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Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) Visa

The Australian government offer a range of Employer Nominated visa options which enable Australian employers to fill skills shortages with skilled workers from overseas. These include the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) subclass 482, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa, and the Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (SESR) subclass 494 visas.

The Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa (SESR) allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to live and work in regional Australia on a temporary basis. This visa is designed to assist regional employers who are unable to meet their skilled Australian workforce needs from the local labour market.

494 Visa – Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional

Application Process

Step 1: Sponsorship Application

The application for standard business sponsorship is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of your employer.

Approved businesses must comply with certain obligations imposed by the immigration department. These obligations are designed to protect overseas workers from exploitation and to ensure that the visa program is used correctly.

Australian sponsors must provide equivalent terms and conditions of employment to the visa holder as they would an Australian employed in the same work at the same location.

Additionally, the sponsor must not attempt to recover any of the costs associated with applying for sponsorship or nominations or any costs directly associated with recruiting overseas workers for nominated positions.

Approved sponsors must also maintain certain records relating to their sponsorship and SESR (and TSS, if applicable) nominations. This includes records substantiating the sponsor’s annual turnover, as well as records confirming how, and by whom, each Skilling Australians Fund levy was paid. The records must be provided to the Department of Home Affairs upon request.

Step 2: Nomination Application

The nomination application is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of your employer, either at the same time as the sponsorship application or during the sponsorship validity period.

Note: The annual market salary rate for the skilled position must also be assessed by a local Regional Certifying Body (RCB), the advice of which the Department of Home Affairs takes into account when making its decision. RCB assessment applications are lodged with the relevant RCB on the employer’s behalf, in most cases before the nomination application is lodged with the Department of Home Affairs.

Stage 3: Visa Application

Your visa application is lodged either at the same time as the nomination application, or before the nomination expires, (generally within 12 months of approval).

You may be in or outside Australia when applying for this visa. However, you may be ineligible to apply in Australia if you do not hold the required type of visa or have previously been refused a visa (or had your visa cancelled).

Once the Department of Home Affairs has approved all three applications, you will be granted a Subclass 494 (Provisional) visa. The visa is valid for 5 years. You may be either in Australia or overseas when your visa is granted.

Permanent Residence

Once you have held this visa at least three years, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, provided you meet all of the relevant criteria. This includes the requirement to have resided in a specified regional or designated regional area of Australia (in accordance with your nomination or sponsorship, as referred to above) for at least three years, met the minimum income requirements for that period and complied with the conditions of the SESR visa. The permanent visa does not require employer sponsorship.

Book a Consultation

Consult with a qualified Registered Migration Agent to be sure you are making the best decisions for your circumstances. Please book an appointment to discuss your Australian visa application with a Registered Migration Agent.