Regional Visa Subclass 491 (Skilled Work)

Regional Visa Subclass 491
Work in regional area on a Skilled Work Regional visa

Regional Visa Subclass 491 Skilled Work or Skilled Work Regional Class PS Subclass 491 visa: Who and how to apply

You may be able to apply for a Regional Visa Subclass 491 Skilled Work visa if you are under 45, able and willing to work in regional or country Australia. You can also apply to Queensland government to nominate you for a subclass 491 under Small Business Owners scheme (click here to learn more).

Areas Locations Regional Incentives
Cities and major regional centres Perth; Adelaide; Gold Coast;
Sunshine Coast; Canberra;
Newcastle;
Lake Macquarie;
Wollongong; Illawarra; Geelong, Hobart
Access to 25,000 regional places.
Priority visa processing
Access to Regional Occupations Lists
International students studying in regional Universities access 1 extra year on post-study work visa
Regional centres and other regional areas All other locations Access to 25,000 regional places.
Priority visa processing
Access to Regional Occupations Lists
International students studying in regional Universities access 2 extra years on post-study work visa

Regional Visa Subclass 491 Skilled Work visa replaces the Skilled Regional Class SP Subclass 489 visa.

The benefits of the Regional Visa Subclass 491 visa are:

  1. priority processing
  2. apply for permanent residence without needing further nomination – through the new Subclass 191 visa (starting 16 November 2022)
  3. more points
  4. broader range of occupations available compared to non-regional pathways
  5. minimum taxable income is the same as the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently set at $53,900 (concessions available, eg English and TSMIT)
  6. there are currently 7 DAMA (5 years employer-sponsored Designated Area Migration Agreement) supporting regional growth (NT, Great South Coast Vic – skilled and semi-skilled, WA Goldfields – skilled and semi-skilled, Regional SA – covering the entire state of SA, Adelaide City Technology and Innovation Advancement – covering the Greater Adelaide planning region, Far North Qld, Orana NSW). Employees skills must be assessed by VETASSESS if their occupation is not on the eligible skills lists.

To be eligible for the Regional Visa Subclass 491 visa you must have a particular skilled occupation, competent English and is nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an over 18 relative who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible NZ citizen living in a designated regional area. In addition, you must be willing to live and work in regional Australia (visa condition 8579) and is invited by the Department of Immigration (Department of Home Affairs) to apply for the visa.

Regional Visa Subclass 491

Who can sponsor

The following members of your family can sponsor you for a Regional Visa Subclass 491:

  1. partner; or
  2. parent; or
  3. child (including step-child); or
  4. siblings (including adopted or step); or
  5. aunt or uncle (including adopted); or
  6. nephew or niece (including adopted or step); or
  7. grandparent; or
  8. first cousin.
Points required for Regional Visa Subclass 491

Do you have enough points?

Regional Visa Subclass 491 is a points-tested visa (click here to calculate your points) where the minimum points must be 65 (see LIN 19/210). In addition to the usual points, you may be able to obtain the following additional points:

  1. 15 points if you are nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member residing in regional Australia
  2. 10 points for having a partner (spouse or de facto partner) who has an accepted skill
  3. 10 points for having certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications
  4. 5 points for having a partner with competent English, for example, at least 6 in all of the 4 components in IELTS test
  5. 10 points if you are single (no partner)

If you are claiming points for partner, they must satisfy skills assessment and/or English language requirements at time of invitation. Partner must be able to satisfy the definition of spouse (as defined in section 5F) or a de facto (as defined in section 5CB). You should note that the relationship status is assessed at the date of the points test assessment by the decision maker. What this mean is that if your relationship status or your partner’s residence status changes after the date of invitation or the date of application, the award of partner points may also change. For example, if you are married or in a de facto relationship at the time of invitation, you will not be awarded points for being a single.

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Skills must be assessed

Your skills must be assessed as suitable by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation. Skills assessment cannot be for an application for a Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa (click here to learn more).

Before you can apply for a Regional Visa Subclass 491, you must first submit an Expression of Interest (EoI). And you must be invited to apply for the visa.

This is a temporary or provisional visa and is valid for 5 years. There is a PR pathway – Permanent Residence Skilled Regional Class PR Subclass 191 which will be opened for visa applications after 16 November 2022. You can apply for this permanent visa if you have held a Regional Visa Subclass 491 for at least 3 years, earned a minimum specified income for at least 3 years out of 5 years, or studied for at least 3 years in a designated regional area and have complied with your visa conditions. Members of your family can make a combined application for the permanent Subclass 191 visa. The Permanent Residence Subclass 191 visa replaces the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa. If you are granted this permanent visa, you can live anywhere in Australia without any restrictions.

You can be in or outside Australia when applying for a Regional Visa Subclass 491. If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a BVA or BVB or BVC. If you are in Australia and lodged a valid application for this visa, you will be granted a BVA allowing you to remain in Australia until your visa application is finalised.

If you are sponsored by your relative, your relative must assist you financially, for example, help you with accommodation and participating in English language classes provided under the Adult Migrant English program for 2 years.

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Including family members

You can include members of your family in a combined visa application or after your Regional Visa Subclass 491 has been granted. Their visa is valid for 5 years from the date of your own visa grant.

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Cannot live in City

If you are granted a Regional Visa Subclass 491, visa condition 8579 requires you to live, work and study only in a designated regional area. If you live in the city or outside the designated area, your visa may be cancelled. Furthermore, the Department of Immigration may not grant you another visa, including partner visa, if you do not comply substantially with your visa conditions for which your Regional Visa Subclass 491 was granted. You must comply with your visa conditions for at least 3 years before you can apply for another visa.

A designated area can any part of Australia other than Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth. If you live in 1 of these cities, the Department of Immigration can cancel your visa for not complying with visa condition 8579. However, this is a discretionary cancellation and the Department of Immigration will consider the extent of your compliance with other visa conditions, the degree of hardship the cancellation may cause you, whether there are extenuating circumstances, and any other relevant matters.

The visa conditions attached to Regional Visa Subclass 491 include:

  1. you must within 14 days notify the Department of Immigration of any change to your residential address, work address, contact number and passport details (condition 8578)
  2. you must live, work and study only in a designated regional area
  3. if required, you must within 28 days provide your residential, employer and work or school address (condition 8580)
  4. if required, you must attend an interview (condition 8581)

On making a valid application, you may be granted a Bridging Visa A with work rights.

If your family members are granted the Regional Visa Subclass 491, they can live, work and study in a different regional area so long as they are still in a designated regional area. Your family members may be eligible for Medicare. However, school age dependents may be required to pay international school fees (please check with the state or territory government).

To learn more about how you may lodge an expression of interest for a skilled visa – click here.

Australian migration law is complex and difficult to understand, contact our immigration lawyer for a free 15 minutes consultation to help you decide if you can apply for Regional Visa Subclass 491 (click here to find out how an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent can help you). You may also refer to our FAQs for answers regarding visa application or visa cancellation by clicking here.

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This article is not intended to be or taken as migration legal advice. The author of this article disclaims any liability for any action or omission on the information provided or not provided in this article. You should always consult an immigration lawyer or a registered migration agent to form an informed opinion on your immigration matter.

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