Three new visas announced
Australia has introduced a new permanent visa to bring more skilled workers to regional Australia, these being Subclasses 494, 491 and 191.
Subclass 494 and subclass 491 are the two new regional visas coming in effect from November this year, replacing the recently closed permanent Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa and Subclass 489 (Skilled Regional (Provisional)) visa.
The Subclass 494 visa is to help employers in regional Australia to employ skilled foreign workers via Employer-Sponsored and Labour Agreement.
The Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa is a points-tested visa for applicants sponsored by a State or Territory government agency or sponsored by a family member residing in a designated regional area.
The subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa will commence from 16 November 2022. This visa may only be applied for by holders of the new Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visa. The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman states, "The new subclass 191 visa replicates many existing general requirements for permanent residence, and most other visas, including security, health and character requirements."
According to the Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019, the eligibility criteria for the Subclass 191 visa, including that the primary applicant must:
- hold a regional provisional visa when they apply for the Subclass 191 visa and have held that visa for at least three years;
- have earned a minimum income for at least three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa; and
- have complied with the conditions of the regional provisional visa.
The delayed commencement for the subclass 191 visa is in relation to the requirement to have held a regional provisional visa for three years before applying for the Subclass 191 visa, hence eligibility will not occur before 16 November 2022.