491 visa – 494 visa
The Department of Home Affairs announced two (2) new provisional visas to be introduced on 16 November 2019 to assist skill shortages in regional parts of Australia:
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa – Subclass 491
- Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa – Subclass 494
Prior to the amendment, there were 4 definitions of ‘regional’ across 9 different skilled migration visas. The varying definitions had been unified into the single definition as of November 2019. The term, ‘regional’, encompass all of Australia except:
- Gold Coast
Employers in regional Australia, as well as State and Territory governments, who sponsor regional skilled migrants has a broader range of occupations.
- The new Subclass 491 visa scheme has 504 eligible occupations.
- The new Subclass 494 visa scheme has 673 eligible occupations.
- Subclass 491 visa applicants can claim more points in the Schedule 6D points test.
- Priority processing.
- Mandatory requirement that all applicants must live, work and study in a regional area for at least 3 years.
- Strict obligation to report any change of circumstances to the Department within 14 days.
- May be required to attend an interview or provide supporting evidence to demonstrate that the applicants are living and working in regional Australia.
- Primary visa applicants must be under 45 years of age.
- Primary visa applicants must have Competent English language skills.
- Positive skills assessments are mandatory at the time of application.
- 5-year visa duration.
- 2 invitation pathways:
- State / Territory nomination; and
- Family sponsorship.
- Stricter requirement on regional residence and employment – new conditions 8578, 8579, 8580 and 8581.
- Operating within the Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) framework
- 2 streams:
- Employer-Sponsored; and
- Labour Agreement.
- Regional compliance conditions + 8608 (similar to 8607).
- Labour Market Testing must be undertaken, irrespective of the International Trade Obligations exemptions.
- Regional Certifying Body certification must be provided regarding the Australian Market Salary Rate.
- Minimum 3 years of full-time experience in the nominated occupation or a related field at the same level of skill.
- Meet health and character requirements (one fail – all fail).
- SAF contribution must be paid in a sum of $3,000 for small business and $5,000 for a larger business.
- Pro-rata SAF levy applies if the nomination relates to a change of the sponsoring employer.
- Eligible for Medicare – health insurance not required.