Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) Visa

The Subclass 491 visa will enable eligible skilled workers and their families to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia for 5 years. The 491 visa was designed to address labour market shortages in regional Australia by encouraging greater Skilled Migration to regional Australia. 

The definition of ‘Regional Australia’ was amended on 16 November 2019 to include all of Australia except for the capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

The Subclass 491 is a 5-year provisional (temporary) visa with a pathway to permanent residence via the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled – Regional) visa. Subclass 491 Visa holders will be eligible to apply for Australian Permanent Residence after having lived and worked in Regional Australia for 3 years. 

Subclass 491 visa applicants must be nominated by –

  • an Australian state or territory government agency, or
  • sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area and be invited to apply for the visa, following submission of an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect. 

Subclass 491 Visa Benefits

  • Priority processing of regional skilled migration applications.
  • Skilled regional visa holders are eligible for Medicare.
  • More points available under the revised points test for General Skilled Migration.
  • Access to full work rights in Australia.

Application Process

In order to qualify for an invitation to apply for this visa, you must first lodge an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) which sets out how you meet the requirements for the Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional) Provisional visa.

Step 1: Eligibility Assessment

Our first step is to conduct an initial assessment of your eligibility for the subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa. This first step involves the following –

  • your qualifications and work experience are assessed to determine which MLTSSL occupation(s) you may be eligible to nominate.
  • your eligibility for a skills assessment (see below) is assessed with reference to relevant assessing authority criteria.
  • your ability to meet the points test threshold is determined.
  • your immigration status is checked on VEVO (onshore clients only).
  • review of your English language and other circumstances, to establish whether or not you are likely to meet the relevant requirements.
  • risks associated with your application are identified by your registered migration agent.

Your visa eligibility is confirmed by a Registered Migration Agent. Eligible applicants receive advice on the cost, procedure, estimated timeframes, and any other relevant matter.

Step 2: Skills Assessment

Skills assessments are issued by relevant authorities who determine whether your skills meet the standards they set to work in a relevant occupation.

For each skilled occupation listed on the STSOL and MLTSSL, the Department of Home Affairs has specified the authorities that must carry out skills assessments for that occupation.

Subclass 491 visa applicants must obtain a positive skill assessment in an occupation on the relevant Skilled occupation list. 

The relevant occupation list for family-sponsored applicants is the Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL). The occupation list for State/Territory nominated applicants is the MLTSSL, the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL), and a State/Territory Occupation List. 

The relevant assessing authority will assess whether a Subclass 491 visa applicants skills are suitable for the nominated occupation, and provides written advice as to the outcome of the assessment. Skills assessments are valid for three years from the date of assessment unless a shorter period is specified on the assessment. 

Step 3: Expression of Interest

In order to qualify for an invitation to apply for this visa, you must first lodge an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) which sets out how you meet the requirements for the Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional) Provisional visa.

SkillSelect is an online service that enables skilled workers or business persons from overseas to express their interest in migrating to Australia. Invitations to apply for a Subclass 491 visa are sent through SkillSelct, and are based upon a ranking of the attributes of the applicants.

Minimum requirement Skilled Independent (189), Skilled Nominated (190) and
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (491)
189 Skilled Independent 190 State/Territory nominated 491 State/Territory nominated 491 Regional sponsored
Age <45 <45 <45 <45
Occupation MLTSSL STSOL/MLTSSL STSOL/MLTSSL/ ROL MLTSSL
Skills assessment Required Required Required Required
English language ability Competent and valid Competent and valid Competent and valid Competent and valid
Points Test Yes Yes Yes Yes
State/Territory government nomination No Yes Yes No
Family sponsorship No No No Yes
Willingness to reside in regional Australia No No Yes Yes

Step 4: State/Territory Nomination

Anyone who wishes to apply for this visa must first be nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency before they can be invited to lodge an application by the Department of Home Affairs.

Once your EOI has been lodged, the government agency of the State or Territory that you have chosen will review your EOI to determine whether or not you meet their criteria for nomination. Invitations are issued on an ongoing basis with the top ranking candidates in each occupation being invited to apply.

Step 3: Visa Application

You can submit your visa application once you have obtained a State/Territory nomination, and the Department of Home Affairs has invited you to apply for the subclass 491 visa. Your visa application must be logded within the validity period specified in the invitation issued in SkillSelect.

Immigration Advice

If you would like to speak with a Registered Migration Agent, we recommend booking an appointment. All new enquiries are subject to our consultation policy. Please read and understand our consultation policy before you make an appointment.