New 189 visa for New Zealanders
Closure of New Zealand stream 189 visa
The New Zealand stream 189 visa temporarily closed to new applications on 10 December 2022 while the Government considered future migration and citizenship pathways for New Zealand citizens in Australia.
On 22 April 2023 the Government announced a direct citizenship pathway for non-protected Special Category Visa-holders.
The New Zealand Stream 189 visa will close permanently from 1 July 2023. Applications already submitted will be finalised in the coming months.
Find out more about clearing the backlog of NZ Stream 189 applications.
Permanent visa for New Zealanders
23 February 2016
The Australian government has announced an additional pathway to permanent residence, and therefore citizenship, for some New Zealand non-protected Special Category Visa-holders (SCVs). The Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream visa is available from 1 July 2017.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the new 189 (NZ) stream visa, the primary applicant must:
- be a non-protected Special Category Visa-holder
- have arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, but on or before 19 February 2016
- have been resident in Australia for the five years immediately prior to applying
- have earned at least $53,900 taxable income in four of the of the last five financial years.
- meet the standard health, character and security checks.
There is no maximum age restriction when applying for the Skilled Independent 189 (New Zealand) Stream.
The primary applicant can include their partner and dependent children on the application. Their partner and children only need to meet the health, character and security checks.
Exemptions to the income threshold
There are limited exemptions to the income requi rement, particularly for vulnerable New Zealand citizens. You might be eligible an income exemption if you are either:
- the primary care giver of children, who cannot return to New Zealand with their children due to a court order; or
- are receiving compensation for an injury which prevents you earning at or above the income threshold, and returning to New Zealand would discontinue your rehabilitation and/or compensation; or
- on an approved period of parental or carer’s leave; and immediately prior to the period of leave, had an annual income that was no less than the income threshold; and you must have resumed, or intend to resume, earning an income that is no less than the income threshold.
Please note: being made redundant, becoming unemployed, salary sacrificing and negative gearing are not grounds for an income exemption.
The Visa Application Charges (VAC) for the new visa are (2022 fee in brackets):
- primary applicant $3,600 ($4,045)
- partner $1,800 ($2,020)
- each dependent child aged 18 to 22 $1,800 ($2,020)
- each child under 18 $900 ($1,015)
Applicants will only have to pay 20 percent of the VAC when they lodge their application, with the remainder to be paid before the visa is granted.
Dependent child definition
A child is deemed to be dependent if they are single, dependent on the sponsoring parent, and either:
- aged under 18; or
- a student aged between 18 and 25 who commenced full time study no more than six months after leaving school; or
- 18 or older and unable to work due to a disability.
The above “New 189 visa for New Zealanders” information should not be relied on as an alternative to advice from the Department of Home Affairs, or a professional immigration services provider.
If you have any specific questions about an immigration matter, you should consult the Department of Home Affairs or a professional immigration services provider.