New Zealand Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa applications will soon benefit from a relaxed Income Threshold Calculation

New Zealanders that are living and working in Australia will soon benefit from the Australian government’s relaxation of the Income Threshold test that a visa applicant needs to meet to be eligible to apply for a Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) New Zealand Stream Visa.

New Income Threshold Calculation

From 1 July 2021, New Zealanders applying for a 189 Visa – New Zealand Stream will only need to demonstrate that they had an income at or above the Income Threshold for three income years within the five years before the application is lodged.  One of the income years must be the income year that ended just before the date that the visa application is lodged.

Prior to this amendment applicants needed to prove that they had an income at or above the Income Threshold for the four (4) consecutive years prior to the date of the 189 Visa application. This meant that if an eligible New Zealander, who would usually earn above the Income Threshold, had a temporary drop in their income in any one year they would need to work for another four (4) years and earn above the Income Threshold before they would again be eligible to apply for a New Zealand Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa application. This previously strict condition caused significant delays and disruption to many New Zealand applicants.

Current Income Threshold Rate

To meet the Income Requirement a New Zealand Subclass 189 applicant will need to show that they have earned a taxable Australian income, as shown on their notice of assessment, of at least $53,900 for the last income year and for any three years since 2015.  There are some exemptions to meeting the minimum income requirement.  These exemptions are mostly available to applicants that have experienced hardship such as an injury that has prevented the applicant from working or for applicants that are subject to a family court order or are otherwise responsible for the care of children or immediate family.

Each year the Australian Government updated the minimum income requirement and publishes the updated figures in a legislative instrument.

These recent changes are intended to provide additional flexibility and reduce the documentation required to support an application while continuing to meet the policy intent of making the pathway available to New Zealand citizens who have made and continue to make a demonstrated economic contribution to Australia.

If you have any questions about how you can apply for a New Zealand Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa or how the latest changes will affect your eligibility, feel free to Contact Us.

Our team is looking forward to hearing from you.