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July 7, 2023

Everything you should know about Independent Visa 189 and Skilled Nominated Visa 190

When it comes to migrating to a new country, Australia is a popular destination for skilled professionals seeking better opportunities and an enhanced quality of life. The Australian government offers several visa options for skilled migrants, and two prominent pathways are the Skilled Nominated Visa 190 and the Independent Visa 189

While both visas target skilled individuals, they have distinct differences in terms of eligibility criteria, application process, and obligations. In this blog, we will delve into the dissimilarities between the Skilled Nominated Visa 190 and the Independent Visa 189, providing you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189

The skilled Independent Visa 189  allows invited skilled workers, eligible New Zealand citizens and eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders with relevant skills  to live and work in Australia permanently without the need for state or territory nomination.

  • Points-tested stream:

This visa allows you to work and live anywhere in Australia. It does not require that you obtain sponsorship or nomination. However, you must be invited to apply, and  you must be 45 or below.

  • Permanent Residency:

A Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) holder can stay in Australia indefinitely, and is granted the rights and privileges of a permanent resident.

  • Inclusion of Family Members:

Immediate family members can be included in the visa application, either initially or before a decision is made. They must meet the Australian government’s health and character requirements.

  • Cost:

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) applicants pay AUD 4,240 as the main visa fee, with an added charge for each family member. You will require to pay an additional second installemnt of AUD 4,885 for a family member who is 18 years or above and has less than functional knowledge of the English language. The Australian government will ask you to pay this fee only if they decide to grant you a Visa.

  • Application Location:

Applicants have the flexibility to apply for the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) either from within or outside Australia. However, it is crucial to be outside of immigration clearance when applying. If applying within Australia, applicants must hold a substantive visa or a specific bridging visa (subclass 010, 020, or 030).

  • Processing Times:
  • 25% of applications: 3 months
  • 50% of applications: 5 months
  • 75% of applications: 5 months
  • 90% of applications: 5 months
  • Travel Provisions:

Once the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) is granted, the visa holder can freely travel to and from Australia for a period of 5 years. After this period, individuals will need to obtain a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 or 157) to re-enter Australia as permanent residents.

  • New Zealand Stream

This visa allows eligible New Zealand citizens to live and work in Australia permanently. Of course, this is obtained on the basis that the New Zealand citizen demonstrates contribution and commitment to Australia.

  • Benefits of the Visa:

The Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) provides the following advantages:

  • Indefinite Stay: With this visa, you can stay in Australia indefinitely as a permanent resident.
  • Work and Study: You have the freedom to work and study in Australia, exploring various opportunities.
  • Medicare Enrollment: You can enroll in Australia’s public healthcare scheme, Medicare, ensuring access to healthcare services.
  • Sponsor Relatives: The visa allows you to sponsor your relatives to come and live in Australia, subject to meeting specific requirements.
  • 5-Year Travel Provision: You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you wish for a period of five years from the date the visa is granted.
  • Australian Citizenship Eligibility: If eligible, you can pursue Australian citizenship, offering additional rights and privileges.
  • Including Family Members:

The Subclass 189 visa lets you include family members who meet health and character requirements.

  • Cost and Payment Structure:
  • Visa fee for main applicant: AUD 4,240 
  • The application may include an additional charge for adding a family member
  • Visa application charges divided into two installments: 20% at lodgment, 80% before visa grant
  • Other costs to consider: health checks, police certificates, biometrics.
  • Application Location:

To apply for the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189), you must be in Australia and holding a Subclass 444 visa. However, family members included in the application can be in or outside Australia, but if they are in Australia, they must hold a substantive visa or a specific bridging visa (subclass 010, 020, or 030).

  • The processing times 

25% of applications: 11 months

50% of applications: 17 months

75% of applications: 21 months

90% of applications: 25 months

  • Travel Provisions and Obligations:

After obtaining the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189), travel in and out of Australia is unrestricted for five years. However, a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 or 157) is required afterwards. Adhering to Australian laws is crucial for visa holders.

It is important to note that the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) (New Zealand stream) visa will no longer be open to new applications. The date for receiving new applications will close on 1st July 2023.

  • Hong Kong Stream

This particular visa enables Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders who have shown their dedication to Australia to establish permanent residency and pursue employment in the country. You are required to possess either a Hong Kong passport or a British National (Overseas) passport. Certain visa criteria must be met. Specific residency requirements must also be fulfilled.

Visa Eligibility:
  • Eligible for Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders committed to Australia.
  • Must hold a British National Overseas or Hong Kong passport
  • Must meet specific visa requirements and residence criteria.
Duration of Stay:

Permanently in Australia.


Visa fee starts from AUD 4,240.00.

Processing Time:

Processing time varies, depending on individual circumstances, including:

  1. Completeness of the application and supporting documents.
  2. Timely response to requests for additional information.
  3. Duration of required checks on the provided information.
  4. Time taken to obtain additional information from external agencies (e.g., health, character, national security).
  5. Availability of places in the migration program.

The Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) under the Hong Kong Stream offers permanent residency in Australia for eligible Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders.

Skilled Nominated Visa 190

The Skilled Nominated Visa 190 is a state-nominated visa that allows individuals with occupations listed on the relevant state or territory occupation lists to live and work in Australia permanently. 

Age Limit:
  • Age limit of 18 to 25 years must score 25 points
  • Age limit of 25 to 33 years must score 30 points
  • Age limit of 33 to 40 years must score 25 points
  • Age limit of 40 to 45 years must score 15 points
Visa Benefits:
  • Stay permanently in Australia
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Enroll in Australia’s healthcare scheme
  • Sponsor relatives to come to Australia
  • Travel to and from Australia for 5 years
  • Eligible for Australian citizenship
Duration of Stay:
  • Indefinite stay in Australia
  • Travel component expires after 5 years from the visa grant date
Including Family:
  • Family members can be included during the application or added before a decision is made
  • Family members must meet health and character requirements
  • Non-accompanying family members may also need to meet health and character requirements
Visa Cost:
  • AUD 4,240.00 for the main applicant
  • Additional charge for each family member
  • Visa Pricing Estimator can help calculate the total cost
Additional Charges:
  • Extra charge for applicants over 18 years with limited English proficiency (second installment)
  • Second installment charge for family members: AUD 4,885
  • Other costs for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics may apply
  • Can apply from within or outside Australia (not in immigration clearance)
  • If applying in Australia, specific visa requirements must be met
Processing Times:
  • Vary case-by-case
  • Dependent on complete application, supporting documents, responsiveness, checks, and information from external agencies
  • Availability of migration program places affects processing times
  • Unlimited travel to and from Australia for 5 years from visa grant
  • After 5 years, Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 or 157) needed to re-enter as a permanent resident

Differences between Skilled Independent Visa (189) and Skilled Nominated Visa (190):

Occupation Requirements: The 190 visa requires occupation selection from either MLTSSL, STSOL or a state/territory-specific occupation list , while the 189 visa requires selection from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)  

Both the Skilled Nominated Visa 190 and the Independent Visa 189 offer skilled professionals a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. The Skilled Nominated Visa 190 requires state or territory nomination, while the Independent Visa 189 does not entail a sponsorship requirement. That said, those who receive a “sponsored” visa have certain obligations pertaining to their place of residence. This does not apply to those holding an independent visa.

The choice between these visa subclasses ultimately depends on an individual’s circumstances, including their occupation, preferences, and desire for location flexibility. It is recommended to carefully assess the requirements and benefits of each visa category before making an informed decision.

  • Can I apply for both 189 and 190 visas?

You can apply for only one visa at a time and not both.

  • How long does it take to get PR (Permanent Residency) after 189 invitation?

The estimated processing period for the Subclass 189 Visa is around 8-9 months. The Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) Visa, which is widely recognized as a points-based visa, typically takes up to 8 months to grant permanent residency directly after the applicant has submitted a fully completed application.

  • Is the Skilled Independent Visa Subclass 189 permanent?

This visa allows invited workers with the necessary skills to live and work permanently in Australia.

  • Is Skilled Nominated Visa subclass 190 permanent?

The Skilled Nominated Visa – Subclass 190 is a permanent visa option for skilled migrants. It grants you the opportunity to reside and work in Australia. If you satisfy the state nomination requirements, South Australia provides a pathway for state nomination under this visa category.

  • Can I apply for Skilled Nominated Visa Subclass 190 without skill assessment?

No, a skill assessment is required for the Skilled Nominated Visa Subclass 190.

  • What is the validity period of Subclasses Visa 190 and Visa 189?

The stay period in Australia through these visas 189 and 190 are indefinite (permanent), and therefore, do not have a validity period.