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Recently, Australia announced the introduction of two new visas to allow skilled migrants to move to the regional areas of the country. These visas named Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) and Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visa (subclass 494) became available on November 16, 2019. These two visas will replace existing visa subclasses 489 and 187. In this article, our focus will be on visa subclass 491.

 

Visa subclass 491 is a work visa that will give skilled workers the opportunity to move to Australia, work, and live in regional areas for up to five years during which they can apply for permanent residency. A lot of skilled migrants are highly interested in this visa, and since its introduction, application numbers keep rising by the day.

 

Features of Visa Subclass 491

i. It is a temporary visa that allows skilled workers and their family members to work, live, and study in regional Australia for five years. The visa is point-based, and an applicant must have either a sponsorship from a family member who lives in designated regional areas or nomination by a state.

ii. Applicants must live and work in regional Australia for a minimum of three years before they can be eligible for permanent residency.

iii. The visa supports a wide range of occupations, and every year, they allocate 14000 places.

iv. The set age limit is 45 years.

v. Regional areas of Australia are anywhere excluding Melbourne, metropolitan Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and Gold Coast.

vi. The holder of this visa can move from one regional area to another.

vii. The application fee for this visa is $4,095, and for applicants with partners, the fee is $2,025.

As mentioned above, Visa Subclass 491 is a point-based visa, and IELTS is part of the priorities that make up the points required to get the visa subclass 491. IELTS is a standard used to measure the English language proficiency of people who want to migrate to an English-speaking country.

 

What are your obligations at the point of application? 

• You must have a relevant skill or occupation in the skilled occupation list.

• You must have a nomination to apply from a state government agency or sponsorship by a family member.

• You must satisfy the points test with a score of 65 or higher.

• You must have passed a skills assessment test for the occupation or skill you claim to have.

• You must have an invitation to apply.

• You must be 45 or younger.

• You must satisfy Australia’s health requirements.

• You must satisfy Australia’s character requirements.

 

How are the Points Calculated?

• Applicants with a skilled partner or spouse will get 10 points.

• Applicants whose spouses or partners have English competency will receive 5 points.

• Single applicants receive 10 points.

• Applicants nominated by State or Territory receive 15 points.

• Applicants sponsored by a family member living in regional Australia will receive 15 points.

• Some STEM qualifications will receive 10 points.

 

Pathway to Permanent Residency

 Visa subclass 491 is a temporary visa that can lead to permanent residency for eligible applicants. Once a holder of the 491 visa has resided and worked in a regional area of Australia for three years, they will be able to file an application for a 191 visa, which is the visa for permanent residency. The pathway to permanent residency will be available from November 16 2022.

 

How Flexible is this Visa?

The visa holder cannot work and live outside the designated regional areas, but they can travel from one regional area to another. They will also not be granted any onshore partner visa or permanent skilled visa for three years except the circumstances are compelling.

Visa applicants are also advised not to get shady or dodgy at the point of application to receive extra points. Some applicants may separate or divorce so they can get extra points. Once an applicant files their application, their entire profile will be placed under scrutiny again when they lodge their permanent residency under subclass 191.

 

Things You Must Do When Traveling to Australia

If you are not in Australia and your visa gets granted, you must be in Australia at an earlier date than what is specified on your visa grant letter.

Before leaving for Australia, check through your travel documents and make sure you have a valid international passport and a valid visa to enter Australia. When you get to the border, you must complete the Incoming Passenger Card.

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