Skilled Migration Australia via the Subclass 189 Visa

Subclass 189 Visa, Everything You Need To Know

Subclass 189 is a skilled independent visa. It allows skilled migrants to live and work in Australia. The Skilled Independent subclass 189 visa plays an important role in skilled migration Australia, as it brings talented and skilled individuals from all over the world to Australia. However, this process is complex with lots of steps involved. 

Subclass 189

Process Overview 

To be eligible for a Subclass 189 visa in Australia, you must possess the right skills that are in demand in Australia. 

Once you are deemed fit for your nominated occupation, there will be a visa 189 points test ranking you against other applicants for skilled visa Australia.

If your ranking is high enough, you are invited by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) to apply for the Subclass 189 visa.

To ensure the skilled migration program can properly address Australia’s skill shortages, there are several occupation lists available, each caters for one or multiple Australian skilled visas. Visa applicants must nominate an occupation on the ‘correct’ list.

For the Skilled Indpendent Subclass 189 visa, you should focus on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List. You can find the latest version here. The 189 occupation list confirms:

  • Eligible occupations
  • Their skills assessing authorities

To ensure that you are suitable for employment in your nominated occupation in Australia, DOHA has appointed various organisations to conduct skills assessments for occupations in their areas of expertise. These organisations are known as Skills Assessing Authorities for Australia skilled immigration.

These authorities have discretion to impose their own requirements. Some skills assessments are ‘qualifications only’, meaning you can pass with an adequate qualification. Examples include CPA Australia (for accountants and certain finance occupations) and Engineers Australia (for professional engineers).

However, some skills assessments require both a suitable qualification and relevant work experience. Most trade occupations, such as chef, motor mechanic etc., fall into this category. As a result, fresh graduates with no work experience are unlikely to obtain a skills assessment from these assessing authorities. In addition, some occupations, such as registered nurses, will require Australian registration as part of the skills assessment eligibility criteria.

Once you obtain a positive skills assessment, you can submit an expression of interest (EOI) for a skilled migrant visa via DOHA’s SkillSelect system, which is the points test mentioned above. Your EOI stays in the system for 2 years, and your total visa 189 points are determined by:

  • Age 
  • English language proficiency
  • Relevant experience in your nominated occupation (both in Australia and overseas)
  • Academic qualifications
  • Studies in Australia (if applicable)
  • Proficiency in a language other than English (Note: not all languages accepted)
  • Your partner/spouse’s credentials

It is important to note that a visa Subclass 189 EOI is not a visa application, so EOI submission will NOT give you a bridging visa if you are in Australia.

Skilled Migration Visa Requirements: here are the minimum requirements at time of receiving the invitation:

  • Be under 45 years old
  • Have at least Competent English: This link explains the English tests you can take to meet this requirement: Competent English
  • Hold a valid positive skills assessment for an occupation on the 189 occupation list 
  • Score at least 65 in your EOI

Please note, whilst 65 is the ‘pass mark’, under current circumstances it is highly unlikely to get invited at just 65 points, because:

  • DOHA has limited quota for a skilled independent subclass 189 visa invitations
  • Invitation rounds are less frequent nowadays. As of March 2022,189 invitations are issued quarterly, with only around 200 issued for each round.

Therefore, to increase your chance of invitation, you should do everything you can to maximise your total points, because this is essentially a competition. DOHA has also made it very clear that invitations will go to EOIs with highest points: Invitation rounds

Want an idea of how you fare in terms of your current points?  Complete our points calculator here: 

Once you receive an invitation to apply for a skilled independent subclass 189 visa, you can lodge the application online. This is where you will need to provide supporting evidence to justify the points claimed in your EOI. You can be in or outside Australia when your application is submitted, and when your application is decided by DOHA. 

Due to COVID-19, the processing time for a 189 visa application can vary from 53 days to 3 years. Priorities are given to applications associated with a nominated occupation within a critical industry: Skilled visa processing priorities


As of March 2022, the visa application charges paid to DOHA for 189 skilled visa are:

  • Primary Applicant: $4,640.00
  • Secondary Applicant above 18: $2,320.00 each
  • Secondary Applicant below 18: $1,160.00 each

All prices listed are in Australian Dollar (AUD). Visa application charges are subject to change, and you should always check the latest pricing here:

Benefits of a Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa

189 visa holders are permanent residents of Australia. This includes all eligible family members of the primary applicants who are included in the visa application. 

You can:
  • Live and work in Australia permanently
  • Study and pay local rates for tuition fees
  • Receive Medicare (universal health care as part of your social security) 
  • Sponsor your eligible family members to Australia on temporary and/or permanent visas
  • Travel to/from Australia for 5 years from the date of approval
  • Apply for Australian citizenship once eligible
189 visa for australia

How VEVS Global Can Help

VEVS Global has been in the international education and Australia  migration industry for more than 10 years.

Led by Principal Registered Migration Agent Subodh Dhakal (MARN: 1276328), VEVS Global’s visa team can help you throughout your Subclass 189 visa Australia journey. Each client will receive detailed and individualised assessment prior to service engagement, along with an action plan to maximise your chance of success.

VEVS Global has extensive experience and expertise in general skilled migration visa, and has been assisting clients in all stages of a Subclass 189 visa application, 

Including but not limited to:
  • Skills assessment preparation
  • EOI submission and management, including strategies on increasing total points
  • Visa application lodgement
  • Post lodgement services such as liaising with DOHA case officers
  • Alternative visa and study pathways/solutions if you are not yet eligible

Despite the recent challenging circumstances around the Subclass 189 visa program, VEVS Global clients are still having success with Subclass 189 visa applications, including a 1-day visa approval for a client working in a critical industry. So contact the VEVS team today, and start your skilled visa Australia journey now!