189 Visa Processing Time

189 Visa Processing Time

The Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) is a cornerstone of Australia’s immigration system, inviting skilled workers to apply for permanent residency based on their qualifications, work experience, and language proficiency, without the need for sponsorship by an employer, family member, or state or territory government. Given its popularity and the significant impact it has on applicants’ lives, understanding the processing time for the 189 visa is crucial for planning and managing expectations. This article delves into the factors affecting processing times, recent trends, and tips for ensuring a smoother application process.

Understanding the 189 Visa Processing Time

Processing times for the 189 visa can vary significantly based on various factors, including the number of applications, the completeness of the application, the need for additional information, and the complexity of the verification process. The Department of Home Affairs provides general processing timeframes, which are updated regularly based on the current application load and processing speeds.

New Zeland Stream

  • 50% of applications: are processed within 17 months.
  • 90% of applications: are processed within 27 months.

Points Tested Stream

  • 50% of applications: are processed within 12 months.
  • 90% of applications: are processed within 13 months.

Factors Influencing Processing Times

Several key factors can influence the processing time of your 189 visa application:

  • Application Volume: High demand can lead to longer waiting times.
  • Completeness of Application: Incomplete applications or those with errors can face delays.
  • Verification Requirements: The time it takes to verify employment, educational credentials, and background checks can vary.
  • Health and Character Checks: Depending on the applicant’s circumstances, these checks can extend the processing time.

Recent Trends in Processing Times

The global pandemic has had a notable impact on processing times for many visa categories, including the 189 visa. Travel restrictions, reduced staffing levels at processing centers, and the prioritization of certain visa applications (such as those related to critical sectors) have contributed to increased processing times. However, as the world gradually returns to normalcy, efforts are being made to reduce backlogs and improve processing speeds.

Tips for a Smoother Application Process

To ensure your application process is as smooth as possible and to potentially reduce waiting times, consider the following tips:

  • Ensure Completeness: Double-check your application for accuracy and completeness before submission.
  • Provide Detailed Documentation: Submit all required documents in the correct format to avoid requests for additional information.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on any changes in processing times or requirements by regularly checking the Department of Home Affairs website.
  • Consider Professional Help: If you’re unsure about any aspect of your application, consulting with a registered migration agent can provide clarity and peace of mind.


While the processing time for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) can vary widely, being well-prepared and understanding the factors at play can help manage expectations and improve the chances of a successful application. By staying informed and following the tips outlined above, applicants can navigate the process more effectively, bringing them one step closer to starting their new life in Australia.

How long does it take for the 189 visa to process?

For the most part, the 189 visa process can take anywhere from 12 to 27 months depending on the stream and the date of the application.

Disclaimer: The above information is a general guide and not professional immigration advice. Be aware that immigration laws and regulations can change swiftly, potentially rendering some or all of the information outdated. Thus, before using the information above, we recommend checking the current laws with assistance from a migration agent or the Department of Home Affairs website.