The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa

** This visa was introduced on 16 November 2019 and has superseded the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 visa **

Who should apply for 491 visa?

491 Visa is for skilled applicants that wish to live and work in regional Australia for up to five years and does provide a permanent residency pathway. Applicants are not required to have an employer to sponsor them, but do need to be nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia.

The 491 Visa latest news can be checked here >>

Subclass 491 visa holders must live and work in a designated regional area of Australia for the duration of the visa (up to five years).

Where is regional area in Australia? Why should we study in regional Area?

A regional Area in Australia is any city that falls beyond Australia’s major capital cities areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

Popular Cities or regional centres are Adelaide, Gold Coast, Perth, Newcastle or Hobart and Darwin.

If you start studying in regional area, you can receive a lot of benefits such as:

  • Extra year on post study work visa 485
  • Enjoy more straightforward nomination requirements for Australian Skilled Visa
  • Extra 5 points for studying and living in regional area

Perth Regional Area of Australia for Skilled Visa 491

491 Visa to Permanent Residency Visa 191 Australia

191 Visa is expected to be announced in November 2022. Anyone who has collected enough 3 years living and working and the income requirement will be eligible to apply for 191 visa.

In order to be eligible for permanent residency 191 visa the applicant must:

- Continue to live and work in regional Australia for at least three years before applying

- Meet the minimum employment and taxable income requirements (currently set at $53,900 per annum).

There are two visa types to choose from on your 491 visa pathway, the first being the main applicant and the second being what's called a Subsequent Entrant.
(This visa is for a member of the family unit of someone who holds a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)).

491 visa benefits and Why is it so popular?

More occupations available for 491 Visa Australia

For 189 Skilled independent Visa, you must work in an occupation that is listed in Medium and Long term strategic skilled list (MLTSSL).

190 visa applicants can access both MLTSSL and Short term skilled occupation list (STSOL).

491 visa applicants can get access to larger skilled occupation list which includes the above two plus occupations in Regional Occupation List (ROL).

491 visa holders are eligible to apply for Medicare Australia

Although 491 visa is only a temporary 5 year working visa with a pathway to Permanent Residency 191 Visa, all applicants who have applied for the visa may be eligible for Medicare, which helps with the costs of seeing a doctor, getting medicines and accessing other health services. Medicare does not cover all health related expenses and limits of coverage do apply.

Visa holders should understand these limitations and assess their private health insurance options before arrival. Visit the Medicare website for further information.

Regional 491 Visa nomination requirement is much easier than the visa 190

It is important that Australian Government is trying to push skilled migrants to live and work in regional area of Australia.

This makes the requirement for 491 nomination is a lot easier than 190 visa which people can get the 190 nomination by living and working in metro areas like Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

So that, for whom who cannot get 190 in metro areas they might have to move to regional areas to seek for more permanent residency options in Australia.

491 visa NSW and 190 Visa NSW are quite straightforward.

Let's take 491 visa South Australia as an example: Chef in South Australia need 12 months work experience to get 190 visa. However, they only need to work 3-6 months depending on the location to get 491 visa as a chef.

Lower EOI points required for 491 visa

Another good thing for 491 visa appliant is you only  need to get 50 points on your own because state gives you 15 points as being nominated for 491 visa application.

There are still arguments about 491 and 190 visa. Each visa has its own benefits like 190 visa a direct Permanent residency while 491 visa is only temporary and the waiting time to Australian PR could be up to 4  years or more (3 years maintaining income threshold required and processing time for 191 Visa).

However, with someone who is struggling with NSW state nomination, Victoria State Nomination or QLD state nomination because they are living and working in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, they might be interested in getting a 491 visa in regional area of Australia.

Skilled Visa Backlog post-pandemic - Visa 491, Visa 489 and Visa 190

Because of its exceptional popular plus the pandemic happened in 2020 to mid 2022 that makes the 491 visa processing time longer than initial expectation.

There is a huge backlog for skilled visa as of now in July 2022 which has been addressed as skills crisis by the labor government. 

The Department of Home Affairs has redirected resources and brought on new staff to address its visa backlog, as concerns persisst over the impact on applicants and businesses

What are the main Visa 491 Requirements?

The subclass 491 visa, like other Australian general skilled migration visas, is points tested with a minimum pass mark of 65, but there are some minimum requirements you need to meet. Some of the key ones are:

  • Be under 45 years of age at the time of the visa application

  • Be nominated by a State or Territory government (this is the most popular pathyway) or sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia. They must be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen

  • Obtained a positive skills assessment for an occupation on the relevant list:

    • For State or Territory government nomination your occupation must be on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) OR the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
      Your occupation must also be available in the state or territory you apply to for nomination.Visit the ANZCO list here to find out if your occupation is listed.
    • For family sponsorship your occupation must be on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
  • Have at least competent English - e.g. IELTS 6.0 for all bands or equivalent (higher scores may be required to be awarded additional points)

  • Score at least 65 points from the Point Test. While this is the minimum score, it is important to keep in mind that some popular occupations are extremely competitive and difficult to receive a state nomination for example Accounting now has a point requirement of 90. You can keep up to date the latest nomination news and adjust

It is important to remember that each state application criteria is different so it is essential that you research the requirements for each state before making your decision. 

Each state nomination requirement for 491 Visa is coming soon. All states are waiting for their allocations from the Federal Government in order to kick start their new Skilled Migration program.

Skilled Occupation List and Skills Requirements for the 491 Visa

All 491 visa applications require a POSITIVE skills assessment.

It does not matter how many work experience you are required to apply for state nomination. These are two different criteria before you apply for the visa 491 skilled regional.

Each occupation has its own Skill assessing authorities.
With the number of skills assessment programs and bodies currently available, it is important that you ensure you obtain the correct skills assessment for your occupation and for the application you are pursuing.
Notably, a provisional skills assessment, such as would be provided for a 485 visa, is not suitable for a 491 visa application.

Australian PR Points Calculation 

What are the 491 visa conditions that might be attached?

  • You must not marry or enter into a de facto relationship before entry
    The Department of Home Affairs might cancel your visa if they find out that you were engaged, married or in a de facto relationship before we granted you the visa but did not disclose this information in your application. You need to notify the department if your circumstances change.

  • Notify the department of home affairs if your passport or contact details change
    You are required to update your contact information with the department if any of your contact details Home and work address, contract email, phone number, passport information, your employer. 

  • Live, study and work in a designated regional area
    While you are in Australia, you must live, study and work in an area that is on the list of designated regional areas within the state that provided you nomination. For more information regarding Designated Area Migration Agreement Zones click here.

  • Provide evidence of your live, study or work address if requested
    If the Department sends you a letter requesting you to providing proof of your contact information ie. home address, your employers's address, your work address, education institution address.
    You will have 28 days to return this documentation to the department.

  • You must attend an interview if we ask you to in a letter
    If you are invited to attend an interview with the Department are a require to attend.


How much is a 491 visa application fee?

The current application charges for a 491 visa are:

Details Costs (AUD)
Best application charge $4,045   
Secondary applicant over 18 application charge (such as your spouse or dependent adult children under 23) $2,025
Secondary applicant under 18 charge $1,010

Application charges are adjusted at the beginning of each financial year and tend to increase by a modest amount each time.

Each State charges is a varying amount to process an application for state/ territory nomination.

At time of publication, these can be summarised as follows:

State or Territory  Cost of 491 state nomination application (AUD) With GST
South Australia $220/$220

Northern Territory

Victoria $0/$0
New South Wales $300/$330
Queensland $200/$220
Western Australia $200/$200


What is the application process?

  1. Check eligibility against points test

  2. Obtain positive skills assessment and required English test results

  3. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect

  4. Apply for State or Territory government nomination (if applying through this pathway)

  5. Submit visa application within 60 days of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and include all supporting documents for the application

Do note that this is a simplified overview of the steps involved. Preparing and providing the right documents and information as required is an important factor in ensuring your application is processed smoothly.


How can Work Visa Lawyers help?

Work Visa Lawyers is highly experienced in all parts of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa application process. We are able to assist with all aspects of the application, and can also advise on complications in relation to:

  • skills assessments

  • nominating the appropriate ANZSCO code

  • state/territory nomination applications

  • difficulties in obtaining documents to demonstrate work experience or family relationships

  • upcoming deadlines which will affect your points total, such as age or expiring documents. We prepare your application efficiently to enable your visa application to be submitted as quickly as possible

Work Visa Lawyers will provide an eligibility assessment before advising you to proceed with a visa application.

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

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