(Skilled Work Regional) Visa – Subclass 491

Australia, Ayers Rock, cloudy sunset on the the Uluru sacred mountain

The 491 visa will replace the 489 visa on 16 November 2019.

There has been a total of 14,000 places allocated annually to the 491 program. The 491 visa is a provisional visa which means it does not grant immediate permanent residency. Any 491 visa holders may be eligible to apply for subclass 191 skilled regional permanent residency visa in the future.

Similar to the 489 visa, the 491 is a points-tested visa for applicants sponsored by:

  1. a designated regional area of an Australian state or territory, or
  2. an eligible family member residing in a *designated regional area of Australia

Subclass 491 Points System

There is a revised points system for the 491 visa, so you have new ways to earn points towards your score.  You will get:

  • 15 points for nomination by a family member or a regional part of a state or territory
  • Ten points for Masters or PhD level Australian qualification in specific areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM).
  • Ten partner points, special rules apply – see below
  • Five points if your partner who can demonstrate Competent English. The partner can be over 45 years of age and does not need to work in a skilled occupation
  • Points will still apply based on your age, qualification, years of overseas and/or Australian skilled work experience, Australian study and English skills, as they do under the 489 visa and other skilled visas.

Partner Points

Applicants may receive 10 points for a partner if one of the following applies:

  1. They have a skilled partner. This means that their partner is under 45 years of age, obtains a positive skill assessment in a job on the same shortage list as the applicant and has Competent English; or
  2. They are single, or
  3. They have a partner who is an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen

Ranking Systems

The 491 pathway has a ranking system for an invitation to apply. The rankings are:

  1. Equal first: Applicant with a skilled partner OR applicants without a partner
  2. Second: Applicant with a partner who can demonstrate Competent English (but does not have the skills for skilled partner points)
  3. Third: Applicant with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points.

Visa Conditions

491 visa holders will be restricted from applying for certain visas until they have held a 491 visa (and met its conditions) for three years. Restricted visa includes

  • skilled PR visas (189 and 190),
  • business visas (124, 132 and 188),
  • employer nominated PR visa 186
  • the onshore partner visa (820)

Permanent Residency

The 491 is a five-year visa. Applicants can apply for permanent residence through the Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa once the following is met:

  1. They have lived, worked or studied in the *designated regional area for at least three years, while holding a 491 visa, and
  2. They can show earnings of at least $53,900 annually for three years. If you have a partner included in your 491 application, only one of you needs to show the three years of annual salary (through tax returns) at or above $53,900. Your partner can be the main applicant for the 191 visa if they can demonstrate meeting this requirement.

* Designated regional areas

It is intended to be any part of Australia excluding Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne.  You can view all designated regional areas here.

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