Permanent skill visas for New Zealand citizens

The subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa is a permanent visa that is available for people who are New Zealand Citizens. It is also often referred to as the subclass 189 New Zealand stream visa (“subclass 189NZ”).

The subclass 189NZ visa allows eligible New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to Australia, live and work in Australia permanently.

What are the benefits of a subclass 189NZ visa?

As an Australian Permanent Resident, holders of a subclass 189NZ visa can:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely
  • Work and study
  • Enrol in Medicare (Australia’s public health scheme)
  • Sponsor relatives to come to Australia
  • Travel to and from Australia for 5 years (find out more about Resident Return Visas)
  • Apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible

Who is eligible?

If you are a New Zealand citizen, you must hold a New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa to be able to apply for a subclass 189NZ visa.

You must not owe any debt to the Australian government and have not had a previous visa cancelled or refused while you were in Australia.

You will also need to satisfy the following requirements to be eligible:


For a continuous period of 5 years immediately before your application, you must have been usually resident in Australia. This is assessed by taking into account where you physically live and your intention to make that place your home.

The continuous period of usual residency must also have started on or before 19 February 2016.


You must meet the minimum income threshold (above $53,900.00*) for at least 3 completed financial years in the 5 years immediately before you apply, including the most recently completed financial year.

Some exemptions apply but these will need to be proven and ATO Notices of Assessment will still need to be provided.


You, and your family members who apply with you, must meet the health requirement, including undertaking health examinations. In some cases, non-migrating family will also need to meet the health requirement.


You, and any family members over 16 years old who apply with you, must meet the character requirement. You must be proven to be of good character and remain in good character.  Non-migrating family members will also need to meet this requirement.

If you’re a New Zealander calling Australia home, contact the migration specialists at KU Legal to discuss your options for Australian permanent visas:

+61 (0) 429 133 911

* As of May 2021, the minimum income threshold has been $53,900.00 for the past 5 financial years (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021). The legislative instrument specifies the income thresholds and exemptions.

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