New Regional Visas – Coming Soon

New Regional Visas Commencing November 16th 2019

Replacing the subclass 489 visa and the RSMS 187 visa, two new skilled regional provisional visas have recently been announced for introduction in November 2019. These new visas will be granted for up to five (5) years and each will provide a possible pathway to permanent residency.

Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
Directly substituting the current 489 visa, with an allocation of 14,000 places per year and access to an additional 70 occupations, the subclass 491 is due to commence from November 16th 2019. A points-tested* skilled migration visa, it requires either state government nomination or sponsorship by an eligible family member already settled in a designated regional area.

An age limit of 45 years has been set for this visa and obviously, a positive skills test will be a firm requirement, either upon arrival or grant of visa, if applicants in Australia, visa holders will need to remain in the nominated regional employment for a minimum of three (3) years and not until after this period has passed, can visa holders apply for an onshore permanent visa.

Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa Substituting the current 187 RSMS visa, with 9000 places allocated each year and access to an additional 450 occupations, the new Subclass 494 also commences from November 16th 2019. In many ways, this visa parallels the Subclass 491 but it requires sponsorship from a pre-approved employer/business. Again, the age limit has been set at 45 years and the position must be likely to exist for the five-year term of the visa. Requirements include a suitable skills assessment, competent English, RCB advice, AMSR compliance and unless exempt, at least three (3) years’ skilled employment.

The visa holder must continue to work for the sponsoring employer although, should this employment cease to exist, he or she is provided with a ninety (90) day period in which to find a replacement employer/sponsor.

As with the 491, visa holders may not apply for an onshore Partner visa during the initial three (3) years.

Permanent Residency

Both Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visas offer a pathway to permanent residency. In November 2022, at the three-year mark, the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa will be introduced. Existing holders of either 491 or 494 visas, who have completed at least three (3) years of their original term, complied with their visa conditions and met minimum taxable income requirements, will then be able to apply for permanency.

Points testing

Also benefitting skilled visa applicants, the following GSM points updates have been scheduled for update on November 16th 2019:

  • Masters degree by research or a Doctorate degree from an Australian educational institution, where at least two academic years in a relevant STEM field were included. – Increased from 5 points to 10 points
  • Nomination by State or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member to reside and work in a specific, designated regional area – Increased from 10 to 15 points
  • Partner skill qualifications – Increased from 5 to 10 points
  • Partner with competent English but not eligible for Partner skill qualification points – Increased to 5 points (was nil)
  • Single applicants (no partner) – Increased to 10 points (was nil)

Definition of Regional Areas to be simplified

In conjunction with these changes, the Government is set to simplify the current definition of what, in Australia, represents a regional area and all indicators suggest that the parameters will be far more generous for those seeking such visas.

For further information check out our next blog coming to you shortly.

Professional advice is highly recommended

Immigration law is a complex area and one which evolves almost day by day. Outcomes can never be guaranteed but comprehensive understanding and appropriate strategy are critical in optimising opportunities for positive outcomes.

For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the migration experts – Sellanes Clark and Associates – specialising in all immigration matters.


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