Are You Eligible for the New 491 Visa?
The Department of Home Affairs has launched the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 491) Visa. The 491 Visa is a points-tested visa. This means that applicants are allocated points for particular characteristics such as age, work experience and qualifications. If they can meet a minimum points threshold, they may nominate themselves to be picked to apply for the 491 Visa. The Governments of particular States and Territories will then selected applicants to invite based on their points score and other circumstances.
The key eligibility criteria for this visa are that applicants:
- Are under 45 years’ of age at the time of application;
- Nominate an occupation from the relevant skilled occupation list;
- Hold a valid skills assessment carried out within the previous three years;
- Have at least ‘competent English’ (six in all bands in an IELTS test);
- Have at least 65 points;
- Secure State/Territory nomination or be sponsored by an eligible relative that is ‘usually resident’ in a designated regional area;
- Meet the health requirement; and
- Meet the character requirement.
The 491 Visa is a temporary visa granted for a period of five years allowing applicants to live, work and study in a regional area designated at the time the visa was granted
Once applicants have lived and worked in a regional area for three years they will be eligible to apply for the Permanent Residency stage. Applicants will then have to lodge a new visa application for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (Subclass 191) Visa.
The 491 Visa is a strong option for individuals who are lacking in the required points to lodge a Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) Visa. The 491 Visa presents a clear pathway to Permanent Residency. Applicants must keep in mind that some States/Territories are considered entirely ‘regional’ (e.g. Tasmania). Applicant’s should also be aware that State/Territory nomination bodies can choose to issue invitations for either the 190 Visa or the 491 Visa if applicants have the required points. Regional States/Territories are reluctant to issue direct Permanent Residency visas (such as the 190 Visa) for fear that skilled applicants will move to a city after the visa is granted.
For more information about the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 491) Visa click here. We also have more information about Employer Sponsored Visas and General Skilled Visas. For more information regarding eligibility for a skills assessment, State/Territory nomination requirements and the most appropriate visa for your circumstances, we recommend booking a consultation with one of our Migration Agents.