The 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) and Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas are now in effect.The 494 visa is an employer sponsored visa that has already replaced the 187 (RSMS) visa and can lead to the 191 (Permanent Residency) visa when certain conditions are met. The 491 is a points based visa that acts as a substitute for the 489 visa. Similar to the 494, the 491 can lead to the 191 (PR visa) when certain conditions are met.
Mandatory requirements for 494/491 visas
All applicants for the 494 and 491 visas must complete a skills assessment relevant to their nominated occupation, unless they are academic applicants such as lecturers or general practitioners. Individuals who hold either a 457 or 482 visa and have obtained a permanent skill assessment in their occupation will not require another one. Furthermore, applicants for the 494/491 visas must be aged under 45, and have sufficient english with a 6.0 IELTS score in each band. Applicants for the 491 Skilled Work Regional ( Provisional) visa must first apply for an Expression of Interest (EOI) and get a minimum score of 65 points before progressing any further while for those seeking the 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored must have at least three years of full-time work experience in a regional area.
Pathway for PR
In order to be eligible to the 191 (Permanent Residency visa) both 494 and 491 applicants must have held their respective visa for 3 years and met the minimum tax return income specified by the USCIS.
New Regional Areas
As of 16th November 2019 major cities such as, Perth, Gold Coast and Western Australia became regional areas, leaving Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as the only remaining Metropolitan regions of Australia. According to the Western Australia and Queensland State Governments, Perth and Gold Coast were to be classified as regional areas in order to attract international students. From November, students who study in regional areas will be able to access a longer Subclass 485 Graduate post-study work visa.
As of 16th November, students in regional cities and major regional areas, including Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong, Hobart, and now Perth and the Gold Coast have been able to obtain an additional year on their Graduate visa.
Students from all other regional areas are able to obtain an additional 2 years on their Graduate visas.
Free healthcare for 494/491 visa holders
Applicants for the 491 visas can expect to receive medicare to help cover some or all their health expenses. 482 visa holders from countries with reciprocal health care arrangements can currently access a Medicare card, however, 494 regional employer sponsored visa holders – regardless of country of passport – can access Medicare.
If you would like to know more about the 494/491 visas or how these visas can lead to Permanent Residency, meet an AMS migration consultant who will be able to further discuss the possibilities for you. Here at Australia Migration Services we can also help lodge your visa.