The new 491 visa, Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa will enable eligible skilled workers and their families to live, work and study in designated regional areas of Australia for 5 years. Visa holders will be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residence visa after three years.
Applicants for this visa must be nominated by:
- an Australian state or territory government agency or
- sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area and be invited to apply for the visa, following submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect.
Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa will replace the current 489 visa and commences November 16, 2019. The 491 visa is a skilled and a points tested visa . It has a 45 year age limit and requires a positive skills assessment.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) – first provisional stream
The visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions, namely 8579 will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas. Visa holders can move between regional areas. Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas. You may work in any occupation and for any employer in line with the work and residence conditions attached to your visa.
Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist. Additionally, similar to current arrangements for the subclass 457 and 482 visa program, holders of the new provisional visas can be negatively impacted by sponsor non-compliance.
The new 491 visa permanent pathway will be:
- Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements. You must show earnings of at least $53,900 per annum for three years. Your partner can also be the main applicant for the 191 visa if they can demonstrate this criteria.