491 visa is a skilled and points tested visa
- Applicants must lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) and wait for an invitation to apply for the visa
- One must get a minimum of 65 points to be eligible for the invitation, but preference is given to those with higher points
- At the time of the visa application, one must meet the eligibility for the points score to proceed with their application
Successful applicants for the 491 visa get privileges such as:
- Living and working in a specified region of Australia for five years
- Living in Australia with family members
- Pursuing educational opportunities in the country
- Upgrading to permanent residency in 3 years (subject to eligibility)
Eligibility for the 491 visa
For eligibility with this kind of skilled visa, applicants are required to be aged below 45 years. If you turn 45 after receiving the invitation, you still qualify for the visa. However, if you lodge your EOI after your 45th birthday, you won’t get an invitation.
Your occupation must be listed on the relevant list of skilled occupations eligible for the visa. You must also get a skills assessment from an authorized assessing body before applying for the visa. This test is proof that you have the skills Australia needs for your chosen occupation.
If English is not your first language, you must prove that you are fluent and competent in English. Applicants must meet health and character requirements to qualify for the visa.
The skilled work regional provisional visa gets processes in under 76 days. A majority of the visas get processed in 58 days. Your application processing time will further depend on:
- How fast you get cleared on health and character
- Whether you attached all the required documents
- How fast you respond when asked for more information
- The length of time it takes to verify your credentials
After a successful application
You have living, travel, work, and study rights in the named Australian region. However, you cannot apply for other skilled visas in Australia until after three years of using the visa in Australia’s designated region. For family-sponsored visas, 491 visas may be subject to cancellation for sponsor non-compliance.
A pathway to permanent residence
The skilled regional provisional visa can be your pathway to permanent residence in Australia. You would then be eligible to live in Australia indefinitely, work, study, get mortgages, and enroll in Medicare, the national health scheme.
One must do three years with a 491 skilled provisional visa to be able to apply for permanent residence. Applicants should have complied with all the requirements of the visa and met income tax requirements. To obtain a permanent residence using the 491 visas, your annual income for the last three years must be at least $53,900.
Replacing 489 and 887 skilled visa
The 491 skilled regional provisional visa replaces both the skilled regional provisional visa 489 and the permanent skilled regional visa 887. Applicants with undecided 489 and 887 visa can use the transitional arrangements to change to the 491-visa category.
Cut off points for 491 visa eligibility is 65. Those that score below this cannot be invited to apply for the visa. The points are scores on your EOI, based on considered eligibility factors such as age, educational qualifications, and English proficiency.
- 10 points for a single or skilled partner applicant
- 10 extra points for STEM qualifications
- 5 extra points if your spouse is competent in English
- 15 points more points if you are nominated by a State, territory, or government agency
- 15 points more points if you are nominated by a family member sponsorship in the designated regional area
- 10 points extra points if your partner is a permanent resident or an Australian citizen
Applicants must have a full skills assessment at the time of the skilled regional provisional 491 visa application. You will be asked to provide copies of your skills assessment documents. Medical and legal professionals can alternatively prove their qualifications with:
- Medical registration (full, unconditional, general) with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- Conditional specialist registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
- License to practice law in the chosen state or territory
The skills test should have been obtained not more than three years before the date of your invitation. Applicants that intend to use their qualifications from an Australian learning institution should use courses that are registered on CRICOS.
Critical differences between 491 visa and 482 temporary skill shortage visa
- With the 491 visa applicants get 15000 places to choose from yearly
- 491 visa applicants must have their occupations listed on the 491 occupation list
- Applicants must be sponsored by a relative or state authority
- 491 is a points tested visa
- Regional Australia is essentially everywhere except for Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sidney
- Visa holders can move between regions
Documents needed for the 491-visa application
- Passport size photos, national ID card, and personal details plus proof of name change (where applicable)
- Documents that support relationship status if you are sponsored by family or are including family in your application
- Police clearance certificate from your country
- Skill assessment certificates
- English test score documents
- Sponsorship documents
Possibility for extension
The 491 skilled regional provisional visas cannot be extended. You cannot stay in Australia for more than five years on the same visa. Visa holders and their family members must live, study, and work in the designated regions.
Including family members at a later date
You can sponsor family members long after you obtain the visa. Close relatives who are not mentioned in your visa application can be sponsored on the same visa later as subsequent entrants.
Living in the same state as your sponsor
There is no policy requirement to stay in the same state as your 491 visa sponsor. Even so, the sponsor is required to continually meet sponsorship requirements for the assured validity of your visa.
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