Q&A with Sam Hopwood around the 189 visa

interview-with-sam-hopwood-from-sable-international

ConsultANZ recently interviewed a local Australian Visa expert Sam Hopwood around the popular 189 visa.

Sam Hopwood is a Migration Agent at Sable International.

Q: What is a 189 visa and would you say that it is a popular route for South-Africans?

Sam: The subclass 189 visa is the preferred visa for most skilled professionals coming to Australia.

The visa is a permanent residency visa, meaning you and your family enter Australia as permanent residents and as such are afforded certain benefits, such as Medicare and schooling.

The subclass 189 allows you to live anywhere in Australia and work in any occupation, in any capacity you like.

For these reasons, it is referred to as a skilled “independent” visa as you are independent of any third party and own the rights to your visa.

Q: Who is eligible to get one and what are the benefits of having a 189 Visa?

Sam: The 189 visa is built mainly on the demand that your occupation has in Australia’s labour market.

The occupations in high demand appear on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skilled List (MLTSSL), the occupations on this list are eligible to migrate to Australia under the 189 visa, assuming they score sufficient points.

Points are scored on factors such as your age, experience and English language skills.

Please note that persons over the age of 45 cannot qualify for skilled migration.

Besides the benefits which come with being a permanent resident of Australia, the 189 visa offers freedom and flexibility.

Although the visa requires that you nominate an occupation that you are skilled in, it does not require that you work in that profession when you arrive in Australia.

When you arrive in Australia you can work in any job you like.

Q: How many points do I need to score in order to be eligible?

Sam: The minimum points required by law in order to be invited is 65 points.

However, the SkillSelect system is designed to offer an invitation to those applicants who have the most points.

In effect, this is a supply and demand system and the points required to obtain an invitation to apply will fluctuate depending on how many people have applied, how many points they score and how many invitations are available to be issued.

Although it is rare, it has been possible to receive an invitation with 70 points, more commonly invitations are given to applicants with 75 points or more.

Q: What are the associated costs and timeframes associated with getting one?

Sam: Each individual application will differ slightly in costs and time frames.

Generally speaking, though total costs start at $10,000 (AU$) and range upward depending on the number of dependent family members included in the application.

Time frames are roughly 6-12 months.

Q: Am I guaranteed to get one? If I don’t get my application approved what costs are involved?

Sam: Nothing is guaranteed in this world, including your visa application.

However, using a registered migration agent can help to eliminate the risks that might cause your visa application to fail.

After assessing your circumstances some registered migration agents can provide assurances of success or a refund of their fees.

Government fees are not refundable.

Q: What are the job prospects like when I get to Australia on a 189 visa?

Sam: Another benefit of the 189 visa is that employers do not need to spend time and money arranging a work visa for you.

As the 189 visa gives you full and unrestricted work rights the same as an Australian citizen you can compete in the local employment market for the same jobs.

For this reason, 189 visa holders will be at an advantage over temporary visa holders and other foreign citizens.

Depending what your current vocation is, the demand can be great for offshore skills and experience – for example the Civil Engineering and Construction sector is very buoyant and demand of suitably qualified and experienced professions will out strip the local supply – so chances of employment are very high if you are in this industry.

Q: How can Sable International assist with this process?

Sam: Sable International have offices in South Africa and Australia.

We employ registered migration agents and are responsible for the success of your visa application.

Our initial service includes a free consultation to assess your eligibility and advise on your best visa option.

Once we have identified a suitable migration pathway for you and your family we will provide a detailed quote and instructions.

We are your legal representation to the assessing authorities and the department of immigration throughout the whole process.

Q: Should I not be eligible for the 189 visa, what are the other visa routes / options that I might be eligible for?

Sam: There are many of different visa types and as part of our service we will identify what you qualify for and what suits your needs best.

These other options might include temporary visas which lead to permanent residence or permanent visas that require state sponsorship.

Q: How can I find out more information on this process and get in contact with Sable International?

Sam: To begin with please email info@consultanz.com.au with an up-to-date copy of your CV, in word format ideally.

ConsultANZ will forward your details to a consultant at Sable International who will be in touch with you to perform a free assessment and discuss your options.


If you are a Civil Engineer, a Construction Professional or a Surveyor who would like to be part of the infrastructure boom in Australia or New Zealand, register your CV here or search our jobs.

ConsultANZ Recruitment  –  We consult our Clients on their hiring needs and our Candidates on their career prospects.

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