Release of New Independent Regional Visa – Subclass 491

As you may be aware, the Department of Home Affairs has released two new regional working visa in November 2019.

When the Department announced they would abolish the 457 visa, it was part of their plan to encourage migrants to settle in regional areas that have continued to struggle to find suitable skilled workers.
The solution came with the introduction of two provisional regional visas with a clear pathway towards permanent residence provided the visa holders abide by their visa conditions; The 494 and the 491.
The 491 visa has received much more interest from prospective applicants due to the fact that it is still an independent visa. This means you do not require sponsorship from an Australian business in all cases.
The visa subclass 491 will offer 14,000 places each year for the foreign skilled workers living and working in regional areas. It has replaced the previous 489 visa which is no longer open to new application. This visa will offer skilled workers a chance to live and work in regional Australia for up to five years. They can apply for permanent residency after three years of stay and paid work in a designated regional area.

Difference between the 489 visa (ceased) and 491 visa

The 491 visa holders will now have to wait for 3 years for PR while it used to be 2 years in the visa subclass 489.
The new visa covers more regional areas compared to 489 visa. The areas where the holders of 491 visa can live include all areas in Australia except metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The areas of Perth, Newcastle, Wollongong and NSW Central coats have also been added to the list.
There will be more points available under the new visa – unmarried or single applicants will get extra points that serve as a bonus for bachelors and there will be more points to avail for eligible relative sponsors and skilled partners with competent English.

Pathway to Permanent Residency (PR)

This is a temporary visa that can set a pathway for PR for eligible applicants. The visa holders will need to stay and fulfil work requirements in a regional area for 3 years before being able to file 191 visa leading to permanent residency.
The applicants will need to meet the minimum taxable income requirements of $53,900 per year for three years. However, it is not clear if any concessions will apply in this condition.

How we can help

The 491 visa is a points test visa and having a suitable eligibility assessment is key in ensuring you do not waste costly government and professional fees on an application you simply are not eligible for.
Our office provides comprehensive eligibility assessments for clients who are interested in applying for this visa and require assistance in determining whether or not they meet the criteria.
Our office is able to assist you in conducting this assessment for you and providing you with specific, realistic and up to date advice on whether this visa is suitable for you.