SkillSelect – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)
The Australian Government’s new 491 visa enables successful applicants to live, work and study in designated regional areas of Australia from November 16, 2019. It is designed for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. For migration purposes most locations of Australia outside major cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) are classed as designated regional areas. Perth and the Gold Coast are classed as regional areas.
If you’d like to apply for this visa, speak to one of our registered migration agents who will ensure that the process is completed correctly and eliminate any confusion. Call us today on (+61) 07 5592 0755. We also offer free initial consultation through our online visa assessment or in-person appointments.
Workers who are granted the 491 visa will be able to stay in Australia for 5 years from the date the visa is granted, be eligible to travel to and from Australia as many times as they like during that time, and the best part is they’ll be able to apply for permanent Australian residence from November 16, 2022.
As with all visa applications there are certain requirements that must be met. For the 491 visa these are:
- be nominated to apply by an Australian state or territory government agency, or an eligible relative must sponsor you
- have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list
- have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
- be invited to apply by the Australian Government
- satisfy the points test
- be a suitable age
Requirements of the SkillSelect – Skilled Work Regional Visa (Subclass 491)
There are two pathways to obtain this visa:
The Invited Pathway
the initial visa application whereby you are nominated by a state or territory or sponsored by an eligible family relative and invited to apply.
The Subsequent Entry Pathway
for member of the family unit of a person who holds a certain temporary regional visa to join them.
The Invited Pathway
Applicants for this visa must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) online in order to be invited to apply. Once you have been invited to apply, you must be able to satisfy the basic visa requirements to qualify for a visa in the General Skilled Migration program.
- Be nominated or sponsored – you must be either nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or indicate that you will be sponsored by an eligible relative. Submit an expression of interest (EOI) for the visa to get an estimate of your points score. If you score enough points, state and territory government agencies can see your EOI and might nominate you for the visa. If you indicate in your EOI that you will be sponsored by an eligible relative the Department may invite you to apply for a visa in an invitation round.
- Have a relevant occupation – you must have an occupation that is on a relevant skilled occupation list which can be found here.
- Have a suitable skills assessment – for your application to be valid, you must declare that you have a suitable skills assessment at time of invitation. You will need to provide a copy of this skills assessment with your application. Your skills assessment must have been obtained in the 3 years before the date of your invitation. If the assessment was for a shorter period, that period must not have passed.
- Be invited to apply – you can only apply for this visa if the Australian Government invites you to. We can help you submit an expression of interest (EOI) in SkillSelect to let them know you would like to apply for the visa.
- Satisfy the points test – the subclass 491 is a points-tested visa. When we submit your EOI in SkillSelect you will be given an indicative points score based on the claims made. If you do not obtain a score of 65 points you will not be invited to apply for this visa. If they do invite you to apply for the visa, your invitation will state the number of points that you must score when they assess your application for grant of the visa (this score may be higher than 65 points, depending on your claims in the EOI). This is Australia can help you submit your application and ensure that all evidence supporting your claims are included.
- Be a suitable age – you must be aged under 45 to be invited to apply for the 491 visa. You can still apply for the visa if you turn 45 after you are invited to apply. If you turn 45 after you submit your EOI but before you are invited, you will not receive an invite. Our migration team will assess your eligibility.
There are other health, English language, character and additional requirements that may apply to your application. We’ll make sure this is all covered for you.
The applicant (or their spouse) must be related to their eligible relative sponsor in the following way:
- Non-dependent child – including a natural, adoptive or step-child;
- Parent – including adoptive or step-parent;
- Brother or sister – including adoptive or step-siblings;
- Niece or nephew – including adoptive or step-niece or nephew; or
- Aunt or uncle – including adoptive or step-aunt or uncle;
- Grandparent or first cousin.
- include them when you lodge your visa application
- add a dependent child after you lodge, but before we decide on your application.
If your partner or dependent children are not included in this application, you must share the reason why (for example: they already hold Australian citizenship or are a permanent resident).
A member of This is Australia’s migration team will go over this with you.
SkillSelect Points Test
Points are awarded on the basis of the factors listed in the following table. All factors are assessed as they are at the time you are invited to apply for this visa.
Points criteria are assessed at the time of invitation
|at least 18 but less than 25 years||25|
|at least 25 but less than 33 years||30|
|at least 33 but less than 40 years||25|
|at least 40 but less than 45 years||15|
|Overseas skilled employment – (outside Australia)||Points|
|Less than 3 years||0|
|At least 3 but less than 5 years||5|
|At least 5 but less than 8 years||10|
|At least 8 years||15|
|Australian skilled employment – (in Australia)||Points|
|Less than 1 year||0|
|At least 1 but less than 3 years||5|
|At least 3 but less than 5 years||10|
|At least 5 but less than 8 years||15|
|At least 8 years||20|
Employed means engaged in an occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours a week.
Closely-related occupations must be:
Under the points test there is a cap on the number of points that can be awarded for employment experience. The maximum number of points that can be awarded is 20, this means that even if you score more than 20 combined points for your employment experience only 20 points will be awarded.
|A Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or a Doctorate from another educational institution, that is of a recognised standard.||20|
|At least a Bachelor degree from an Australian educational institution or at least a Bachelor qualification, from another educational institution, that is of a recognised standard.||15|
|A diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution.||10|
|Attained a qualification or award recognised by the relevant assessing authority for your nominated skilled occupation as being suitable for that occupation.||10|
For points based migration you will receive points for your highest qualification only.
Recognition of your qualifications
The authority undertaking your skills assessment may determine if your qualifications are comparable to the relevant Australian qualification. Assessing authorities are listed against your occupation in the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations. You must have obtained this recognition at the time you are invited to apply for a visa.
If you hold an overseas qualification at bachelor level or above and your skills assessing authority did not offer an opinion on that qualification, then we can assist you as part of our visa services, to get your overseas qualification assessed.
Doctoral requirements (PhD)
You can only be awarded points for a doctoral degree if you have completed a qualification at the relevant level, that is, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). You cannot claim these points for the award of other qualifications that give you the right to use to the title of Doctor (that is, general practitioner, dentist, vet).
|Specialist education qualification||Points|
|A Masters degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution that included at least 2 academic years study in a relevant field.
The postgraduate degree by research (doctorate or masters) must be awarded from an Australian education institution after at least 2 academic years of study in the following science, technology, engineering, mathematics or specified information and communication technology (ICT) fields:
Natural and physical sciences
Engineering and related technologies
To determine whether your qualification is eligible, see the CRICOS website.
|Australian study requirement||Points|
|Meet the Australian study requirement. You must have at least 1 degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution that meets the Australian study requirement.||5|
|Professional Year in Australia||Points|
|Completion of a Professional Year in Australia.||5|
At the time of invitation to apply, you had completed a Professional Year. To be eligible for the award of these points your Professional Year must have been in Accounting, ICT/Computing or Engineering, and:
|Credentialed community language||Points|
|Hold a recognised qualification in a credentialed community language.
To be credentialed in a community language and eligible for the award of points you must have been accredited at the paraprofessional level or above, certified at the certified provisional level or above, or have a community language credential for interpreting or translating by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
|Study in regional Australia||Points|
|You must have at least 1 degree, diploma or trade qualification from an Australian educational institution that satisfies the Australian study requirement obtained while living and studying in an eligible area of regional Australia.
To be eligible for the award of points your educational qualification:
|Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and meet age, English and skill criteria
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen. Additionally, you will need to provide evidence that when you were invited to apply for this visa that they:
|Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and has competent English
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
|You are single or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.||10|
For members of the family unit of someone who already holds Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491)
- be one of the members of the family unit, of a subclass 491 visa holder.
- If you are in Australia when you lodge your application you must hold a substantive visa or a subclass 010 Bridging A visa, a subclass 020 Bridging B visa or a subclass 030 Bridging C visa..
- have at least functional English, or pay a second instalment when we ask you to do so
- meet health and character requirements.
The 491 visa provides a pathway to apply for permanent residence in Australia. With Australian permanent residency you can stay in Australia permanently, work and study in Australia, enrol in Australia’s public healthcare system Medicare, sponsor your relatives to come to Australia, travel to and from Australia for 5 years, and if eligible you can apply for Australian citizenship.
To apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) you must have held an eligible visa (491 or 494) for at least 3 years, have had a taxable income at or above the income threshold ($53,900/year) for at least 3 years, and all applicants must have complied with the conditions of their visa.
Entitlements of the SkillSelect – Skilled Work Regional Visa (Subclass 491)
The Skilled Work Regional Visa (subclass 491) will grant you a temporary residency visa valid for 5 years.
You and your eligible family members will be entitled to:
- Reside in Australia for up to 5 years;
- Live, study and work in a designated regional area of Australia;
- Travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want during the duration of the visa;
- Apply for permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (Subclass 191)
- Work in any occupation and for any employer in line with the work and residence conditions attached to your visa.
- Be eligible for Medicare
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) replaced the 489 Visa and commenced on the 16th November 2019. It also requires a positive skills assessment.
To speak with one of the migration experts at This Is Australia, call our Queensland office today on (07) 5592 0755. We offer free initial consultation through our online visa assessment or in-person appointments.