa is granted usually to NZ citizens when they enter Australia.

Income requirement

You are required to submit ATO Notices of Assessment to showcase that your annual earned taxable income is equivalent or more than what is described in TSMIT or Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. This minimal income has to be consistent for the previous 5 consecutive financial years. 

The TSMIT used to be $51,000 for the period between July 1st, 2013 and June 30th 2013. But, it has been increased up to $53,900 from July 1st 2013. 

There are several limited exemptions possible to the requirement of income- the announced ones include:

  • Paternity, maternity or carer’s leave- this exemption in the application is discretionary.

  • Inability to leave Australia because of the responsibility of a child’s primary care assigned the Australian Family Court and the child has to stay in Australia.

  • Currently obtaining ongoing rehabilitation and compensation for an injury or departing Australia would discontinue the compensation.

Age requirement 

Unlike any other skilled visa, the 189 NZ stream contains no age-associated limit. However, from July 1st, 2017, the age limit was reduced to 45 years for the subclass 189 visa. And from March 2018, the age limit was reduced to 45 years for visas associated with permanent employer sponsorship. Hence, this stream of visa gives an advantage to older applicants. 

Including family members

Even if an applicant’s family members don’t have NZ citizenship, the applicant can include dependent children and spouses in his or her application. If you are applying onshore, they need to have a substantive visa. However, the holders of a Bridging A visa, Bridging B visa or Bridging C visa are acceptable as well. 

Health and character requirements

All members of a family added in the applied form should be able to fulfil character and health requirements. 

The waivable health criterion 4007 is applicable – within this waiver, if your particular health condition requires expensive medical treatment or community services, you may still obtain permanent residence unless no undue cost is available. For example, if your health insurance is solid or you hold significant assets, and you are able to show your capability in managing your medical costs on your own, the application might still end up in your favour. 

Most of the permanent visas include complete character and health assessments of every family member included or not included in the application. However, it is not required when you choose the new pathway to apply for permanent residency in Australia. Only the included family members in an application are supposed to go through the character and health assessment.

Government visa application fees (besides the professional fees required for the preparation and submission of an application)

The 189 visa cost asked by the Government is streamlined with the fees required to submit an application for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa. However, you are supposed to submit only 20 percent of the total fee when lodging your application. The rest of the fees is asked after you satisfy all criteria and become capable of getting your visa granted. 

The payable application fees for the Government visa are like this:

Type of applicant When applying Before visa approval Total
Main Applicant $750 $3000 $3,750
Dependents who are 18 and over $375 $1,500 $1,875
Dependents who are under 18 $189 $756 $945

Important note: This steam of permanent visa doesn’t involve applicants to pay any charge of having less than required English proficiency.

Summary 

NZ citizens who hold the SCV/SC444 visa and were staying in Australia on or before 19 February 2016, this NZ citizen pathway to permanent residence is highly advantageous. 

  • It doesn’t require any English language assessment, points scoring, skills assessment or employer sponsorship.

  • It contains no age-associated limit.

  • The level of income is moderate – and several exemptions are applicable for people who are on a carer leave or parenting their kid. 

  • Applicants and their family members can submit health waivers for their health conditions.

  • The bigger part of the visa application fee is requested only after a complete assessment of all requirements and the authorities get ready to grant the visa. 

Every NZ citizen who meets the required eligibility criteria should think about using this new pathway to obtain a favourable way of acquiring the status of permanent status in Australia. In the current political conditions, this opportunity might not be accessible for long. The only limitation in this visa is that it is provided only for NZ citizens who were staying in Australia on the qualifying date or before that. Plus, they need to meet the requirement of income threshold and 5 years of continuous residence.

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