Changes to Subclass 189 Skilled Independent – NZ Stream

Regional Migration Australia is experiencing an increase in the number of New Zealand Citizens looking to obtain their Australian permanent residency and Citizenship. According to the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update (see link below), there’s some good news ahead, with indications the government is expected to introduce changes to the Subclass 189 Skilled Independent – New Zealand Stream visa.

It is anticipated that there will be a reduction in the income eligibility requirement (currently $53,900) and extended eligibility to SC 444 Special Category visa holders who meet the income threshold for at least three of the last five income years (currently 4 out of 5). More information regarding this announcement will be provided by the government in the future.

Currently, to be eligible for the SC 189 New Zealand Stream visa, the applicant must:

  • Hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • Have resided in Australia for at least the last 5 years
  • Have started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016
  • Have the taxable income (see below table) at or above the income threshold for each of the four completed income years prior to lodging an application.

Income threshold for income years:

2015 – 2016 $53,900
2016 – 2017 $53,900
2017 – 2018 $53,900
2018 – 2019 $53,900

A waiver of the income requirement may apply for periods of:

Maternity leave
Paternity leave
Carers leave

Economic and Fiscal Update July 2020


  1. Ranita Amir on September 13, 2020 at 2:18 am

    Dear sir refer to the news published on your website on 5th of August About subclass 189 New Zealand stream i am really excited to hear that could you please tell me if you have any idea when these changes expected to implement we are really looking forward to apply for PR including my partner and our 4 year old little one please also advise the process fees for taking up the application on behalf of us when the changes implemented thank you
    Ranita amir

    • on September 13, 2020 at 10:19 pm

      Hello Ranita, thanks for your message. We would be delighted to help you. We will reach out via email to discuss your migration plan. It certainly is welcome news for many NZ Citizens looking to get their permanent residency!

  2. Becky R on October 20, 2020 at 2:42 am


    This is great news to hear that the government is considering reducing the income threshold requirements to 3 out of the past 5 years.
    Do you have any updates on when this is likely to be introduced?
    My husband and I are very excited to finally be in a position to obtain PR.

    Many thanks


    • on October 20, 2020 at 4:14 am

      Hi Becky, yes it certainly is great news for NZ Citizens who are looking to secure their permanent residency in Australia. We are working with a lot of NZ citizens at the moment who are taking steps to gain permanent residency and citizenship in Australia. We have not yet been provided with specific details on when these changes will be implemented. Sign up to our newsletter to stay updated! All the best from the team at Regional Migration Australia.

  3. Gaurav on November 1, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    Hi there,
    Are they going to reduce income as well?

    • on November 6, 2020 at 4:03 am

      Hi Gaurav, thanks for your message. At this stage there is no indication that the income requirements will change. Feel free to get in touch if you would like to look at other options. Cheers, Kristie (MARN 1068715).

  4. Jos on November 4, 2020 at 7:59 am

    We are NZ citizen living in AUS for 2 decades already.

    But we had visa refusal 15 yrs ago due to salary threshold..Not so sure if we are still qualified.

    • on November 6, 2020 at 4:04 am

      Hi Jos! Thanks for your comment. That’s a long time to be in Australia. We would love to speak with you to see what we can do to help. Please feel free to get in touch so that we can check out your options and advise further. Cheers, Kristie (MARN 1068715).

  5. Marjorie on November 18, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Hello team, considering the current processing times (75% in 10 months – 90% in 27 months) do you think it is smart to apply now with a 3 years income (banking on the fact that by the time our application is assessed the new legislation would have been passed)?

    • on November 24, 2020 at 2:01 am

      Hi Marjorie, thanks for your question. We would not recommend this strategy – you must ensure you can meet the visa criteria which are in place at the time of application. If you would like assistance, please feel free to contact us. We can advise the right time for you to apply and lodge a professional submission outlining how you meet each of visa regulations.

  6. Benedict Cellacay on December 23, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Hello there,

    I arrived here in Australia after February 2017 but I earn above the threshold. Do you think the new changes will be extended for us?

    Thank you!

  7. Pamela on February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Hello there,

    I arrived here in Australia after august 2016 but I earn above the threshold since then. Do you think the new changes will be extended for us?

    Thank you!

    • on February 4, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Hi Pamela
      We would be happy to help you. Please contact us for a preliminary assessment of your visa options. You can submit an enquiry via our website, which will prompt us to get some info to you! Chat soon!

  8. hikitene kingi on April 8, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Hi guys.

    This is great news. A question on the wording. Does this mean 3 (of) the last 5 years… Or the last 3 years of the 5 in a row? I have a gap in employment and didn’t earn over the threshold for 1 year in my last 5 years being here.


    • on May 20, 2021 at 12:41 am

      Hi Hikitene, thanks for your your question. All these little details can certainly be a bit confusing! The three years does not need to be in a row. Feel free to reach out to us for some further clarification on the requirements for this visa. Looking forward to hearing from you soon! Regards, Kristie Morgan (MARN 1068715).

  9. Albert Paul Gillis on June 5, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Can the income threshold be from multiple jobs to make the $53k? So 2 jobs combined to meet the threshold

Leave a Comment