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Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa

About this 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 legal 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. 

Benefits of the Subclass 491 Visa

  • 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.

Invitation 

Subclass 491 visa applicants must be invited to apply under SkillSelect. The time of invitation date is critical for the assessment of whether a visa applicant meets the requirements for the grant of a Subclass 491 visa. All of the requirements related to an applicant’s indicative points score at time of invitation require the applicant to have demonstrated that these requirements were met at time of invitation, even if this evidence is provided after the visa application is made.

Skills Assessment

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 401 visa applicants skills  assesses whether the Subclass 491 visa applicant’s 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. 

English Language Requirement

Subclass 491 visa applicants are required to demonstrate that at the time of invitation to apply for a Subclass 491 visa, the applicant had competent English. Where applicable, the language test used to support the English language requirement must have been undertaken within the 3 years immediately before the date of the invitation to apply for the visa. 

Family Sponsorship 

Subclass 491 visa applicants who apply through the family sponsored pathway can only nominate an occupation on the MLTSSL (Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List). The family sponsor must be usually resident in a designated regional area of Australia, and be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • An Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • An eligible relative; including parents, children, siblings, aunt/uncle, nephew/niece, grandparent, or first cousin

Nomination by a State or Territory Government

The State and Territory Government authorities publish a list of occupations in short supply in their area. Each respective authority has their own set of criteria for deciding whether to nominate an applicant to apply for the Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional) Visa.