Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 or Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Class PE Subclass 494 visa (SESR visa): Who can apply
The Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa replaced the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 visa.
There are 2 streams in the Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa, Employer Sponsored and Labour Agreement.
The benefits of the Skilled Employer Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 visa are:
- priority processing
- apply for permanent residence without needing further nomination – through the new Subclass 191 visa (starting 16 November 2022)
- lower cost for your employer with only 1 SAF levy for the nomination compared to 2 stages for Subclass 482 to Subclass 186 TRT pathway
- broader range of occupations available compared to non-regional pathways
- 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)
- 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.
The Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa requires you to be under 45, to have a job offer and be sponsored by the company. Your sponsor must offer you a genuine full-time position that is likely to last for at least 5 years with the possibility of an extension. See LIN 19/219 for the list of eligible occupations.
You can lodge your visa application at the same time as your sponsor lodged the nomination application (and the sponsorship application). But the nomination application must be approved before your visa applicant can be approved. However, the sponsorship application (if not already approved) must be lodged before lodging the nomination application. Your visa application can only be lodged after the nomination application is lodged.
Your sponsor cannot ask you to work from more than 1 location unless you will be employed as a CEO (ANZSCO 111111) or Corporate General Manager (ANZSCO 111211) or a medical practitioner (ANZSCO 253111) or any of the specialist medical occupation (click here to learn more).
If you are in Australia and you wish to apply for the Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa but your current visa has a “no further stay” condition, you can ask the Department of Immigration (Department of Home Affairs) to remove this condition if you have a genuine intention to apply for the visa.
Much should I be paid?
If you are not granted a Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa under the Labour Agreement stream, your employer has a sponsorship obligation to pay you an annual market salary not less than what they pay an Australian worker doing the same work at the same location.
Your employer has to pay you an annual salary, excluding non-monetary benefits, equal or more than the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT) of $53,900, and must not be less than the annual market salary for your occupation.
How to prevent visa cancellation
If you stopped working for your sponsor, you will have 90 days to find another company to sponsor and nominate you for the same occupation in a designated regional area, otherwise the Department of Immigration may cancel your visa.
You should also note that the Department of Immigration may cancel your Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa if you do not have a genuine intention to perform the nominated occupation or you stopped to have a genuine intention to perform your occupation, or the position for which you was granted the visa is not a genuine position, for example, you or your relative sponsored you.
If you are granted a Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 visa, visa condition 8570 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 Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa 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 8570. 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.
Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa is a temporary or provisional visa valid for 5 years. However, 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 Sponsored Subclass 494 Work visa for at least 3 years, earned a specified minimum 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.
Your skills should be assessed as suitable by the relevant assessing agency for your nominated occupation.
Skills assessment cannot be for an application for a Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa (click here to learn more).
Exemption for Skill, Age and English requirements – please see LIN 19/216:
Age exemption (ie over 45) applies for:
- academic applicants
- regional medical practitioner applicants
- science applicants
- Subclass 444 / 461 workers
- Subclass 457 / 482 workers
Skills and employment history exemption applies for:
- academic applicants
- Subclass 444/461 Workers
Applying for the visa
You can be in or outside Australia when applying for a Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa. 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.
Including family members
You can include members of your family in a combined visa application or after your Regional Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa has been granted. Their visa is valid for 5 years from the date of your own visa grant.
If you are in Australia when you apply for this visa, you may be granted a bridging visa to allow you to stay in the country until your application is finalised (click here to learn more about bridging visa).
During the COVID-19 Pandemic the Department will prioritise your visa application if your occupation is in the PMSOL (click here to learn more).
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 Sponsored Subclass 494 work visa (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.