Changes ahead for New Zealand 189 visa

From the July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update prepared by the Treasure Josh Frydenberg and Minister of Finance Mathias Cormann, the government is expected to introduce new changes to the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) – New Zealand Stream visa.

To promote take-up of the SC 189 New Zealand Stream visa, the government is expected to reduce the income eligibility requirement (currently $53,900) and extend the 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:

  • Be holding 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:

Income Year Minimum Amount of Income
2015 – 2016 $53,900
2016 – 2017 $53,900
2017 – 2018 $53,900
2018 – 2019 $53,900

Waiver of the income requirement applies for periods of:

  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Carers leave

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