Making a valid Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa application

Making a valid Skilled-Independent Subclass 189 visa application (the basics):

Qualifying visas:

Applicants in Australia must hold either a substantive visa or a bridging visa A, B or C. Although applicants in a combined application do not necessarily have to hold the same visa, each applicant in Australia must hold a qualifying visa at the time of application.

Note: If the [primary application is invalid. Any/all combined applications will also be invalid. ie; if one fails, they all fail.

Making a valid application:

  • the primary applicant must meet the requirements in their own right in order to have a valid subclass 189 application made under that item and
  • secondary applicants cannot make a valid Class SI combined application unless the primary applicant has made a valid application

For example, if the main applicant does not meet the age requirement, none of the persons included in their application have a valid subclass 189 visa application.

However, if a secondary applicant fails a validity criteria (for instance, the secondary applicant is onshore but does not hold a qualifying visa) the main applicant and other secondary applicants will have made a valid application, but the secondary applicants application will be invalid.

Skill-related requirements:

The main applicant must nominate a skilled occupation:

  • the skilled occupation is specified by legislative instrument as being a skilled occupation at the time of invitation to apply for the visa and
  • that is specified in the invitation as the skilled occupation that the applicant may nominate and
  • for which the applicant declares in the application that their skills have been assessed as suitable by the relevant assessing authority.

The Migration Regulations defines a ‘Skilled Occupation’ as follows:

(1)  A skilled occupation , in relation to a person, means an occupation of a kind:

(a)  that is specified by the Minister in an instrument in writing to be a skilled occupation; and

(b)  if a number of points are specified in the instrument as being available–for which the number of points are available; and

(c)  that is applicable to the person in accordance with the specification of the occupation.

(2)  Without limiting subregulation (1), the Minister may specify in the instrument any matter in relation to an occupation, or to a class of persons to which the instrument relates, including:

(a)  that an occupation is a skilled occupation for a class of persons;

(b)  that an occupation is a skilled occupation for a person who is nominated by a State or Territory government agency.

Note: A Nominated skil​led occupation cannot later be changed.

If a person has skills in more than one occupation on the SOL, they must decide at the time they enter their details into an Expression Of Interest (EOI) in the SkillSelect database which one of those occupations will be their nominated skilled occupation. They are able to amend the details in this EOI only up until they are invited to apply for a visa.

If a person needs to change their occupation or other details in their EOI after being invited to apply for the subclass 189 visa, they will need to let their current invitation lapse, reinvigorate the EOI and adjust the occupation at that point. They will then need to be invited (if otherwise eligible) on the basis of the new occupation to apply for a Subclass 189 visa.

Bridging Visa:

At the time of application applicants will be eligible for a Bridging visa. The Bridging visa eligibility will depend on the visa applicant’s immigration status and circumstances at the time they make a valid Subclass 189 visa application.

Travelling ​after making a subclass 189 visa application:

There is no requirement that BVB (Bridging Visa B) applications be made with one of the points tested skilled migration visa processing centres. BVB applications are assessed under standard policy arrangements for considering a BVB.

Applicants outside ​of Australia at time of lodgement:

Generally, persons who:

  • applied for their Subclass 189 visa while outside Australia and
  • subsequently travel to Australia

are eligible to apply for a BVA if they held a substantive visa at the time they applied for the Class SI visa. A separate BVA application for a bridging visa is required and can be made only in Australia.

Generally, persons who:

  • applied for their Subclass 189 visa while outside Australia but
  • did not hold a substantive visa at time of application

cannot successfully apply for a BVA or BVC associated with the Class SI visa application if they subsequently enter Australia (that is, holding a visa granted after the Class SI application was made). Applicants in this situation who approach the department about a bridging visa should be counselled on the requirement to maintain their lawful migration status while in Australia.

Visa conditions attached to associated bridging visa:

No visa conditions apply to a BVA, BVB or BVC visa granted in association with an unfinalised Subclass 189 visa application.

Subclass 189