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New Skilled Regional Visas – Subclasses 491, 494 and 191

April 9, 2019
New Skilled Regional Visas – Subclasses 491, 494 and 191

Subclass 491 – Skilled Regional (Provisional)

  • Two streams – State/Territory sponsored and family member residing in designated area sponsored

State/Territory sponsored stream

  • Must be nominated by State/Territory Government
  • Review rights for refusal to grant this visa to an offshore applicant will extend to State/Territory authorities under Part 5 – reviewable decisions

Family member sponsored stream

  • Must be sponsored by a family member who is over 18 and is an Australian Citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Sponsor must be usually resident in a designated regional area
  • Sponsor must be related to the primary applicant or their spouse or defacto partner
  • Family member is defined as parent, child or step-child, brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, step‑brother or step‑sister; or an aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step‑aunt or step‑uncle; or a nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step‑nephew or step‑niece; or a grandparent; or a first cousin.
  • Obligation to assist visa holder to the extent necessary, financially, with accommodation and to participate in AMEP English language program for 2 years

Applicant requirements 

  • Schedule 6D points test applies
  • Must have been invited to apply
  • Must not have turned 45 at time of application
  • Must have skilled occupation on an applicable list and have a valid, suitable skills assessment
  • Primary applicant must have competent English at time of application
  • Must declare genuine intention to live, work and study in designated regional area
  • Health PIC 4005 and character PIC apply to all primary applicants and members of family unit, whether applicants or not
  • May apply and be granted inside or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance
  • Must be holder of substantive visa or BVA, BVB or BVC to apply onshore
  • Temporary visa – five years validity
  • Conditions 8578, 8579, 8580 and 8581 must be imposed
  • VAC – Base application charge: primary applicant $3,755; additional applicant over 18 years: $1,875; under 18 years: $940
  • Second VAC instalment if required – Less than functional English over 18 years: $4,890; any other applicant: nil
  • Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders or past holders, may apply for a Subclass 491 visa, subject to meeting prescribed requirements.

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)

  • Two streams – Employer sponsored stream and labour agreement stream

Employer requirements 

Nomination, application processes and sponsorship obligations largely mirror those applicable to Subclasses 457 and 482 sponsorship

  • Position must genuine, full time and likely to exist for five years
  • Annual market salary rate (AMSR) must not be less than TSMIT $53,900; annual earnings including non-monetary benefits must not be less than AMSR, unless nominated under the Labour Agreement stream; and terms and conditions no less favourable than for Australian employees must be provided
  • Minister must be advised by a ‘body’ (RDA/RCB?) with the responsibility for that part of Australia, that the nominee will be paid at least the AMSR
  • SAF charges: $3000 for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million, or $5000 for others
  • Cost of fees and nomination training contribution charge (SAF levy) cannot be recovered from the overseas worker or third party – amendment to Reg 2.87S
  • If nominating an existing Subclass 494 visa holder, the new sponsor is expected to assume the sponsorship obligations for family members who already hold a Subclass 494
  • Subclass 494 visa holders will be provided with 90 days to find another employer, if they cease employment with their sponsor
  • Visa can be cancelled if sponsor provides false and misleading information, fails to meet sponsorship obligations, is cancelled or barred from being a sponsor or where a party to a labour agreement, it is terminated, suspended or ceased

Applicant requirements

  • Must not have turned 45 at time of application
  • Employer sponsored stream – must have skilled occupation on an applicable list and have valid, suitable skills assessment; Labour agreement stream – may be required to demonstrate has necessary skills to perform tasks of nominated occupation
  • Nominated occupation to be specified by corresponding 6-digit ANZSCO code
  • Must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least three years on a full-time basis and at level of skill required for the occupation; Labour agreement stream – unless Minister considers it reasonable not to require this
  • Employer sponsored stream – applicant must have competent English at time of application, unless specified in a legislative instrument by the Minister; Labour agreement stream – English language skills suitable to perform the nominated occupation
  • Employer sponsored stream – health PIC 4007; Labour agreement stream – health PIC 4005
  • Character PIC apply to all primary applicants and members of family unit whether applicants or not
  • May apply and be granted inside or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance
  • Must be holder of substantive visa or BVA, BVB or BVC to apply onshore
  • Temporary visa – five years validity
  • Conditions 8503 and 8534 may be waived where that visa holder has a genuine intention to apply for a Subclass 494 visa
  • Conditions 8578, 8579, 8580, 8581 and new Condition 8608 must be imposed
  • Visa can be cancelled if the visa holder did not have a genuine intention at the time of grant to perform the nominated occupation or ceased to have a genuine intention to perform that occupation or the position was not genuine
  • VAC – Base application charge: primary applicant $3,755, additional applicant over 18 years: $1,875, under 18 years: $940 (*Minister of Religion or member of their family unit VAC: nil)
  • Second VAC instalment if required – Primary applicant less than functional English over 18 years: $9,800; secondary applicants over 18 years $4,890; any other applicant: nil
  • Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders or past holders, may apply for a Subclass 494 visa, subject to meeting prescribed requirements

Subclass 191 – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa

  • Only Subclasses 491 and 494 visa holders are eligible to apply for this visa
  • Must have held the Subclass 491 or 494 for at least three years and substantially complied with the conditions of the visa and Condition 8579
  • Must have met a minimum threshold taxable income level for at least three years while holding the Subclass 491 or 494 (threshold to be specified by legislative instrument)
  • Dependent children included as members of family unit for the Subclass 491 or 494 visas, may be included in Subclass 191 application, even if no longer able to meet the definition of dependency
  • Health PIC 4007 and character PIC apply to all primary applicants and members of family unit, whether applicants or not
  • May apply and be granted inside or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance
  • VAC – Base application charge: primary applicant $385; additional applicant over 18 years: $195, under 18 years: $100
  • Permanent visa allowing holder to travel to and enter Australia for a period of 5 years from grant date

New Schedule 8 Conditions

Condition 8578

  • Notify Department within 14 days of changes to visa holder’s residential address, contact details, passport details, employer address, location of position

Condition 8579

  • Requires applicant to live, work and study (where relevant) in designated regional area
  • Permits visa holder to move between designated regional areas
  • Prevents visa holder from accessing any other skilled migration visa for at least three years
  • Cancellation provisions may apply if not compliant with Condition 8579

Condition 8580

  • Requires within 28 days, if requested in writing by the Minister, the visa holder’s residential address, address of employer, address of location of position employed in, address of any educational institution attended by visa holder

Condition 8581

  • Requires visa holder, if requested in writing by the Minister to attend an interview which may be undertaken face to face or by video conferencing applications

Condition 8608

  • The holder must work only in the nominated occupation identified in the application for the most recent Subclass 494 visa granted to the holder, must only work in position in nominating business or associated entity, unless occupation specified by the Minister or to fulfil a legal requirement after giving notice; commence work within 90 days of arriving in Australia; not cease work employment for more than 90 days; continue to hold license or registration