Subclass 189

Occupational ceilings 2017/2018 – invitations for general skilled migration visas

If you are wondering whether you are likely to receive an invitation to apply for a subclass 189, 190 or 489 visa, the Department has published a table providing useful information on the occupation ceilings and the invitations issued by the Department thus far.

The table lists the eligible skilled occupations (and the corresponding four-digit ANZSCO code), the occupation ceilings for the 2017-2018 programme year and the number of invitations to date.

For example:

  • for Accountants (Occupation ID 2211), the occupation ceiling is capped at 4785, and 478 invitations have been issued to date. 
  • for Registered Nurses (Occupation ID 2544), the occupation ceiling is 16741, and 49 invitations have been issued to date.
  • for Other Engineering Professionals (Occupation ID 2339), the occupation ceiling is 1000, and 100 invitations have been issued to date.

To see the complete table, visit

If you want to discuss your likely eligibility for these visa subclasses please contact Putt Legal.

Australian permanent residence & citizenship options for New Zealand citizens

New Zealand citizens who arrive in Australia are granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) (subclass 444) on arrival, allowing them to live in Australia indefinitely. However, this is only a temporary visa and does not guarantee holders the same rights as permanent residents or Australian citizens. For example, such NZ citizens may not have full social security or pension rights as Australian permanent residents, or ability to access tertiary education on the same terms as Australian permanent residents.

Additionally NZ citizens, even if they have resided in Australia for many years and have all their family members residing in Australia, can be permanently removed from Australia if they become of ‘character’ concern. For example, there are mandatory visa cancellation arrangements for those who are sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment in Australia.

New Zealand citizens considering Australian permanent residence or citizenship, may be eligible by the following routes:

1.       Protected Special Category Visa holders

Protected SCV holders are those SCV holders who:

  • were in Australia on 26 February 2001; or
  • were in Australia as an SCV holder for a period of, or periods totalling, 12 months during the two years immediately before 26 February 2001; or
  • commenced or recommenced residing in Australia within three months from 26 February 2001; or
  • were residing in Australia on 26 February 2001 but were temporarily absent.

Protected SCV holders can apply for citizenship without needing a permanent visa, they must just meet the usual citizenship criteria including residential and character requirements.

2.       Skilled Independent subclass 189 (New Zealand) stream

New Zealand citizens who resided in Australia on a subclass 444 SCV, for at least 5 years prior to 19 February 2016, are eligible for a general skilled migration stream (subclass 189) visa .

To be eligible, applicants must have a taxable income at or above the income threshold (approximately $55,000 per annum) for four of the five years prior to lodging an application and must meet mandatory health, character and security requirements. A health waiver is available for those with medical conditions, and Putt Legal has expertise in this area.

New Zealand citizens who are granted this permanent visa will be eligible for Australian citizenship after 12 months.

3.       Resident Return Visas

New Zealand citizens who first arrived in Australia prior to September 1994, even for a brief period, may be eligible to apply for Australian permanent residence status by applying for a resident return visa (subclass 155). The visa application charge for this visa is currently $365, and eligibility for this visa may depend on the periods of residence in Australia since the first arrival date.

4.       Permanent residents

A New Zealand citizen who is in Australia on a permanent visa (rather than a subclass 444 SCV), who meets the residency requirement (soon to be four years on a permanent visa), and is of good character can still apply for citizenship by this route.

Give Putt Legal a call on 9221 7682  for assistance in applying for citizenship, or a permanent visa.


Australia wants graduates in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) areas to help contribute to Australia’s prosperity.

To achieve this, in May 2016 it was reported that foreign students at a Doctorate or Masters-by-research level would soon receive an extra five points towards a skilled migration (subclass 189 or 190) visa if they have studied in the STEM or ICT fields.

As of the 10 September 2016, the points test was officially amended and further details have now been provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection with the Department listing the fields of education that will be accepted as STEM or ICT for the purpose of extra points.

The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) defines the following Fields of Education that have been proposed to be accepted under this new points system as including:

o   Biological Sciences

o   Chemical Sciences

o   Earth Sciences

o   Mathematical Sciences

o   Natural and Physical Sciences

o   Other Natural and Physical Sciences

o   Physics and Astronomy

o   Computer Science

o   Information Systems

o   Information Technology

o   Other Information Technology

o   Aerospace Engineering and Technology

o   Civil Engineering

o   Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Technology

o   Engineering and Related Technologies

o   Geomatic Engineering

o   Manufacturing Engineering and Technology

o   Maritime Engineering and Technology

o   Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Technology

o   Other Engineering and Related Technologies

o   Process and Resources Engineering.


Graduates can determine if they are eligible for five additional points towards their points test by:

1.     Searching the CRICOS website for their qualification-;

2.     Checking their qualification is listed as being at a Doctorate or Masters-by-research level;

3.     Seeing if their qualification is listed as being in one of the above Fields of Education.


See for more information, or contact Putt Legal on (08) 9221 7682 for all your visa options.