Subclass 491 & Subclass 494

491 visa – 494 visa


Subclass 491

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

Definitions of ‘Regional’

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:

  • Brisbane
  • Gold Coast
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney

Eligible Occupations

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.

New Characteristics

  • 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.

Continuing Characteristics

  • 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.

Subclass 491

  • 2 invitation pathways:
    • State / Territory nomination; and
    • Family sponsorship.
  • Stricter requirement on regional residence and employment – new conditions 8578, 8579, 8580 and 8581.

Subclass 494

  • 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.