New subclass 491 and 191 Skilled Visas

The Department of Home Affairs has announced the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa.

From 16 November 2019, the 491 visa will overrule the existing Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa.

A new permanent visa pathway - Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa - will come into effect from November 2022.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 Visa

Like the existing 489 visa, applicants must be nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia.

Applicants will need to meet minimum points score to apply, however more points will become available from 16 November 2019. You can read about the changes to the points test here.

You must also meet the character and health requirements.

The 489 vs 491 - A look into the main changes

From 16 November 2019 you will no longer be able to apply for the 489 visa. The subclass 491 will replace current the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa.

491 visa holders must live and work in regional Australia for three years before applying for permanent residency under the 191 visa category. (Previously 2 years under the 489 visa). The visa validity period will increase from four years to five years to allow applicants more time to meet this requirement.

This visa will be accessible for more people; with over 500 new occupations eligible under the new 491 visa. Moreover, the definition of regional Australia will be simplified and broadened to include all areas of Australia except the metropolitan areas of; Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth. The notable changes here is that Newcastle, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast will be classified as regional.

To help meet the demand in regional Australia, 491 visa applicants will receive priority processing. You can check current global visa processing times on The Department of Home Affairs website.

Are you eligible to apply under the new subclass 491 visa?

The State or Territory nomination requirements are likely to remain similar to those that are currently in place for the subclass 489 visa. Each State and Territory set their own nomination criterion. This can vary from evidencing your employability, previous time spent living in the state or meeting a financial capacity.

Having spent time living and working in the nominating state – for example whilst on a working holiday visa or employee sponsorship - can make your application more attractive. Also having family and friends living in the state you are looking to migrate to may enhance your eligibility.

How do I secure Permanent Residence under the new 191 visa?

From November 2022 applicants will be able to apply for Permanent Residence under the new 191 visa. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Hold one of the new skilled provisional visas (subclasses 494 or 491)
  • Evidence that you have resided and worked in regional Australia for at least three years
  • Prove earnings of at least $ 53,900 AUD for three years. If you have a spouse included in the application then only one of you must to show this salary level (through tax returns). This person will be the main applicant for the subclass 191 visa.

If you reside 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 permanent residency under the subclass 191 visa.

Current 489 visa holders will continue to apply for permanent residency under the visa subclass 887. The criterion for this visa will remain the same, in which 489 visa holders must live and work in regional Australia for a minimum of two years before applying. You will not be impacted by the new subclass 191 visa and lengthier residential requirements.

Advice from our Registered Migration Agent

Overall these changes will offer increased opportunities for skilled migrants in regional Australia. The new visa is going to incentivise migrants to consider relocating to regional Australia, especially for those who want to live in Regional Western Australia and Queensland.

South Australia will be a popular choice for migrants as the whole of the state is classified as regional, which includes Adelaide. This is Australia’s largest regional city and is regularly recognised for its affordability and liveability. Moreover, South Australia offers one of the most extensive occupation lists. Check out five top reasons to relocate to South Australia here.

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:

Many applicants rely on state nomination to secure an invitation to apply for a visa, thus increasing the demand for higher points. Regional state nomination will allocate 15 points towards your skilled visa application, and for many people this may be the difference between migrating to Australia or not.

Do you need advice on your Australian visa options?

Visa Bureau offer telephone consultations with experienced Registered Migration Agent MARN: 0211214. To find out more please complete our free online assessment using the link below:

Australian Skilled Visa Assessment