Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) – Points-tested stream


The Points-tested stream is suitable for individuals who are applying as skilled workers, but have not received sponsorship from a territory or state government, a family member or an employer. If granted, a subclass 189 visa allows the holder to work in and live in Australia as a permanent resident.

An application for the Skilled Independent visa through the Points-tested stream must be preceded by an expression of interest.

NB: If you are a citizen of New Zealand, you may instead be able to submit an application for the  Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) (New Zealand) stream.


In order to qualify for this stream, applicants must

The process

Interested applicants must first register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with SkillSelect. The EOI should contain detailed information relating to your skills, formal qualifications and work experience in your nominated occupation. SkillSelect will then provide you with an estimate of the points score you would receive, and indicate how this compares with other potential applicants. Please click the links to discover additional information about EOIs, including invitation rounds and occupation ceilings.

If your points score and comparative rank are high enough and there are still available places in the occupation you have chosen, an invitation to apply for the 189 visa will be extended to you. These invitations are valid for 60 days, during which time you must submit an application or the invitation will expire.


In order to be eligible to apply, you must intend to work in an occupation that is on the list of eligible skilled occupations.

In addition, you must have passed a formal skills assessment which demonstrates that you have the necessary qualifications and technical skills for that occupation.

Points score

The invitation letter you receive will confirm the points score you will require in order for your application to have a chance of being successful. This score will be at least 65 points and will be based largely on the details you provided in your EOI

Check how many points you might get.

Submission of an EOI is free of charge and mandatory prior to all 189 visa applications. Applicants will be ranked against other expressions of interest received and their EOI will be kept on file for up to 2 years.

The points table

This points table can be used to calculate your potential points test score.

Points information (Check if you can claim points for):

Do I have to be in Australia to apply?

EOIs for the 189 visa can be submitted from either in or outside Australia. Likewise, you can apply for the 189 visa itself from inside or outside of Australia.

Please note that in order to submit an application inside Australia, you will require either another valid visa or a Bridging A, B or C visa.

Assessment authorities

Refer to the Australian government’s list of eligible skilled occupations to find out the appropriate assessment authority for your chosen occupation.

What can I do with a 189 visa?

The subclass 189 visa is a permanent visa which allows holders to:

  • remain in Australia indefinitely
  • study and work in Australia
  • sign up for the Australian national healthcare insurance scheme, Medicare
  • act as a sponsor for permanent residence applications from eligible relatives
  • apply for Australian citizenship


189 visa application fees start at around AUD 4,640

Please note that this is a minimum estimate, and you might stil need to pay additional costs to apply for and secure this visa.


Applications for a 189 visa can be made from inside or outside Australia.

How long the visa lasts

189 visas are permanent visas which start on the day they are granted and last indefinitely, or until revoked by Australian authorities.


It is permitted to include in your application a partner, as well as any children or step-children either of you may have. Visas granted to family members who apply in this way will confer the same residence, employment, travel and other rights as the main 189 visa holder.

Your obligations

189 visa holders (as well as any family members) must at all times ensure that they remain compliant with the conditions of their visa, which can be found in VEVO. They must also comply with federal, state and local laws.


189 visa holders are able to travel in and out of Australia without restrictions for five years after the visa is first granted.

VE Lawyers specialises in managing general skilled visa applications. We would be delighted to help you with:

  • Skills assessments
  • Preparing relative sponsorship applications
  • Registering and monitoring your visa application
  • Formal correspondence with skills assessors, the Department of Immigration and any other organisation related to your application
  • Managing any bridging visas for you and any family members

We are available to you for a personal immigration consultation if you would like to find out more about how to get a 189 visa and what you will need for a successful application.