What is happening with the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189)?


Since the budget release, there have been questions about what’s happening with the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189). It seems the 189 Visa is slowly being deactivated and many people fear what the future brings and their chances of receiving invitations since the government is saying nothing quite some time now. With recent planning levels set at just 16,900 for the 2024-25 financial year, less than half of last year’s quota, many occupations on the 189 list might not receive invitations. The pool of tens of thousands of EOIs adds to the uncertainty.


The New Zealand stream of the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa is permanently closed to new applications from primary applicants on July 1, 2023.



  • Permanent Residency: Stay in Australia indefinitely.
  • Travel Component: Expires 5 years after visa grant.
  • Permanent Resident Status: Granted on visa approval.
  • Family Inclusion: Include family members in your application.


Eligibility requirements:

    • Invitation: Apply only if invited.
    • Skills Assessment: Valid within 3 years before invitation.
    • Age: Must be under 45 at the time of invitation.
    • Points Score: Minimum of 65 points required.
    • English Proficiency: At least competent English.
    • Occupational Requirement: Must be on the eligible skilled occupations list.
    • Health & Character: Must meet these requirements.
  • Must meet other requirements


The past

The 189 visa was introduced in 2011 with an automated assessment of an Expression of Interest (EOI). The invitation process was designed to be fully automatic, based solely on the information provided in an online form, meaning documents were not required upon submission. This system aimed to be the ultimate independent selection process, giving the highest-scoring candidates a reasonable chance of receiving an invitation. However, since the pandemic, the government has shifted to a human (subjective) selection process based on skill shortage needs.


The future?

The government seems dissatisfied with the current points system and has suggested a community consultation process to potentially analyse and redesign it. This consultation will take time, and one would hope that they consider in high-demand occupations such as construction workers, teachers, and medical professionals.


Invitations might not only be based on points priority or a first-come, first-served basis but also on higher English proficiency, work experience, partner skills, and younger ages. Those offshore with significant work experience (over 5 years), under 35, and with skilled partners and good English will be highly desirable.


In conclusion, the landscape for the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) has shifted significantly since its introduction in 2011. The government’s potential overhaul of the points system, suggests a more targeted and strategic approach to immigration. To increase their chances of getting an invitation, applicants should keep themselves informed and be flexible while the government deals with these changes.