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From Aspiration to Residency: All You Need To Know About Australian Skilled Independent Visa



Everyone wants a golden ticket to reach whatever dream or destination they plan to. Well, what if I tell you you’re an inch closer to obtaining one, too? The Skilled Independent Visa (189) plays an important role in making your aspirations to seamlessly live and work in Australia. This immigration pathway offers a chance to establish your roots in Australia without requiring sponsorship from a family member, employer, or state or territory.


In this article, we’ll discuss the intricacies of the Skilled Independent Visa from the eligibility, requirements, processes, what’s life after stepping into Australia, and many more. This is your chance to showcase your skills and experience how this country values talented workers like you.


Benefits of the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)


Once you become permanent residents of Australia, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:


● You can live permanently in Australia.

● You have access to Medicare–Australia’s universal health insurance scheme.

● You can study and work anywhere in Australia

● Travel to and from Australia as many times as you want in 5 years.

(Note: After 5 years, you need to acquire a Resident Return Visa or RPV.)

● You can take your spouse/partner and/or child/stepchild (under 23 years old).

● You can apply for an Australian citizenship.


Eligibility and Requirement


The benefits can be very exciting and enticing. Now’s your chance to see if you’re eligible to apply for it. Here are the following things you’ll need:

  • OCCUPATION & SKILLS To be eligible for the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189), your occupation must align with the list of approved skilled occupations. Additionally, you need to successfully undergo a skill assessment conducted by an authorized assessing authority. This assessment is crucial to demonstrate that you possess the necessary skills and qualifications required for your chosen occupation.

  • POINTS TEST & INVITATION Initiating the visa application process involves submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), followed by an invitation to apply. To be invited, you need to accumulate a minimum of 65 points on the points test. It's important to note that exceeding this minimum threshold often increases your chances of receiving an invitation. Certain occupations may require a higher than 65-point score for consideration.

  • CALCULATING YOUR POINTS Assessing your eligibility involves calculating points based on various criteria, including occupation, skills, English language proficiency, age, and more. The points awarded for English proficiency can be further enhanced by achieving proficient and superior scores. Considering an Online English Academy to improve your English language score could bolster your overall points tally.

  • ENGLISH PROFICIENCY While a minimum of competent English is acceptable, gaining additional points is possible by presenting evidence of proficient or superior English proficiency. Enhancing your English score through an Online English Academy is a viable strategy to bolster your overall points, potentially improving your invitation prospects.

  • AGE REQUIREMENT Being under the age of 45 at the time of receiving the invitation to apply is a key eligibility criterion for the Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189). It's essential to ensure that you meet this age requirement to proceed with the application process.

  • HEALTH & CHARACTER Meeting the stipulated health and character requirements is imperative for a successful application. Adhering to these standards is essential to establish your suitability for the visa.

Submitting An Expression Of Interest

The Expression of Interest (EOI is a formal submission directed to the Department of Home Affairs. It’s the initial stage signaling one's eligibility and intent to apply for a skilled migration visa. Here's a breakdown of the process of submission:


1. Go to SkillSelect: The EOI is submitted online through SkillSelect, an online system employed by the Australian government to manage the skilled migration program. This platform serves as a hub where skilled migrants submit their EOIs, while employers and state or territory governments can search for skilled workers to sponsor.

2. Create a SkillSelect Account and Provide Information: To initiate the EOI submission, the applicant must create a SkillSelect account. You should provide accurate and up-to-date information about your qualifications, work experience, other pertinent details, and the type of visa you’re interested in. Make sure to indicate the following in your EOI: Personal information – such as given names, surnames, date of birth, countries of citizenship and/or residence, etc.

  • The nominated occupation.

  • Work experience and employment history.

  • English language proficiency.

  • Any information pertaining to a state or territory nomination, which shows whether you are prepared to live and work in regional Australia.

3. Assessment of points and EOI:

Once the EOI is submitted, it undergoes assessment based on the points system the Australian government utilizes. This points-based evaluation considers various factors such as age, qualifications, work experience, language proficiency, and more. Achieving a minimum points threshold is important to be considered for a skilled migration visa.


4. Profile Visibility on SkillSelect:

Your information is added to the SkillSelect database, where potential employers and state or territory governments can review your profile to assess your suitability for sponsorship.


5. Expression of Interest Review:

If an employer or government agency expresses interest in your profile, they may contact you to discuss potential sponsorship options.


6. Receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA):

Upon successful consideration of your EOI, you may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from the Department of Home Affairs. The ITA formally invites you to apply for a skilled migration visa and provides essential details regarding the visa subclass and application process.


It’s important to note that you must submit your visa application within 60 days of receiving the ITA. Failure to do so will result in cancellation.


Language Proficiency Requirement

When seeking a skilled migration visa, fulfilling the prescribed English language standards is imperative. The method of demonstrating this proficiency may vary based on the specific visa subclass you are pursuing. There are two primary avenues to showcase your English language capability:

  1. If you hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, or the Republic of Ireland.

  2. If you have undertaken an officially recognized English Language test and have attained the required scores.

Here’s a list of examinations approved by the Department of Home Affairs:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • Testing of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)

  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)

  • Occupational English Test (OET)

  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test

The table below shows the minimum scores required for each examination.

English test

Minimun Result Required

IELTS

Attain a minimum score of 6 in each of the four individual test components, including speaking, reading, listening, and writing.​

OET

Attain a minimum score of at least 'B' in each of the four individual test components, including speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

TOEFL iBT

Attain the minimum test scores in each of the four test components: 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, and 18 for speaking

PTE

Attain a minimum test score of 50 in each of the four individual test components, including speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

CAE

Attain a test score of at least 169 in each of the four individual test components, including speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

NOTE: The timing of the English test is important in determining eligibility for a visa grant, as it must be completed within three years of receiving an invitation to apply for the visa. Thus, it is crucial to plan in advance and ensure you have ample time to meet this requirement.


Cost of the Visa

As of the present, the cost for a subclass 189 visa stands at AUD$4,045, covering the primary applicant exclusively. However, it's important to note that for each family member included in the application, supplementary fees apply. To estimate the comprehensive costs accurately, the Home Affairs website offers a convenient Visa Pricing Estimator.


For family members aged 18 and above, an additional fee of AUD$2,020 is applicable. Meanwhile, individuals under 18 years of age incur a fee of AUD$1,015.


Furthermore, individuals aged 18 and above with English language proficiency below the functional level may face an added charge. This specific fee is collected in a subsequent payment and is only enforced upon successful visa acquisition. For each family member aged 18 or older, this second installment amounts to AUD$4,885.


It's worth considering potential supplementary charges such as those for health assessments, police certificates, and biometrics, which might be incurred during the visa application process. Stay informed about these potential additional costs to plan your budget effectively.


Health Requirements and Concerns

All visa applicants must adhere to the health criteria, with rare exceptions for temporary

short-stay visas. Permanent visa applicants undergo a comprehensive health examination at an immigration-approved clinic, involving a medical examination, chest x-ray, and blood test.

Visa refusal may occur if the applicant has active tuberculosis. Clearance through a prescribed course of medication may be required in such cases. Additionally, applicants must be free of any condition threatening public health in Australia, and the cost of managing their condition should not exceed a certain threshold.


However, if an applicant does not meet health or cost criteria due to their medical condition, a visa may still be granted by showcasing the applicant's contribution to Australia and its impact on an Australian individual or business. This option, known as a health waiver, allows further consideration of the visa application.


A health waiver is a pivotal aspect of the visa application, and it's important to note that a visa can be denied based on health considerations, regardless of whether the applicant intends to use medical services in Australia.


Visa Processing Time

The visa process may vary due to several factors, such as the accuracy of your application, the number of applications the Department of Home Affairs receives, and any additional checks necessary. On average:

  • 75% of applications: Processed within 8 months.

  • 90% of applications: Processed within 11 months.

To be updated, regularly check the Department of Home Affairs website.


Bringing Your Family

For your partner/spouse and child/stepchild to become eligible, you must prove the following:


1. For Partner/Spouse:

  • The relationship must demonstrate authenticity and continuity.

  • Your partner needs to be at least 18 years old when the application is submitted (exceptions may apply).

  • If in a de facto relationship, you should not be related by family.

  • Both you and your partner must be mutually committed to an exclusive shared life.

  • You either live together or do not live separately on a permanent basis.

2. For Children:

  • The child can be your biological child or stepchild from your current or previous relationship (under certain circumstances).

  • The child should not be married, engaged, or in a de facto relationship.

  • The child must fall into one of the following categories:

    1. Under 18 years of age

    2. Over 18 years but under 23 years, dependent on you or your partner

    3. Over 23 years and unable to financially support themselves due to physical or cognitive limitations, being dependent on you or your partner (Note: The child must still meet Australia's health requirement)

    4. A dependent child of a child eligible under the categories mentioned above (1, 2, or 3).



The Key to Permanent Residency

If you're considering permanent residency in Australia, here's a brief summary of the rights and

benefits that come with obtaining this status:


● Live in Australia indefinitely as a permanent resident of Australia. Your visa grant has a 5 yr travel facility on it, but after 5 years, you wlll need to gain a resident return visa.

● After maintaining permanent residency in Australia for two years, you become eligible for

social welfare assistance through the Australian Department of Social Security.

● Meeting the criteria of residing lawfully in Australia for a minimum of 4 years, including at

least 12 months as a permanent resident, allows you to pursue this pathway to

citizenship.

● You will have access to an excellent education system.

● You can buy an existing residential property.

● Your child can potentially be granted a Child Care Rebate.

● You can work for any employer in any occupation, except for Public Service or Armed

Forces.

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The Bottom Line

Attaining permanent residency in Australia opens doors to a multitude of opportunities. The Skilled Independent Visa definitely is a pivotal step towards building a secure and fulfilling life Down Under!

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