Go Regional!!

GO REGIONAL!!

Recent news have confirmed our opinion that gone are the days when studying any two year course in the comfort zone of Melbourne and Sydney were enough to find pathways to permanent residence and live the great Australian dream.

We have had a flurry of announcements about the commencement of State and territory allocations in the recent days. The Department of Home Affairs have released their allocations for state and territories for 2020-20, which is as below

NSW which is the state with the maximum allocations has also put out their heavily reduced new skilled occupation list, on which are Registered Nurses, Engineers and a few ICT occupations. Hospitality workers such as Chefs, cooks, Hotel Managers, and other occupations such as Accountants do not find a place.

Victoria, which is next with 3543 allocations for the subclass 190 Skilled Nominated Visa and the Skilled Work Regional subclass 491 visa also emphasize that one of their essential criteria for the 190 visa is Work in a highly skilled occupation in health, medical research or life sciences which supports Victoria’s economic recovery and/or health response. This is interesting as ICT occupations do not appear to figure in this. The criteria for the 491 visa mention Work in a highly skilled occupation in health, medical research, life sciences, agri-food or digital sectors which supports Victoria’s economic recovery and/or health response. Therefore presumably, those with ICT occupations who meet other criteria could apply for the 491 visa in Victoria.

Compare this with Tasmania, Western Australia or the Northern Territory which has a wider occupation list (South Australia has not yet released their current occupation list) . This is what all visa aspirants need to be mindful of- that they can now longer afford to  expect to study and work in the popular  cities of Melbourne and Sydney but must venture out to look for either study and work opportunities in regional areas for pathways for permanent residence.

Another recent development is that Migration Regulations have been amended to allow a second 485 visa (Post study stream) for those who studied, lived and worked in a regional area. The eligibility for a second 485 visa depends on where you studied, lived and worked. The definition of a regional area has been widened to two categories:

  1. Designated city or major regional centre – this includes Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Canberra, Geelong and Hobart.
  2. Designated regional centre or other regional area-  this  includes areas of regional Australia apart from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Canberra, Geelong and Hobart.

All applicants for the second 485 visa must have graduated from a regional education centre and held a first Post Study Work 485 visa. Applicants must have lived, worked and studied only in a designated regional area for two years continuously on their first Post Study Work 485 immediately before applying for the second TGV. All applicants, primary and members of their family unit, must be in Australia to apply for the second TGV application. Therefore noffshore application COVID concession applies to these applicants. No evidence of English language proficiency is required for applications for second Post Study Work 485s and neither is a new AFP check required for applications for second Post Study Work 485.

Those who have graduated, held a Post Study Work 485 and only lived, worked and studied in a designated city or major regional area will be eligible for the grant of a subsequent one-year Post Study Work 485. However, those who graduated, held a Post Study Work 485 and only lived, worked and studied in a designated regional centre or other regional area will be eligible for the grant of a second two-year Post Study Work 485 visa.

This is also a big incentive for student visa aspirants to study and live in a regional area. Therefore, the message from the Department of Home affairs is loud and clear- Go Regional!

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