189 Visa (Skilled Independent) – All you need to know

189 visa skilled independent for a chef

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Do you want to live and work permanently in Australia? If so, one of the pathways you can consider is the 189 Visa. We’ve put together a guide with all you need to know about this visa!

What is the 189 Visa ?

The 189 visa is based on a point system for all migrants who have skills that are in demand in Australia. Also, it allows a person to indefinitely work and study anywhere in Australia! However, the 189 visa is only granted on an invitation basis.

What you can do with a 189 visa

The 189 visa allows the person applying to be permanent resident in Australia with no restrictions.

The 189 visa takes into consideration the applicant’s skills in a particular field. The difference of this visa from other types of visas is that once you receive the 189 visa, you don’t need to seek or maintain employment in your selected occupation.

With the 189 visa, you will be able to:

  • Stay in Australia on a permanent basis;
  • Work and study in Australia with no restrictions;
  • Register to the Australian public health service (Medicare);
  • Fly in and out of Australia with no limitations within the 5 year duration of the visa;

Requirements for the 189 Visa

What do you need to have to apply for the 189 visa? See the list of requirements below:

You don’t need a work or relative sponsor for the 189 Visa.

What is the points-based system?

The 189 visa is based on a points system. In short, the points system is a way to evaluate working migrants by considering their educational background, language skills, job experience, profession and more.

The Points System works in the following way:

  • You will receive points for many aspects such as your age, education, work experience, and more. Your ranking on a “points test” will determine whether or not you are qualified to migrate permanently;
  • There is some flexibility in how you can balance your points. For that reason, if you have less of one desired quality (for example, professional job experience) you will be able to compensate by providing more of another (e.g. English language level);

Earning Points

Since the 189 Visa depends on points, the more points you can score, the better.

To be eligible for this visa, you must score at least 65 points. Then, you will need to lodge an expression of interest in Skill Select. This will give you an estimate of your points.

The points are calculated based on, but not limited to the following: 


Different age groups will have a specific point score 

English language skill

This is based on the IELTS, PTE or other certified exams that assess English communication, reading, listening, and writing skills. 

Overseas or/and Australian skilled job experience

In this step, you will receive points based on the number of years you have worked in a profession related to the skill you are applying for. The points for work experience earned in Australia are higher than the ones overseas. 


Most professions require a form of post-secondary education such as a Bachelor’s degree or a specialised trade qualification, and the skills must be tested by the proper assessing body.

Study in Australia

If you studied in Australia, you can provide the details in this step.

Partner skills

If your spouse or de facto partner’s occupation is also on the Skilled Occupation List, their technical experience will count towards the scores.

NAATI Translation

Are you bilingual? In that case, you can get extra points by becoming a NAATI certified translator.

If you want to measure the estimate of points, you can do so by using the government’s Home Affairs website’s points calculator

Apply for the 189 visa in 4 steps

Step 1 – Check your eligibility

Your profession must be on the Skilled Occupations List for the Skilled Independent (189 visa). You can find the full list in this link.

Also, when the government invites you to apply, you must have satisfied a Skill Assessment. The assessing authority listed against your occupation in the Skilled occupation list will do the evaluation. It’s likely that you’ll have to pay for this assessment.

Your Skill Assessment must have been issued within the past three years before the date you are invited. 

If your qualifications were tested based on a certification you received in Australia while on a student visa, the qualification must have been received by completing a CRICOS-registered course.

Step 2 – Submit your Expression of Interest (EOI)

To apply for a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa, you must first submit an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. You will then be invited by the Department of Immigration to submit a visa application.

Make sure you have ample evidence to back up your application while preparing your submission. 

Step 3 – Wait to receive an invitation

SkillSelect will measure your points score depending on your Expression of Interest (EOI) claims. As mentioned before, you must have an estimated score of at least 65 points to apply for this visa.

The government will then invite you to apply if you have enough points and there are openings in your selected skill.

Step 4- Gather your documents and apply 

If you receive an invitation to apply for the 189 visa, you will have 60 days to apply before the invitation expires.

For that reason, it’s important that you have all of your documents ready to apply as soon as possible after receiving the invitation.

What documents are needed for this application?

You will need to include the following documents:
  • Birth certificate or other verification of age for anyone on your visa application, not just yourself; 
  • Authorized copies or originals of certification documents; 
  • Demonstration of work experience; 
  • English language proficiency evidence for anyone included in your visa application; 
  • A copy of your resumé; 
  • Work reference;
  • Police clearance;
  • References from former employers 
Work References

These work references must be written on the company’s official letterhead and should contain the following information:

  1. The company’s contact details, like phone, fax, email, and website.
  2. The name, position, and contact details of the individual signing the work reference letter.
  3. List how long you have worked there. Also, list what tasks you had, the main responsibilities, and your salary. Your roles should be included in job descriptions.
    Tip: Avoid using task names that can be easily found in the internet or that don’t describe the real tasks that you performed.
  4. You should have copies of your most recent payslips for that job.

What is the cost of the 189 Visa?

Main Applicant: $ 4,045.00

Secondary Applicant over 18: $ 2,025.00

Secondary Applicant Under 18: $ 1,010.00

Including Family Members

You can include your partner and/or your partner’s child or step-child in your 189 visa application.

Family members who receive the visa have the same rights and can do the same things as you.

Processing times

The processing times for the 189 visa are:

  • 75% of applications: 6 months
  • 90% of applications: 17 months

Duration of the 189 visa

This is a permanent residency visa that allows you to stay in Australia up to five years. After this five years, you would need to renew the 189 visa or apply for citizenship.

You become a permanent resident the day you receive your 189 visa.

Permanent residency starts on the following dates for the purpose of citizenship:

  • If you are in Australia – the day you receive your 189 visa.
  • If you are outside of Australia – the day you enter in Australia with the 189 visa.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the 190 visa and the 189 visa?

The main difference between the 190 Skilled nominated visa and the 189 Skill Independent visa is that once you receive 189 visa, you can live anywhere in Australia.

Consequently, in the case of the 190 visa, the holders must live in the nominated state for at least the first two years.

If you want to know more information about the 190 visa, visit our guide here!

What are the advantages of the 189 visa?

The 189 visa is considered the visa that, when compared with others, bring the most advantages. The first and foremost evident advantage is that it is permanent and independent, meaning that applicants can live and work in any part of Australia.

Do I Apply in Australia or Overseas?

You can be in or out of Australia when applying for your EOI and 189 visa. You must have a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B, or C visa in order to lodge the 189 from inside Australia. 

If you apply for the 189 visa from inside Australia, you will be given a bridging visa, allowing you to stay in the country while your visa application is being processed.

In case you receive an approval of your 189 visa while you and your family are outside of Australia, you will have to enter Australia before your health and police check expire.

As mentioned, the 189 has many benefits and can help you stay in Australia permanently. For this reason, this guide with all you need to know was made to help you navigate it. But if you still need help or have questions, make sure to contact our experienced team and we will be happy to assist you!

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