Thursday, 11 July 2013

Migration Chapter 6: Subclass 189 or 190?

Hi readers, some of you may be wondering what happened to us since we have not blogged for some time. No, thankfully we have not been moderated by MDA (yet) after my post on the haze went viral 2 weeks ago. We have just been holidaying overseas since I left my job in end June! :)
Many readers who have visited our blog have left several positive comments so far. Thanks for reading and for all your encouragement! If you are a new reader interested in migrating to Oz, you may want to start reading from the beginning of our journey here. In this post, I will attempt to answer a common question on migration / applying to be an Australian PR: Should you choose Subclass 189 or 190?
My 'usual' disclaimer at this point: the following information presented here is based on my own research/experience on the 2 subclasses. The info provided is by no means exhaustive. Please read with discretion!
Subclass 189 or 190? Does it make a difference?
What's the difference?
Subclass 189 is known as the Skilled Independent Visa and Subclass 190 is known as the Skilled Nominated Visa. As the name suggests, both require the primary visa applicant to offer a skill/occupation that is in high demand in Australia. The table below summarizes the main differences:

Subclass 189
Subclass 190
For skilled workers not nominated by any employer, state, territory or family member. It essentially means applicants are migrating independently based on the primary applicant’s own merit and offered skill.
For skilled workers nominated by a state or territory
Can work and live anywhere in Australia upon granting of visa
Can work and live anywhere in Australia upon granting of visa, but must stay in the nominated state for at least 2 years within the first grant period
Needs applicant to apply directly to the state for a nomination before/immediately after submitting an EOI
Keep the state/territory updated of any changes in circumstances, as well as complete all surveys and provide information as and when required
A$3060 for primary application (cost includes all family members before 1 July 2013). Separate charges apply for secondary applicants for applications lodged after 1 July 2013.
Application to respective State for nomination is FOC.
Same costs as Subclass 189 for lodgement
Cut-off of 60 points required for completed EOI to be submitted via Skillselect (provided occupation ceiling is not reached)
Cut-off of 55 points (essentially) as a successful state nomination grants the applicant an additional 5 points

Priority 4 – up to 8 weeks for assigning of Case Officer and up to 12 months for granting of visa
Priority 3 – up to 6 weeks for assigning of case officer and up to 6 months for granting of visa (excluding wait time for successful outcome for state nomination which will depend on the individual state)
Offered Skill/Occupation
Must offer a skill/occupation on the main SOL
Must offer a skill/occupation on the individual State’s SOL
At least competent (score of 6.0 for each component of IELTS) to be eligible
Same as Subclass 189 for some occupations. More stringent IELTS scores are required for certain state nominated occupations
Work Experience as a pre-requisite
No, if not claiming points for work experience
Usually required. Number of years of experience required depends on offered skill and individual state requirements
If you are wondering what else the 2 subclasses have in common: when granted, both visas are valid for 5 years and holders of the visas are considered Australian Permanent Residents. Family members can be added in the application of both visa types (family members will be known as secondary applicants). The benefits of being a PR (Medicare, domestic rates for further studies etc) apply to visa holders of both subclasses as well. 
Why should you choose Subclass 189?
  • You are free to travel, live and work anywhere in Australia (and New Zealand to some extent) with no restriction and no post-grant obligations after it is granted. Some forummers call it the 'no strings attached' visa ;P which makes it more value-for-money, since both the 189 and 190 costs the same upon lodgement
  • The requirements for English Language ability and work experience can be significantly more stringent for certain state-nominated occupations. For example, to be nominated by Victoria as an Accountant, the minimum IELTS requirement is 7.0 for each band and 3 years managerial experience in a large international firm.
  • For 190 you are required to apply for nomination directly to the respective State. An outcome for this may take an additional 2 to 3 months.
Subclass 189 = no strings attached?

Why should you choose Subclass 190?
  • If you really need the additional 5 points that comes with a successful state nomination
  • This is the only viable option if your skill/occupation is not on the main SOL but on the State's SOL. For links to the individual State websites refer to here. Of course you can also check out the employer nomination route (though most of the time foreigners will only be granted the temporary work visa 457, not the permanent visa 187)
  • If the state accepts your application and nominates you, then you will definitely get an invite to lodge your PR (after you submit your EOI and your state department communicates with DIAC). For 189 you may have to wait some time before you are invited
  • The processing time for 190 is generally faster than 189 as it is of a higher priority. I'm not sure if this makes a real difference at present, because DIAC is processing the 189 in 2 - 4 months on average in 2013 so far
Can you express interest (ie submit an EOI) for both subclasses?
YES! When you submit an EOI there is a page where you can 'tick' the subclass you are submitting an expression of interest for. On that page you can check both boxes (and other visa subclasses that you are interested/eligible for). Submitting an EOI is FOC anyway.
There is no 'better' option - it really depends on your circumstances.
Which is better for you?

After reading all of the above, you should have made up your mind by now, based on your own circumstances. If you haven't, you are likely to be eligible for both, in which case you can (and probably should) submit an EOI for both subclasses, and see which one gets you an invite first.

The next step would be to go for your medical clearance, which I've covered in Chapter 7.

- A


  1. Hi, am a fellow educator with plans to migrate too. However, would like to keep my job till we are sure of the outcome of the PR application. But since we need MOE HR's combined statement for skill assessment, any advice on how we can request for it for submission to Australia side without letting the cat out of the bag. It'll be terrible if HR informs the schools of our intention and our application for PR is rejected.

    1. Hi Mojo,

      Regarding your fear that MOE HR inform school --> PR rejected, this is very highly unlikely and pretty far-fetched IMO. What right does your school/MOE have to stop you from pursuing your aspirations when you're not doing anything wrong?

      To clarify, before you are eligible to migrate, you need to complete your skills assessment and get a positive outcome first. For skills assessment you are not dealing with DIAC (Immigration) yet - in fact you are only dealing with AITSL, the skills assessment authority. When you contact MOE HR for the statement you can simply let them know that you are applying for a skills assessment because you would like your teaching skills to be recognised in Australia. You need not mention migration at this point. Your concern at this point is not that MOE will ask you why you are doing what you are doing - the challenge is to actually get MOE HR to respond and produce this statement for you!

      As for the "would like to keep your job till you are sure of the outcome", of course you can. Many migrants resign from their jobs after they are granted their permanent visas as it is more prudent.

      I will end by re-stating a fact - you can't have your cake and eat it. Yes, MOE may inform your school P of your request for an employment statement and your P/HOD may approach you for your reasons in doing so. If you need your P/HOD's support / as a character reference for your future job in Oz, you cannot realistically expect to keep your migration plans and eventual resignation from the school a secret. Apologies if this sounds harsh or is not what you wanted to hear - but it's the truth nonetheless.

      All the best,

  2. My 176 visa (now known as 190 visa) did not have the condition that I have to spend first 2 years in the state that sponsored my visa.

  3. What A was trying to say is that it's at least two years cumulatively in the nominated state within the first five year period. Not the "first 2 years" per se. So there's a pretty large degree of flexibility, unless one leaves the final move to Australia to the very last minute - ensuring that he or she has to stay in his sponsored state.

    This holds for the PR visa in general as well (except that it's at least 2 years in Oz as a whole).

    Where are you living now? :)

    - S

  4. I hold VISA 175. Since DIAC has stopped issuing VISA 175, I would advise new applicant to go for VISA 189, which is the closest equivalent. After all, for the same processing fee, it makes obvious sense to apply for VISA 189.

    Seriously, I don't see the logic why anyone would even apply for VISA 190 (or VISA 176 in the past). Why limit yourself when you can bargain for the better?

    To: Ray,

    No, it is not first 2 years. You need to fulfil the followings:

    1. You need to make your first entry (at least 1 day in Australia) within the 1st year from the date you are granted your VISA 176.

    2. Within your 5-year VISA, you must clock 24 months in cumulative manner. Not consecutive.

    3. Your last 3 months must be in Australia i.e. your 22nd, 23rd and 24th month.

    4. If you fail any of the above, you cannot renew your VISA.
    When you renew your VISA 176, you will be granted VISA 190, with respect to the new VISA guideline.

    The above criteria also applies to VISA 175. Likewise, the renewal of VISA 175 is VISA 189.

    Note: If you fulfilled 4 years (more accurately 48 months), you are ELIGIBLE to apply for Australian Citizenship.

  5. It was mentioned as 2 years upon arrival in the website of my state sponsorship but it didn't specifically mention arrival at the sponsored state or any other Australian state but my migration agent did mention that it was first 2 years.

    176 visa may be more suitable for older applicants whom may have IELTS or age issue but waiting time for visa grant is very much shorter (1-3 mths) and chances of visa grant will be higher as it is state sponsored.

    Renewal of any PR visa will be RRV 155 visa irregardless of previously holding 175 (189) visa or 176 (190) visa.

    I will be relocating to Australia soon as my wife has started working there which she got the job before going over.

  6. Hi, I am applying as an Accountant to Australia. My point can range from 55-60 so I am wondering which kind of visa should I apply (189 or 190). If I ask NSW to sponsor to add 5 more points in case I get only 55 points, can I still choose 189 at the same time? The reason I want to choose both subclasses is getting SS may take at least 3 month and by that time maybe I can reach 60 pts. I am afraid that NSW may think that I play with them although I insist to settle down only in Sydney.

    1. Hi anhlinh86,

      In your case, clearly 189 doesn't work. But no harm applying for both. And since you are allowed to apply for both (pointless in your case), they will not "think" that you "play with them".

      To them you are just a case serial number. Nothing more.

      Since you "insist to settle down only in Sydney", there's really no dilemma for you! ;)


  7. Hi Mr A and S,

    I wanted to write a private email to you guys but I cant seem to find your email anyway.

    Anyway, thank you for your wonderful sharing. I have just submitted my Skills Assessment to AITSL and I am really counting down. If my visa is granted, I would definitely love to track you down in Melbourne and blanja you a nice meal (if you don't mind :) )

    Anyway, can I suggest that, if it is possible, you do a sharing on the "moving" aspect of migration? On the moving of furniture, clothes, household items? Is it expensive and did you choose shipping or freight?

    Would love to hear from you soon on this and would definitely love to meet you in Melbourne some day, some time :)

    1. Hi AT. If you want to do Facebook or whatever, you can always leave your email in a comment, and put DO NOT PUBLISH. We've linked up with a few readers this way already.

      We will add sincere commenters/readers like yourself, for sure!

      I'm not sure we could have been of enough help to deserve a nice meal... But maybe we could meetup and do a potluck or something, we sure wouldn't mind.

      I could and should do a post on the moving aspect. But I'm just going to do a quick reply to you first.

      - We don't have that much for a couple who have been married for 6 years now (and had our own place from the beginning). Not bringing any furniture at all, and gave away/sold/disposed of as many things as we could.

      - Jetstar allows 40kg checked baggage for economy class. We bought that. That totals 100kg for us including the 10kg hand carried each.

      - We are using Seven Seas shipping as recommended in one of the Melbourne SG FB groups. The URL to this private group was posted in another of our posts by an anonymous commenter. Not sure how this works so I dare not comment about it yet. But their rates seem better than Singpost and they deliver empty boxes to your doorstep, then collect the filled boxes. They only charge for boxes which are actually filled (or damaged. So must keep the unused ones properly to return them)

      they also do doorstep delivery at destination.

      Sounds good on paper. So we went with that, and the empty boxes are arriving tomorrow. I hope we can do useful coverage on the full process for readers like you :)


  8. Hi, A and S,

    I'm also a teacher at a local school. I believe I can apply for visa 189. What about my husband, does he need any visa ? We are not going to use his skill as it is not listed in the Sol. If successful when we get to Australia can he work instead of me? We have two young kids and I plan to stay home .

    1. Hi Ma,

      As mentioned earlier in this blog post by A:

      "Family members can be added in the application of both visa types (family members will be known as secondary applicants). The benefits of being a PR (Medicare, domestic rates for further studies etc) apply to visa holders of both subclasses as well."

      That answers the first question you have. I am a "secondary applicant" and there is NO difference between Pri and Sec applicants in the eyes of the Aussie Government or employers. Same rights and privileges.

      The interesting thing about the Skilled Migration programme is that it does not require successful applicants to work in the line they applied as. I.e. you can do whatever you want for work, including not work for the rest of your life. Your husband has that right too.

      A does not intend to become a teacher here, for the time being. Basically, Australia welcomes you, then lets you do mostly whatever you feel like, within the law. It's not as "free" as the USA IMHO, but I'm perfectly happy with the level of freedom, and have come to terms with restrictions like the draconian speed limits and speed enforcement..

      I wish you and your family all the best in your migration journey!


  9. Hi S & A,

    Thanks for providing such an informative blog. I am in the process of applying for the visa and was reading through the documents checklist online. Can I just ask who we can approach to certify our documents (e.g. passport, etc) required for the visa application?

    Appreciate your kind sharing. Thanks!


    1. Hi anon,

      You are welcome, the answer to your question is in Migration Chapter 4.


  10. Hi..

    I have lodged my visa today. I am just quite puzzled over the uploading of documents. Do I do it now? or after a CO is assigned to me and do it need to get it certify?

  11. Hi there,

    Think you should re-read some of the earlier posts, we have answered this question before.


  12. Hi S&A!!

    Great blog you have here, really appreciate what you're sharing with us.

    I am at an impasse.. I have 55 points now, Points: Age - 30; Education - 15; IELTS - 10.

    My current field is in accounting, but i've worked for less than 2 years and so I can't claim work experience. Looking through the state nominated lists to possibly apply for the 190, they have more stringent requirements than the 189 like you said.

    Any ideas where I can scrounge up 5 points to get 60? I have a relative who is in Adelaide, but that would mean the 489, going that route would probably get me into OZ. How would you compare the 489 visa with the PR visas?

    Would love to hear from you.

    Thanks and Best Regards!

    1. Hi Brandon,

      If I were you, I would try for 20 points for IELTS. That's the easiest way to go based on the info you have shared.

      If you apply for the 489 you need to be prepared to live and work in the regional areas. I have no experience in working or living in regional Australia, frankly. Having travelled to the regional areas quite a bit, I must say I'm not for that option for us because of the much greater bush fires risk in the regional areas.

      If you can claim 30 points for age it means you are still relatively young. You could also consider furthering your studies in Oz, live here for a few years and explore more options from there.

      All the best!
      - A

    2. Hi A,

      I was thinking the same thing for the IELTS, but was hoping you might have an alternative. It might be the only way for me to get the 189 though. Further studies there would be too costly - 2/3 years without income, the expenses will drain us, no I do not even have enough moolah to do this.

      Been thinking over the weekend, regarding the 489, if I am able to get this and go over to Oz, I will be able to convert to PR right? The probelm is that I am not sure if employers will differentiate between the 489 and the 189/190 visa. Also I know you've mentioned that there is no need to work in the nominated occupation, but I am uncertain about this requirement for the 489. All in all, I will be submitting my documents for CPA Australia to vet soon.

      I am dying to go over, everyday I am finding this island more and more stifling.

      Wish me luck!

    3. Hello again Brandon,

      For me between 189 and 489 it's a no-brainer: I'll definitely apply for the 189 if I can and re-take IELTS if I were you. Any visa that requires working or living in the regional areas is just rather inflexible and far from ideal IMHO. Not to mention 189 is a PR visa which entitles you to Medicare and other PR privileges immediately, and these privileges are not available to temporary visa holders like 489 and 457.

      If you do apply for and be granted the 489, I believe you can be eligible to apply for a Permanent resident pathway in about 2 years, if they haven't changed the policy then. That's a risk you will have to take if you choose to apply for a temporary visa now. Pros and cons I suppose depending on your circumstances.

      As for working in the nominated occupation for 489, I'm certain you don't necessarily have to, but you should read up the details and not quote me. It doesn't make sense for the state to 'make' you work in your nominated occupation if your relative is going to sponsor you right...?

      Yeah I do know what you mean by the little island being stifling. Wishing you all the best and hope you manage to 'escape' before the haze worse than last year hits the sunny island later in the year.


  13. Hi, hope you can advise me on this. I have just taken my IELTS and want to apply for SA state sponsorship. For VETASSES, do I need to give them employment evidence for the last 5 years only or the last 10 years?

    Also, I graduated Management Acctg Bachelors degree but my work experiences are IT Business Development/Sales, will I lose points on the academic qualification considering my course is different than my work experience?

  14. Hi A and S

    Wonderful blog you have got! Thanks for all the sharing. We are a Singaporean couple (MOE teachers) and we are planning on a move to Canada which is really far less complicated than Aussie.

    We have collated all documents as required but have problem with one thing. We need to get a certificate of employment from MOE, certifying our job title, work experience, specific JD, annual income... etc. We have gotten annual statement, but I understand that MOE's COE is a generic type out. As requested by the embassy, we will need to have specific JDs (I know the complexities of our job means we literally do not have a JD) in the COE. Hence, Hub and I have typed out a generic format, thing is, should we get it endorsed by MOE HR or the P?

    MOE HR really isn't very friendly about this. In fact, the whole department really frustrates people. How did you get yours to send a letter to Aussie!?!? Did they really do it for you??? Can you advise on how we should deal with MOE HR regarding this matter?

    1. Ah great to hear. Not sure of the details, I'll get A on this. Offhand I'd say get your P to endorse it, but hold your horses before A checks in. And IIRC they did not have to send anything to Oz for us.

      If you like to do a guest article about migrating to Canada, pls leave your contact in a comment (which we won't publish!).. Or if you were to start your own blog on that, I'd be waiting eagerly to read it!


    2. Hi there. You can draft the letter with your JD and get your P to endorse, then see if the Canadian side accepts the document. Try to print the letter on a school letterhead. Offhand I'm guessing you just need to ensure whatever you write is 100% true and verifiable (ie if asked, you HOD/P can tell the Canadian authorities what constitutes your daily work) and it should be fine. You can try MOE HR too, but I doubt they will be willing to produce a JD for you unless you know someone (pretty high up in HQ/MOE HR) personally. Alternatively you could search for MOE recruitment websites and try your luck at looking for the attributes and responsibilities that MOE General Education Officers should have.

      It's no surprise that you find HQ frustrating, really. But then one must understand that when the organisation is so large (MOE alone makes up more than 50% of the Singapore Civil Service) and the general turnover of the entire organisation is so high, there's a lot of work for HR people to do. So you can't expect them to entertain 'unconventional' requests unless they have no choice... :P

      For me, I did not have to send a JD for skills assessment. Fortunately, the Australian teaching Institute knows how complex the job is and how pointless it is to ask for a JD of a teacher. Lol.

      All the best,

  15. Many thanks for your reply! Yes I will start a blog on this very soon, and it will include a step- by- step guide on the migration process that we went through for enthusiastic individuals who are interested to join us. But we are abit caught- up at the moment. I am more than willing to submit a guest post, but LMAO, the whole application process to Canada will take a good 9 to 12mo, which means we will probably be in Canada by the fall of 2015. Will definitely post here if all goes well.

    You guys have indeed inspired many others in your pursuit of happiness. Keep it going! All the best!

  16. Hi, I am planning to apply for Australian PR under sec 189/190. I have a small doubt: I have total of 3 years work experience as a Software Engineer from 2 companies in India but according to the new rules I will not be able to claim any points for 3 year work experience.
    In such a case, Should I submit employment reference letter from both companies or is it enough if I submit letter from my current employer to ACS for skills assessment. The reason I ask this is because I am not able to get the letter from my previous company. Appreciate your help.

    1. You did not explain yourself properly.
      How many years of closely related work experience you have from your current company? Minimum 3 years? Is it in Singapore? If yes then no problem.

    2. Hi Manju

      From what I understand you may be able to submit a statutory declaration for the employment that you are not able to get a statement of service from. Check with your skills assessing authority. You can supply other official evidence such as appointment letter/ contract/ official payslips etc to prove that you worked for your previous company.

      All the best!

    3. Statutory declaration should only be used for ex company which had closed down and no longer exist.

  17. hi, i am a primary school teacher in a local school, teaching PE and english. i am considering migrating to Aussie. But i notice for SOL, they only listed pre-pri and sec sch teachers. does that mean Aussie do not accept pri sch teachers under skilled indpt and that my application is unlikely to succeed? hope for your advice soon.. thanks!

  18. Hi I have been given a particular state in aus sub class 190. Do I have to live in that state? What if I get a job offer in another state. Can I put my kids in school in the state that I have been offered a job or do I have to live without a job in the state that they have offered for 2 years.

    1. You are supposed to. But I have not heard of anyone "checking" or "catching". Make of that what you will.

      Any job is better than none. Your first priority is getting a job. And if you really can't find a job in the nominated state, then definitely you are free to go back to sg, go to another country, or perhaps preferably, go to another state where you can get a job.

      You can always 'serve' the two years at a later date... :x Or should I say you'd be supposed to.

      but I'm sure it's NOT the case that you can't work in other states at all...


  19. Hi Anon who left their email.

    No we won't have any idea whether your ITE teaching qualifications are recognised, but it's good that you are proactive and went to ask AITSL yourself. Hope the answer is yes!


  20. Hi there!
    I would like to ask since my occupation is not listed on the skilled occupation list but my wife's occupation is listed, can she be the one to apply and i will be under the 'Family members can be added in the application of both visa types (family members will be known as secondary applicants). Meaning i will get the visa too?

    1. Hey mate, how do you think I got here? ;)


  21. Hello

    Just want to share on my experience. I felt so stupid not considering the 190 earlier. Not because I didn't want but because I so blur never look elsewhere other than 189. I had 55 points all along since I considered migration. I can claim 5 points for professional year but I think it's pricey and time consuming. Anyway I tried to retake IELTS to boost my score but in the end still got the same minimum score (7) because I totally fucked up my speaking. My score was 9,8,8,7 and I was like what the ****...nvm. I can't remember how but I end up checking out 190 then figure out this could be it.

    I submitted an EOI for 190 asking for NSW nomination. I thought it could take forever since NSW Trade and Investment website said that there is no specific timeframe for issuing invites. I got the invite within 2 DAYS. TWO DAYS. OMG I can't believe it. Most people take about a month or two to get invited, based on stalking on the forums and such...But it isn't the best part yet.

    I submitted an application for NSW nomination that very day at 11:54pm (300 AUD, but what the heck I don't want to retake IELTS again). NSW Trade and Investment did say on their website and in their email that they'll take 12 weeks to finalize. My application was approved the NEXT MORNING. It took them a grand total of 10 HOURS to respond with an outcome and received an invite to apply for 190. My first reaction was WTF IS THIS SORCERY I TOTALLY CAN'T BELIEVE IT. If NSW T&I contacts me again, I feel like telling them "You guys are bloody shit awesome and more efficient than the SG govt (I work for the SG civil service, non-teacher)"

    Anyway I applied for the 190 visa. It will be approved provided that there are no hiccups. *Cries in joy*

  22. Thanks for writing this blog. It has definitely provided a wealth of information for many of us who intend to move across.

    I am applying for an internal transfer to the partner firm in Sydney and applying for the 457 visa seems to be the route I am taking. The recruiter mentioned that I could apply for PR if I wanted when my visa expires.

    Is there a reason why the 457 visa was not mentioned?

    1. Hi Tidepast. 457 is for people who want to work in Oz. Not migrate.

      PR is still gonna be 189/190 and maybe some other number I'm not familiar with now. 457 was simply not relevant to us while we were migrating.

      Good question though!


  23. Hi, Could anyone help with my below query. Thanks.
    I have over all 65 points
    30 points – Age 32
    10 points - PTE 65+
    15 points – 5.5 years as Software Engineer (ACS confirmed)
    Just FYI. Also currently im living at NSW – Sydney for around 11 months (since Dec 2014)
    I am just want to know which of the below option is the best one, as I want to go with the high hand option.
    Option 1 – Apply 189 visa with 65 points
    Option 2 – Apply 190 visa with 70 points, say for NSW - Sydney

  24. Hi, did you have to send them physical certified copies of documents you scanned and attached in your visa application?