New subclass 491 and 191 Skilled Visas

New Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa

From 16 November 2019 the Department of Home Affairs will introduce the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa, with a new permanent visa pathway coming into effect from November 2022. The 491 visa will supersede the existing Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa and will include some significant changes.

New skilled regional provisional visa:

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 Visa

With a new permanent visa pathway:

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa

What are the major changes?

  • The subclass 491 supersedes the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa.
  • Time required to live and work in regional Australia in order to be eligible for permanent residency will increase from two years to three years (visa validity period will also increase from four years to five years).
  • Access to an increased number of eligible occupations (over 500).
  • Priority processing of applications.
  • Definition of regional Australia will be expanded and simplified to include all areas of Australia except the metropolitan areas of; Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth. The major change here is that Newcastle, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast will now be eligible.

The changes to the points test will include:

  • 10 points for Specialist Educational qualifications. Currently 5 points.
  • 10 points for applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner (under 45 with Competent English, suitable skills assessment and with an occupation on the same skilled occupation list). Currently 5 points.
  • 10 points for applicants who do not have a spouse or de facto partner or who have a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen or a Permanent resident (New)
  • 5 points for applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English (New)
  • 15 points for applicants who are nominated by a State or Territory government, or who are sponsored by a suitable family member. Currently 10 points.

When all points except partner qualifications are equal, invitations will be ranked in the below order:

  • First: applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner.
  • Equal First: applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.
  • Second: applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who demonstrates Competent English but who does not have the skills to obtain skilled partner points.
  • Third: Applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points.

Will criteria stay the same?

  • Applicants must still be nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia.
  • Applicants will still need to meet the overall points test, age, English language, skills assessment, character and health requirements.

Will I be eligible to apply for the new subclass 491 visa?

The State or Territory nomination requirements are likely to be similar to those that are currently in place for the subclass 489 visa. While State and Territory nomination requirements do vary, there are some common themes that can enhance your eligibility. Having spent time living and working in the nominating state whilst on a working holiday visa or employee sponsorship. Having family and friends living in the state you are looking to migrate to.

Our view:

Overall these changes in the subclass 491 visa offer increased opportunities for skilled migrants in regional Australia. The new visa is going to make it more attractive to migrate to regional Australia, especially for those who want to live in Regional Western Australia and Queensland.

New Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa

This is a new permanent residence visa that will operate in a similar way to the current Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887). This new visa will be introduced in November 2022 to accommodate those new skilled provisional visa holders commencing from November 2019.

Will I be eligible to apply for the new subclass 191 visa?

Applicants will need to hold one of the new skilled provisional visas subclasses 494 or 491 and demonstrate that they have lived and worked in regional Australia for at least three years, and you can show earnings of at least $ 53,900 AUD for three years. If you have a partner, only one of you needs to show this salary level (through tax returns) and this person would be the main applicant for the subclass 191 visa.

If you live or work in the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast or Perth, you will be in breach of your provisional visa conditions and not be eligible to apply for the subclass 191 visa.

If you currently hold a 489 visa you will continue to be eligible for the 887 permanent residency visa after two years and will not be impacted by the new subclass 191 visa and lengthier requirement.

Summary - Our view

The new visa is going to make it more attractive to migrate to regional Australia, especially for those who want to live in Regional Western Australia and Queensland.

With one of the most generous State or Territory occupation lists, and with Adelaide being the largest regional city, South Australia will continue to be a very attractive option for those looking to migrate to Australia.

The South Australian Government will be at our MIGRATION EVENT at Australian House London on 07 September 2019. Secure your tickets now and speak with one of the South Australian Government representatives about being sponsored to this very popular state.

Book tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/visa-bureau-21795623805

Do you need help with an Australian visa application?

At Visa Bureau we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Partner Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas and Parent visas.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options please complete a free on-line assessment (link below) or email Darren Chatt: darren@visabureau.com.