1. Provisional Regional – Subclass 494 Visa
The new Provisional (Subclass 494) (Skilled Regional) Employer-Sponsored visa will enable regional employers to hire skilled foreign workers, through the Employer-Sponsored and Labour Agreement. This new visa has been created to replace the Subclass 187 visa.
The number of places available for the Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa will increase from 6,000 to 9,000, whilst State and Territory sponsored visa places will increase from 8,500 to 14,000.
When applying for permanent residency, these visa holders will be given priority processing, as well as access to a larger selection of eligible occupations.
2. Provisional Regional – Subclass 491 Visa
The new Provisional (Subclass 491) (Skilled Regional) Independent visa is a points-tested visa for applicants that are sponsored by a family member, State or Territory agency and reside in the designated regional area.
This new Subclass 491 visa will replace the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 489) visa, a popular visa amongst skilled workers who wish to move to regional Australia.
These visa holders are required to work outside of major cities and will lose their visa and the right to settle in Australia, if they fail to meet this requirement.
The amendments introduced an updated points system for the Subclass 491 visa, as well as General Skilled Migration visas. The new changes are outlined below:
- 10 points – For applicants that have a skilled spouse/defacto partner.
- 15 points – For applicants that are nominated by State or Territory , or sponsored by a family member that resides in regional Australia.
- 10 points – For applicants that have certain STEM qualifications.
- 10 points – For applicants who do not have a spouse/defacto partner.
- 5 points – For applicants with a spouse/defacto partner who speaks competent English.
Pathway to Permanent Visa – Permanent Regional – Subclass 191 Visa
The Permanent Residence (Subclass 191) (Skilled Regional) visa will be available to skilled migrants that have lived and worked in Australia for three years, on one of the two new Provisional Regional visas. This new Permanent Regional visa will come into effect on the 16 November 2022.
The Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019 have outlined specific eligibility criteria for those that wish to apply for the Subclass 191 visa. The primary applicant must:
- Hold a valid Regional Provisional visa for at least three years, prior to applying for the Subclass 191 visa.
- Earned a minimum income for three years on a valid Regional Provisional visa.
- Followed the regulations and conditions that apply to the Regional Provisional visa.
The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Mr David Coleman states, ‘The new subclass 191 visa replicates many existing general requirements for permanent residence, and most other visas, including security, health and character requirements.’