In a recent blog post we discussed the new changes to the immigration program, namely, the introduction of two new skilled regional provisional visas for skilled migrants and dependent family members.

Since then, we have received an update on the specifics of these changes (commencing on 16 November 2019).

Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

Schedule 1 of the Migration Amendment (New skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019 will introduce the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) and discontinue the Skilled- Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489). The subclass 491 will have two streams- the State/Territory sponsored and the family member residing in designated area sponsored.

State/Territory sponsored

Applicants wanting to apply under this stream must be nominated by a State/Territory Government.

Family member sponsored

Applicants wanting to apply under this stream must be sponsored by a family member who is:

  • Over 18;
  • An Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen;
  • Resident in a designated regional area;
  • Related to the primary applicant or their spouse or defacto partner; and
  • Willing to accept their obligation to assist the visa holder financially, with accommodation and to participate in AMEP English language program for 2 years.

Application requirements

General application requirements apply, such as:

  • Points test;
  • Under 45 at the time of application;
  • Have a skilled occupation on an applicable list;
  • Skills assessment;
  • Competent English;
  • Genuine interest to work, live and study in the area; and
  • General health and character requirements

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

Schedule 2 of the Instrument will introduce the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) and discontinue the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) (some exemptions apply). If you currently hold a 489 visa, not to worry- you will still have access to the Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887) permanent residency pathway.

The subclass 494 has two streams- the employer sponsored stream and the labour agreement stream.

Employer Requirements

There are several requirements for sponsorship under this visa, including the position being genuine, full time and likely to exist for 5 years and salary minimums.

Application Requirements

There are different application requirements depending on whether an applicant is applying under the employer sponsored stream or the labour agreement stream.

Employer sponsored:

  • Applicant must be under 45 at the time;
  • Must have a skilled occupation on an applicable list;
  • Valid skills assessment;
  • Competent English skills; and
  • Meet the character and health requirements;

Labour agreement:

  • Applicant may have to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to perform the nominated occupation;
  • Have English language skills suitable to perform the nominated occupation; and
  • Meet the character and health requirements.

Amendments to the Points Test

The instrument also amends Schedule 6D of the Migration Regulations to award:

  • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;
  • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications
  • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’
  • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner

The amended points test will apply to applicants under the new 491 visa, and applicants for subclass 189, 190 and 489 whose applications are yet to be assessed.

Restricted from applying for other visas

It is also worth considering that previous or current holders of the Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visas will be restricted from applying for the following visas, unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area (with exemptions for exceptional circumstances):

  • Subclass 124/858 – Distinguished Talent
  • Subclass 132 – Business Talent
  • Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme
  • Subclass 188 – Business Innovation and Investment 
  • Subclass 189 – Skilled – Independent
  • Subclass 190 – Skilled – Nominated
  • Subclass 820 – Partner (Temporary)

If you have an interest in applying under one of the new visas, or are worried these new changes could affect you, we are here to help!

Contact us today via our direct number +61 7 3229 4025 or email mail@themigrationplace.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!