Skilled Work Regional Visa (491/494 Visa) - SBS


[Talk Talk S Pod] Information for the ‘Skilled Work Regional Visa’


On 16 November 2019, the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) superseded the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489). Although most of the basic eligibility requirements are the same, there are a few favourable changes including: 

1. an increased number of eligible occupations when an applicant is nominated by a state or territory government, 

2. an increase in points awarded for singles (10 points), English competency in partners (5 points) and state nomination (10 to 15 points),  

3. an increased visa validity period from 4 to 5 years and

4. visa holders are now eligible for Medicare. 

However, in order to be eligible to apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191), 491 visa holders must demonstrate that they have lived and worked in regional Australia for at least 3 years instead of 2 years. Also, there may be additional requirements depending on the state or territory such as minimum financial capacity requirements and minimum employment period.

It is crucial for subclass 491 visa holders to prove that they have not contravened the conditions of the visa such as the minimum years working in a regional area and the minimum taxable income set by the Department of Home Affairs. There is no requirement that the visa holders must live in the same regional area of a sponsoring state or territory. However, if someone reports to the Department of Home affairs that they have relocated to another regional area in a different state or territory, their visas may be cancelled, except in special circumstances which they can make a case for.


Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) v. Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)

As the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) superseded the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa at the same time, some who do not want to live and work in a regional area may want to apply directly for the existing Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) for permanent residency. However, similar to the subclass 491 visa, the subclass 190 visa is also a points-based visa, requiring an applicant’s occupation to be on the list of eligible skilled occupations of a state or territory, and minimum eligibility requirements vary depending on the state or territory. Also, there is no condition that a visa holder must live in a sponsoring state for at least 2 years. However, a visa holder who does not do so may be in a disadvantageous position when sponsoring his or her partner visa or applying for citizenship later down the road because the Department of Home Affairs may deem such an applicant as not having a genuine intention to migrate to a sponsoring state.

The new changes in the visa schemes for regional migration can be a mixed blessing for those who want to get permanent residency in Australia. Consult experienced professionals for more information prior to applying for these visas.




Welcome to Talk Talk S Pod with Producer Tae Kyung Hong! Essential information on living in Australia will be explained in an easy and fun way here.


Talk Talk S Pod listeners, it is time to find out essential information that you all have been curious about, on living and settling down in Australia. Today we will be discussing the ‘Skilled Work Regional Visa’. This is the fourth episode which will provide information on the basic necessities to live abroad.


There will be people who are curious about the new Skilled Work Regional Visa which will be introduced on 16 November. The existing 489 Visa will be cancelled from 10 September with applications for the 491 Visa beginning from 16 November. As it has become difficult to obtain a skilled visa in large cities such as Sydney or Melbourne, more people have become interested in this visa.


Let us ask Sydney-based lawyer John Kim from H & H Lawyers about the 491 Visa and what conditions and requirements must be met.


Let us briefly discuss the 491 Visa before moving on.


Lawyer Jinhan Kim:

  • The regional visa program currently has 25,000 spots allocated. Since last weekend, the Department of Immigration has begun to implement the regional 491/494 Visa.
  • The basic application requirements and scoring system of the regional 489 Visa are similar. Individuals under the age of 45 must obtain at least 65 points from the score system table. State sponsored individuals or individuals over the age of 18 living in regional areas must receive sponsorship from a relative and receive technical review from designated occupational groups.
  • Relatives include parents, siblings, uncles/aunts and their children (‘family unit’). In respect to sponsorship for relatives, although the list of occupational groups should be included in the existing mid to long term occupation groups, in the case of state sponsored individuals, the number of occupation groups that can be applied for has increased generally. However, you must check the list of occupations separately.
  • Under the new scoring system, applicants without a spouse will receive an additional 10 bonus points, and those with a spouse that obtain ‘competent English (six points for each IELTS)’ in the English test will receive an additional 5 bonus points. In the case whereby the individual receives sponsorship from the state or a family member, the number of points received has increased from 10 to 15.
  • The approval period for the 491 Visa like the 489 Visa has increased from 4 to 5 years. Additionally, once the visa has been approved, you are able to apply for Medicare health insurance. The period in which you can apply for a permanent visa from the 489 Visa was 2 years. However, you now must wait 3 years when applying for the 191 Permanent Visa from the 491 Visa. The Department of Immigration has increased the number of occupations. However, the period in which individuals must reside in regional areas has increased as well. For each state, there may be additional requirements for state sponsorships.
  • For example, Victoria requires a minimum investment. However, if you are already working in Australia you must provide $20,000 AUD and if you apply outside of Australia, depending on your family structure, the required amount may increase. However, you must provide a minimum of $30,000 AUD. You will also need to provide evidence that you are employed in the specific region and require evidence of a job offer or employment contract from an employer for a period of 12 months or more.
  • There will be some states that are not prepared for the 491 Visa, so please check the respective websites for each state to see whether there are any additional requirements for the visa application.


Additional Consultation Details

Moderator: So, this would mean that for the 491 Visa, immigrants who receive invitations from local government sponsors have to reside in the region and work for 3 years. In order to obtain a 191 Permanent Visa, are there any differences from the pre-existing visa?


Jinhan: There is a regional 494 Visa that is being introduced in November, which is not a skilled visa but is slightly different as it is a regional employer sponsored visa. 


Moderator: We will explore the 494 Visa in more detail at a later stage. In addition to the 491 State-sponsored Skilled Regional Visa, there is the 190 Visa whereby you can obtain permanent residency. For those that have resided in regional areas for 3 years and have been struggling to find work, what requirements must they meet in order to obtain permanent residency through the 190 visa? Through the 190 Visa, they would obtain the permanent residency straight away and reside in the specific region, are there any conditions in relation to that?


Click ‘Listen to the audio of the Talk Talk SPod podcast’ to hear the full conversation.


Jinhan: Since the 16th we have examined the application requirements and methods for applying for the Skilled Regional Visa.


Now that it is difficult to obtain a skilled migrant visa in the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane regions, those that prepared for the skilled visa may consider moving to regional areas. You must check each state government website to identify which occupation matches your academic scoring and technical assessment.


Further, NSW and ACT have announced they will be administering invitations from January next year instead of issuing state-administered nominations. If you are thinking of applying for the regional skilled visa, you will need to look at the relevant website and plan ahead. I wish all the listeners preparing for the skilled migrant visa a smooth settlement in Australia.


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