Legislation passed last week has created a new stream of the Subclass 189 visa available 1 July 2017 exclusively for citizens of New Zealand. The new visa stream has no age limit, has a health waiver available, requires NZ citizen applicants to have been usually resident in Australia on or before 16 February 2016 for a continuous period of 5 years, and requires applicants to meet minimum income levels for 4 of the 5 most recent income tax years.

Additional benefits available under the new NZ stream of the 189 visa include health waivers under PIC 4007 which are not available to applicants in the skilled points-tested stream of the 189, and a split of the visa application fee so only $720 is payable at application for a single adult applicant with $2,880 due as a second visa application fee prior to grant of the visa.

The visa requires a minimum income level per income taxes for 4 of the 5 most recent tax years. The minimum amounts currently specified are:

  • $51,000 for the financial year ending 30 June 2013
  • $53,900 for the financial year ending 30 June 2014
  • $53,900 for the financial year ending 30 June 2015
  • $53,900 for the financial year ending 30 June 2016
  • $53,900 for the financial year ending 30 June 2017

The primary applicant must hold a subclass 444 visa at the time of application, and secondary applicants can hold a substantive (non-bridging) visa or a bridging visa A, B or C at the time of lodgement. As this is a permanent residence visa, it is expected that bridging visas granted from an application for the new NZ 189 stream will be granted with full work rights.