Subclass 191 / 887: Skilled Regional Visa

Subclass 191 is a permanent skilled regional visa which is available to holders of the Subclass 491 and 494 visas. It is scheduled to be in effect as of 16 November 2022 when the first cohort of the holders of the provisional visa subclasses become eligible for permanent residence. Upon its introduction it will allow 494 and 491 visa holders to transition to permanent residency, permitting them to live work and study in Australia on a permanent basis.

All information below is based on current indications on the operation of the Subclass 191 program. Whilst legislation relating to this visa have been introduced, it is possible for amendments to occur prior to when said provisions become operative. All criteria for the skilled regional permanent visa outlined below is based on current legislation which deals with this visa subclass.

If you are only commencing your permanent residency journey, it is best to consider the Subclass 491 and 494 visas first. If you are currently a holder of the aforementioned provisional visas, it is important to continually monitor updates on the Subclass 191 visa and ensure you maintain strict compliance with the conditions of your current provisional visa.

If you are currently a holder of the discontinued 489 visa, you cannot qualify under Subclass 191. For more information about your transition options please read the below section on the visa, 887 skilled regional.

Why Go Regional?

For many applicants, the prospect of regional migration is generally regarded as a last resort. Depending on your circumstances, regional migration may offer more advantages than simply concessional criteria for permanent residency. Regional Australia offers a quieter, laid back lifestyle and unique business and employment opportunities.

Contrary to popular believe, regional Australia does not necessarily mean life in the middle of nowhere. Even certain state capitals may be designated as regional under legislation. It is thus always a wise option to consider regional visas when planning your migration pathway.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, the applicant must:
  • Have held a Subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years;
  • Have complied with the conditions of your previous visa, such as living and working in a specified regional area; and
  • All family members secondary applicants have complied with the condition of their previous visa;
  • Meet a minimum income threshold for the last 3 years whilst on a Subclass 491 or 494 visa
This new permanent visa subclass shares many aspects with its 887 visa predecessor. Both the 191 visa and 887 visa require applicants to obtain a provisional regional visa first and, like the 887 visa, 191 effectively mandates the applicant’s presence in a designated regional area. One major innovation, however, is the subclass 191 requirement to evidence income above a proscribed threshold though submission of tax documents in one’s visa application. This means that not only must you commit to living in a regional area, but you must also achieve some level of success in establishing yourself in your new home.

Application Fees

  • Base application charge: $385
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $195
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $100

Eligibility Criteria

In order to satisfy the requirements for grant of the Subclass 191 skilled regional permanent residence visa, the following criteria must be satisfied:
  • Have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years;
  • Live and stay in Australia in a designated area for at least 3 years; and
  • Have a taxable income above a proscribed threshold.
The above criteria demonstrates some adjustments when compared to Australia’s previous skilled regional permanent visa, subclass 887. In particular, the previous 2 years of residency has been increased to 3, in addition to the imposition of a new taxable income threshold.

Regional Area

The core of any skilled regional visa is the requirement that one maintain employment and residency on a proscribed area. Much like the subclass 887 visa, what constitutes a regional area is designated by postcode under a legislative instrument. One may be surprised to learn that this regional designation is quite broad, offering a great deal of options when looking for full time work and a place to settle with one’s family members.

The following table specifies all designated regional areas, including major regional city centers.

As you and your family members will likely be committed to living in your chosen proscribed ares for up to 3 years, it is imperative to choose wisely. If possible, one must consider the lifestyle, climate and location of said regional area and ensure that one is prepared to remain in said location for the proscribed period. Regional living may not be for everyone, however much like the visa subclass 887, the object of the 191 visa is to encourage settlement in low-population-growth areas.

Applicable Public Interest Criteria

4001, 4002, 4003, 4004, 4007, 4010, 4020, 4021 and 4019 (if applicable)

Applicable Special Return Criteria

5001, 5002 and 5010

Conditions

There are no conditions associated with this Subclass. 191 visa holders are free to live, work and study in Australia on a permanent basis.

Application Fees

First installment payable at the time of application:

  • Base application charge: $3,955
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $1,980
  • Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $990
  • Second instalment payable prior to visa grant:Applicants aged 18 and over who do not demonstrate functional English: $4,890

As additional costs are incurred for additional applicants lacking evidence of minimum English language proficiency. As such, you may

Predecessor to Subclass 191: Subclass 887

The subclass 887 visa is a permanent residence pathway restricted to current Subclass 489 visa holders who have been living in a specified regional area. As subclass 489 visas are no longer issued, subclass 887 visas are merely in a transitory phase, having been superseded by the subclass 191 visas. As it is exceedingly unlikely that there should be any future 887 visa update, people looking to pursue a permanent visa application are better served exploring the new 494, 491 and 191 regional visa options. If you are looking to transition from your current 489 visa to a visa subclass 887, it is best to obtain assistance to maximize the prospects of success.

For those with pending applications, the current skilled regional 887 visa processing time is between 16 to 20 months with the old 489 visa processing time totaling approximately 19 to 24 months.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the subclass 887 visa, the applicant must have:

  • Lived and stay in Australia in a designated area for at least 2 years on a Subclass 489 visa;
  • Worked full time in a regional area for at least 1 year;
  • Have complied with all conditions of your 489 visa.