Skilled Regional Visa Subclass 491

Table of Contents

What is a 491 visa?

A subclass 491 visa is a provisional visa that allows the holder of the visa to live, work, and study in the regional area.

What can a 491 visa holder do?

A subclass 491 visa holder can live, work, and study in Australia for 5 years in a designated regional area and travel in and out of Australia multiple times.

Does a 491 visa lead to an Australian Permanent Residency (PR)?

A subclass 491 visa holder can apply for Australian PR through a Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after 3 years provided; they satisfy all 491 visa conditions.

Are you eligible for Medicare on a 491 Visa?

Yes, a 491 visa holder is eligible for Medicare thus reducing the cost of private health insurance.

How to apply for a 491 Visa?

Steps to apply for a 491 Visa.

The following steps need to be followed to apply for a 491 visa.

  1. Apply for an EOI (Expression of Interest) using the skill-select system of the Department of Home Affairs. Some states may require an ROI (Registration of Interest) after an applicant lodges an EOI.
  2. Once you receive an invitation to apply for visas, applicants apply for a subclass 491 visa.

Types of 491 Visa Invitations

An applicant can lodge an EOI for a 491 visa in the following 2 ways:

  1. State Nomination: In this, the prospective 491 applicant lodges an EOI for a particular state depending on their eligibility and circumstances and then waits for an invitation from the state.
  2. Family Sponsored: A prospective applicant for a 491 visa can also lodge an EOI for family-sponsored 491 visas. To be eligible for the invitation from the federal government, an eligible sponsor must be living in the designated regional area.

Who is an eligible sponsor for a family-sponsored 491 visa?

An eligible sponsor or eligible relative for a family-sponsored subclass 491 visa is one of the following persons who are living in the designated regional area.

  • a parent
  • a child or stepchild
  • a brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, stepbrother, or stepsister
  • an aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step-aunt, or step-uncle
  • a nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step-nephew, or step-niece
  • a grandparent, or
  • a first cousin

The sponsorship must have been approved before the 491 visa is granted.

What is a designated regional area for a 491 visa?

As of 31st January 2024, the following postcodes fall in the designated regional area for visa 491.

New South Wales (NSW) 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 2259, 2264 to 2308, 2500 to 2526, 2528 to 2535 and 2574
Regional centres and other regional areas 2250 to 2258, 2260 to 2263, 2311 to 2490, 2527, 2536 to 2551, 2575 to 2739, 2753 to 2754, 2756 to 2758 and 2773 to 2898

Victoria 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 3211 to 3232, 3235, 3240, 3328, 3330 to 3333, 3340 and 3342
Regional centres and other regional areas 3097 to 3099, 3139, 3233 to 3234, 3236 to 3239, 3241 to 3325, 3329, 3334, 3341, 3345 to 3424, 3430 to 3799, 3809 to 3909, 3912 to 3971 and 3978 to 3996

 

Queensland 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 4019 to 4022*, 4025*, 4037*, 4074*, 4076 to 4078*, 4207 to 4275, 4300 to 4301*, 4303 to 4305*, 4500 to 4506*, 4508 to 4512*, 4514 to 4516*, 4517 to 4519, 4521*, 4550 to 4551, 4553 to 4562, 4564 to 4569 and 4571 to 4575
Regional centres and other regional areas 4124, 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4280 to 4287, 4306 to 4498, 4507, 4552, 4563, 4570 and 4580 to 4895

Western Australia (WA) 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 6000 to 6038, 6050 to 6083, 6090 to 6182, 6208 to 6211, 6214 and 6556 to 6558
Regional centres and other regional areas All postcodes in Western Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above

 

South Australia (SA) 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 5000 to 5171, 5173 to 5174, 5231 to 5235, 5240 to 5252, 5351 and 5950 to 5960
Regional centres and other regional areas All postcodes in South Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above

 

Tasmania 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres 7000, 7004 to 7026, 7030 to 7109, 7140 to 7151 and 7170 to 7177
Regional centres and other regional areas All postcodes in Tasmania not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above

 

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres All ACT
Regional centres and other regional areas None

 

Northern Territory 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres None
Regional centres and other regional areas All Northern territory

 

Norfolk Island 491 Visa Designated Regional Area Postcodes

Cities and major regional centres None
Regional centres and other regional areas All Norfolk Island

*Postcodes not applicable to visas granted before 5 March 2022.

How many points are needed to apply for a subclass 491 visa?

A prospective 491 applicant needs at least 65 points to be eligible for a 491 visa. These are the minimum points. Candidates will at most times require more points to get an invitation. 

How many extra points do I get for a 491 visa state nomination?

A prospective 491 applicant gets 15 extra points for state nomination for a 491 visa.

How many extra points do I get for a 491 visa Family Sponsored stream?

A prospective 491 applicant gets 15 extra points for a Family Sponsored stream for a subclass 491 visa.

What is the cut-off age for 491 visas?

A prospective 491 applicant must be under 45 years of age at the time of the invitation. Applicants will still be able to apply for a 491 visa if they turn 45 years of age after the invitation.

Do I need a skill assessment for a subclass 491 visa?

For the 491 visa application to be valid, an applicant must have a suitable skills assessment at the time of the invitation.

What are the English requirements for the 491 visas?

An applicant for the 491 Visa must have competent English at the time of the invitation.

IELTS 6 Band Each in all 4 components

TOEFL iBT accepted for tests taken on or before 25th July 2023: Listening: 12, Reading: 13, Writing: 21, Speaking: 18.

PTE Academic: At least 50 in all 4 components.

OET: At least b in all 4 components.

Cambridge C1 Advanced test: At least 169 in all 4 components.

Valid passport holders of the United States of America, The United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland are deemed to have competent English.

Which occupations can be nominated for a 491 Visa state-sponsored?

For a state nomination 491 Visa an occupation can be from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List also known as MLTSSL, Short-term Skilled Occupation List also known as STSOL, and Regional Occupation List also known as ROL.

Which occupations can be nominated for a 491 Visa Family sponsored?

For a family-sponsored 491 Visa, an occupation can only be nominated from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List also known as MLTSSL. To check the detailed list, click here.

Applicants for the subclass 491 provisional visa are also required to meet health and character requirements before they are granted a 491 visa.

491 Visa Processing time for Family Sponsored Stream 2024

50% of the 491 visas are processed in 9 months and 90% of the 491 visas in the family sponsored stream are processed in 19 months.

491 Visa Processing time for State/Territory Government Nomination Stream 2024

50% of the 491 visas are processed in 9 months and 90% of the 491 visas in the family sponsored stream are processed in 18 months.

491 Visa Cost 2024

Primary Applicant: AUD 4640

Additional Applicant Over 18 Years of Age: AUD 2320

Additional Applicant Under 18 Years of Age: AUD1160

Can I apply for a 491 visa if I get married?

If an applicant of a 491 visa gets married after they have been granted a 491 visa, they can lodge a subclass 491 subsequent entrant visa for their wife.

491 Visa Conditions

The following conditions are applicable after the grant of the 491 visas.

Condition 8578: Applicant must notify the following changes within 14 days.

  • the residential address.
  • email address
  • phone number
  • passport details including your name.
  • employer’s address.
  • address where you work.

Condition 8515: Must not marry or enter a de facto relationship before entry.

Condition 8579: The holder must only Live, study, and work in a regional area.

Condition 8580: Provide evidence of live, work, or study address if requested by the department.

Condition 8581: The holder of the 491 visa can be asked by the department to attend a phone, internet, or physical interview.

NEW

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

REPLACES

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.