Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa
The Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa is a provisional General Skilled Migration visa which requires holders to live, work, and study in a regional area of Australia. Once certain residence requirements have been met, holders can apply for a permanent Regional visa.
In order to qualify for a Subclass 491 visa, you would need to:
- Be aged between 18 and 44 inclusive
- Have Competent English or higher, and their dependent family members over 18 years of age have at least Functional English
- Obtain a positive skill assessment in an occupation on the relevant Skilled occupation list
- For family sponsored applicants, this is the Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL)
- For State/Territory nominated applicants, this is the MLTSSL, the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL) and a State/Territory Occupations List
- Meet the pass mark in the skilled migration points test – currently 65.
- Lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the SkillSelect system, and be invited to apply
- Be nominated by a State or Territory Government, or have sponsorship from an eligible family member
- Meet health and character requirements
Once you are invited to apply for a skilled visa, you must lodge your application within 60 days, otherwise the invitation lapses. Accordingly, it is very important that you have all required documentation prepared to lodge as soon as possible after receiving the invitation.
Nomination By A State Or Territory Government
Each State and Territory Government publishes a list of occupations in short supply in their area. There may be specific requirements in terms of work experience, English language ability, or specialised skills which differ to the requirements for the Department of Immigration. It is very important to check the State/Territory requirements before commencing with an application.
Sponsorship From An Eligible Family Member
Applicants through the family sponsored pathway can only nominate occupations on the MLTSSL. The sponsor must be usually resident in a designated regional area of Australia, and be:
- At least 18 years of age
- An Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
- An eligible relative; including parents, children, siblings, aunt/uncle, nephew/niece, grandparent, or first cousin
Where Can I Be When I Apply?
You can either be in Australia or overseas when you apply for a Subclass 491 Visa.
In order to lodge from within Australia (i.e. onshore), you would need to hold a substantive visa or a Bridging A, B or C visa. Upon lodging an onshore application, you would automatically receive a bridging visa allowing you to remain in Australia during processing of your visa application.
Including Family Members
You can include the following types of family members in your application:
- Spouse or de facto partner (including same-sex relationships)
- Dependent children
It is possible to include partners and dependent children to a submitted application if for some reason they cannot be included at the time of lodgement.
Duration And Conditions
The visa is a provisional (temporary residence) visa, allowing applicants to remain in Australia for up to 5 years from the date of grant. Visa holders will have access to Medicare, as well as full work rights.
The Subclass 491 visa is subject to a condition requiring all visa holders to live, work, and study in regional Australia. Applicants through the State/Territory nominated stream would also be expected to reside in the State or Territory which nominated them for the visa.
If you are outside Australia when the visa is granted, you and your family members will need to enter Australia for the first time prior to expiry of your health and police clearances.
Conversion To Permanent Residency
It is possible to apply for a permanent Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after living and working in a regional area for at least 3 years. Applicants must meet certain income requirements, and be able to prove their residence in regional Australia for the 3-year period.
Applicants should also note that there are restrictions on applying for other permanent visas, such as the 189, 190, or 820 Partner visa until they have held the 494 for the three year period.