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June 7, 2021

Amendments to Subclass 189 for New Zealanders

New Concessions & Exemptions for New Zealanders for Subclass 189

New amendments to Subclass 189: Skilled Independent Visa has been announced under the New Zealand streams after the Prime Minister’s visit to the country. This stream will see relaxed income criteria for visa applicants, although no decrease in the threshold. Further exemptions to income and residency requirements will be in place due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs announced that these regulations to the 189 visas under the New Zealand stream will make it easier for applicants to meet the criteria for the grant.
While the requirement of being an Australian resident starting on or before 19 February 2016 for a period of 5 years immediately before applying will remain, there will be an added allowance for time spent outside Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This will likely operate in a similar fashion to the concession period allowances that are in place for many other visas.
Another amendment will see the number of years the primary applicant needs to meet the minimum income threshold in the last five years before applying reduced from four years to three. However, one of these three years will need to be the most recently completed income tax years.
In addition to the above amendments that have come into effect on 1 July 2021, further adds a COVID-19 exemption to income requirements. This exemption allows applicants who would’ve likely met the minimum income requirement for the 2019-2020 financial year but could not provide various forms of evidence as to why and will receive an exemption for that year old.
This exemption adds to the existing parenting orders, workplace compensation, and parental leave exemptions that are in place for any financial year.

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