Australia is a prosperous western nation with a great standard of living and relatively high domestic income. People from around the world choose to live in Australia for many reasons, with the Visa Subclass 491 providing an opportunity to live, work, and study in the country for up to 5 years. The Skilled Work Regional visa is a provisional visa for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa – Main applicant
The Skilled Work Regional visa, also known as visa subclass 491, allows the main applicant and members of their family unit to stay in a designated regional area of Australia while they work and study. In order to meet the requirements of this visa, you must be nominated to apply by an Australian state or territory government agency, or be sponsored by an eligible relative.
In addition, visa subclass 491 applicants must have a designated occupation on the skilled occupation list, and have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation in question. Along with being invited to apply and meeting the occupation requirements, applicants must also satisfy the SkillSelect points test.
Visa benefits & duration
With this visa, you can stay in Australia for 5 years and travel to and from the country as many times as you wish during this period. You are only allowed to live, work, and study in a designated region of the country. While family members can be included in the visa, they can only stay until the visa held by the main visa holder expires. The Skilled Work Regional visa cannot be extended, although eligible applicants can apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191).
Including family members in your application
Visa subclass 491 does have a family component, with individual family members able to be included in the application. The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa – Subsequent entrant is a visa designed especially for a family unit member of someone who holds a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491). Under Australian law, a person is considered a member of your family unit if they are a spouse or de facto partner, dependent child or stepchild, or dependent grandchild or step-grandchild of a dependent child or stepchild.
Along with being a family unit member of a subclass 491 visa holder, family applicants who are in Australia when the application is lodged must hold a substantive visa or a subclass 010 Bridging A visa, subclass 020 Bridging B visa, or subclass 030 Bridging C visa. In addition, all family members aged 18 years or older must have functional English, meet health and character requirements, sign an Australian Values Statement, and pay a second instalment when asked. Anyone who has had a visa cancelled or refused may not be eligible, and all debt to the Australian Government must be paid pack.
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa Subclass 491 is associated with a cost, including AUD$4,045 for the main applicant, and a separate charge for each family member who applies with the main applicant. The overall cost depends on English language competence, along with costs for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics.
The Visa Pricing Estimator is available through the Home Affairs website, although second installment charges and other costs are not included. An extra payment may be required for all applicants aged 18 years or older who have less than functional English. This charge is known as the second installment, and will cost AUD$4,890.
Visa processing time
Like many Australian visas, there are no standard processing times available for this pathway. You have 60 days from the date of your invitation to apply for visa subclass 491, with a statement given in writing when a decision has been made.
Each application for the subclass 491 visa is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with timing dependent on whether you have lodged a complete form and supporting documents. The time it takes to perform necessary checks can vary widely on a case-by-case basis. Requests to external agencies for additional documents or information about health, character, or national security can also slow down the process.
Visa eligibility requirements
The Skilled Work Regional Visa Subclass 491 is a provisional visa for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. Along with adhering to the location restrictions, there are a number of eligibility requirements to fulfil before the visa is granted.
Be invited to apply
Be nominated or sponsored
Be aged under 45 to be invited to apply
Have a suitable skills assessment
Score 65 points or more in SkillSelect
Have at least Competent English
Other requirements as listed on the Home Affairs website
How to apply for a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
In order to apply for the Skilled Work Regional Visa, it’s important to go through the comprehensive application process in detail. The outcome of the visa application and the time it takes to process depend on the accuracy of the information provided. The following steps are critical:
Submit an expression of interest (EOI) through SkillSelect.
Gather all appropriate documentation.
Apply for the visa online.
Await notification of application.
Await your visa outcome decision.
If you are outside Australia when the visa is granted, you must enter Australia before the specified date on the visa grant letter.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between the 489 and 491 visa?
The subclass 491 visa is a replacement for the subclass 489 visa. From 16 November 2019, subclass 489 visas will be closed to new applicants.
How many points do I need to apply for the 491 visa?
In order to apply for a subclass 491 visa, you need 65 points or more in SkillSelect.
Is a current job offer required for the 491 visa?
All applicants for a subclass 491 visa must either be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or sponsored by an eligible relative. State and territory authorities typically require evidence of a current employment offer in a designated regional area.
Immigration and the law
Legislation about immigration changes frequently. For example, in June 2021 Australia added 22 new occupations to its priority migration list. So, it’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. And, if you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.