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HAWKE: Migration Amendment (Subclass 189 Visas) Regulations 2021

Overview of the Disallowable Legislative Instrument

The New Zealand pathway to permanent residence (the pathway) provides a concession to New Zealand citizens who have demonstrated commitment to Australia, and who have made and can continue to make a strong economic contribution to Australia's future. It is delivered as a stream of the subclass 189 (Skilled –Independent) visa.

Prior to this amendment, these applicants were required to have an income at or above a specified threshold (the income threshold) for the four most recently completed income years before the date of their visa application (during the period of five years immediately before that date), unless claiming an exemption. In practice, this required applicants to provide evidence of income at or above the threshold for four consecutive years, meaning New Zealanders who otherwise earned at or above the threshold for a majority of those four years but had their income temporarily drop became ineligible. These New Zealanders had to then start again and earn at or above the income threshold for four consecutive years before they were eligible to apply for the pathway.

The income requirement is amended to require applicants to demonstrate they had an income at or above the threshold for three income years in the five years immediately before the date the visa application is made. One of those income years must be the income year that ended most recently before the date of the application.

The change is intended to benefit New Zealanders who live and work in Australia by providing additional flexibility and reducing the documentation required to be provided with 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.

The existing income threshold amount remains unchanged.

Source: Migration-Amendment-Sc189-Visas-Regs-2021.pdf and 

Migration-Amendment-Sc189-Regs-2021 explanatory.pdf

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