Skilled Regional Work Visa for Australia (subclass 491)

The Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) Programme

Skilled Visas for Australia
•    Am I eligible to apply for a Skilled Regional visa for Australia?
•    How can Concept Australia help me apply?
•    What services can I expect to receive from Concept Australia?
•    Why should I use a professional MARA Registered Migration Agent?
•    How much does it cost to apply for a GSM visa for Australia?
•    How long will it take for my visa to be granted?
•    Free Preliminary Assessment
•    SKYPE or personal consultations

Am I eligible to apply for a Skilled Regional Work visa (subclass 491) for Australia?

The Skilled Regional Work visa for Australia (subclass 491 - valid for 5 years) is for applicants who are willing to live, work and study in a regional area of Australia (anywhere except Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane) for a minimum of 3 years.

The Skilled Regional Work visa (subclass 491) comprises of 2 pathways:

1 - Nomination by a state or territory government

Each state and territory publishes a list of occupations available for nomination approval and has a wide range of selection criteria which, will generally be determined by factors such as the number of years work experience, specialised skills, employability, English language skills, relatives already residing in the state or territory and the financial capacity to settle in the state or territory.

2 - Sponsorship by a close relative

This pathway requires you to be sponsored by a close relative who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen who is settled in a Designated regional area of Australia.In the invitation round published on 11 December 2019 200 invitations were issued to applicants with 95 points whose Date of Effect was 04 December 2019.

Pathway to permanent residence

Holders of a subclass 491 visa (primary applicant, spouse and children) will become eligible to apply for permanent residence (subclass 191 - Skilled Regional visa) from 16 November 2022 providing they have lived, worked (with a minimum annual taxable income of $53,900) and studied in a designated regional area of Australia for a minimum of 3 years.

You must be able to meet the following Department of Home Affairs (DHA) criteria

  • Have a positive skills assessment;
  • Satisfy the points test;
  • Be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation;
  • Have competent English;
  • Submit an Expression of Interest via SkillSelect;
  • Be nominated by a state or territory government or sponsored by a relative;
  • Be invited by the DHA to apply for a subclass 491 visa for Australia
  • Satisfy health and character requirements


Applicants must submit an application through SkillSelect which is the DHA online visa application system. Once you have received a positive skills assessment from an Australian assessing authority and by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) you can generate points for the following factors:

  1. Your age
  2. Being a single applicant
  3. Recognised qualifications
  4. Employment
  5. English language skills (via a test)
  6. Being nominated by a state/territory or relative
  7. Partner skills
  8. Study in Australia
  9. Specialist Education qualifications
  10. Accredited language skills
  11. Professional year in Australia

For information on criteria applied by the state and territory governments please click on the links below:

New South Wales


South Australia



Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

How can Concept Australia help me to apply for a subclass 491 visa?

The most Frequently Asked Questions we receive from skilled applicants are:
1.    Will my skills or work experience be recognised in Australia?
2.    How much work experience can I claim under the Australian points test?
3.    What evidence do I need to submit in support of my employment
4.    How detailed do my work statements need to be?
5.    What is the benefit of being nominated by an Australian state or territory government?

For peace of mind we can offer you the benefit of our knowledge and experience so as to ensure all aspects of the visa process are addressed at an early stage before you commence on your visa journey. This will ensure that there are no hidden barriers you may have to face and that you have a realistic chance of being nominated and subsequently being invited by the DHA to apply for a Skilled Regional Work visa for Australia. 

What services can I expect to receive from Concept Australia?

Concept Australia has been assisting people since 1991 to obtain visas to reside in Australia.  All of our staff are based permanently in the UK and have previously been employed by the Department of Home Affairs. Concept Australia works directly with its clients and does not sub-contract work out to other companies or individuals. We will take responsibility for the entire management of your application so as to ensure that your case runs as smoothly as possible. Our services include:

•    Advising whether you qualify for a visa and recommending the best pathway
•    Identifying the correct ANZSCO occupation to nominate for skills assessment
•    Completing your skills assessment form  
•    Advising what work experience can be claimed under the points test
•    Outlining nomination/sponsorship criteria
•    Lodging your EOI once your skills have been recognised for migration purposes
•    Ensuring claims made in your EOI can be substantiated
•    Completing and submitting your visa application form for Australia
•    Uploading all relevant documents to the online ImmiAccount
•    Managing your application until your Skilled Regional visa for Australia is decided

Why should I only use an agent registered with MARA?

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) is managed by the DHA who is responsible for monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents both in and outside Australia. MARA approves continuing professional development activities of all registered agents to ensure they maintain up-to-date knowledge of migration law and procedure so that only the highest level of advice and assistance is provided to prospective applicants.

The DHA strongly advise that if you need assistance with the visa process that you should only appoint an agent who is registered with the MARA. A person who is not registered cannot offer you legal protection and you run the risk of being exposed to migration fraud by someone who has limited knowledge on immigration procedures and who is not accountable for his/her actions.

How much does it cost to apply for a Skilled Regional visa for Australia?

The Department of Home Affairs charge a fee of AUD4,045 for the primary applicant, AUD2,025 for the spouse and AUD1,010 for each dependent child. Other costs you will incur on your visa journey include skills assessment, State or territory nomination and English language test (if applicable), health and character checks.

Concept Australia’s fees are charged in stages as we undertake the preparation and completion of forms on your behalf and covers all persons included in the visa application:

Stage 1 - £695 + VAT = £834 on engagement of our services. Note: If you attended a consultation the fee paid to Concept Australia will be deducted from stage 1;

Stage 2 - £595 + VAT = £714 when your application has been sent to the assessing authority or once the skills assessment has been approved;

Stage 3 - £295 + VAT = £354 when we commence the preparation of your application for nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a relative;

Stage 4 - £495 + VAT = £594  when we submit your visa application to the DHA.

How long will it take for my visa to be granted?

The processing timetable can be influenced by a number of factors such as the nominated occupation, sitting an English language test, applying for state or territory nomination or your points score. Generally, the overall timetable is between 9 – 12 months and in our experience the length of time is determined by the quality of documents presented throughout the entire process.  

Free preliminary assessment

Concept Australia can offer you a free preliminary assessment and advise you in plain English whether you have a realistic chance of being granted a visa to reside in Australia.
If you would like to know how we can assist you in obtaining your skilled visa, please telephone Concept Australia on 020 8468 1076) or complete the Enquiry form below and submit your details to Concept Australia.

Personal or SKYPE consultations

If we have assessed that you have the potential to be granted a subclass 491 visa and you would like to find out more, the next step is to arrange a no-obligation consultation which will not only provide you with an opportunity to ask key questions about the visa process but also enable us to explain how the migration regulations will be applied to you. A small fee is charged for the consultation which will be deducted from our overall fee should you decide to appoint Concept Australia as your migration agent. Consultations are conducted in our offices in the London Borough of Bromley but if you are unable to travel to see us, we can arrange a SKYPE appointment at a mutually convenient time.



> Make an Enquiry

What visa options are there?

Choose the best option for you:



What is SkillSelect?

SkillSelect is an online service for skilled workers that helps Australia manage its skilled migration program and address skill shortages.

Your visa options include applying independently or being nominated by a state or territory government or employer or being sponsored by a close relative living in a designated area of Australia.

What is the points test?

If you apply for a General Skilled Migration visa you will need to pass the points test. The points test is used to help Australia select people who have recognised skills. In the UK, most applicants will generate points for their age, English (via a test), qualifications, work experience, nomination by a state/territory government or sponsorship from a close relative residing in a designated area of Australia. Points can also be awarded for Professional year, Australian study, Credentialed community language, studying and living in regional Australia and partner skills.


What is an Expression of Interest and invitation?

An expression of Interest (EOI) is an online form in SkillSelect which enables you to record specific information about your circumstances. This information has the potential to lead to an invitation to lodge a skilled application but is also be made available to state and territory governments and employers which may result in a nomination being lodged on your behalf. An invitation is issued through SkillSelect which allows migrants to apply for a General Skilled Migration visa for Australia. 


What is an occupation ceiling?

An occupation ceiling is a limit on the number of invitations that can be issued through SkillSelect each program year which runs from 01 July until 30 June. When an occupational ceiling is reached, no more invitations will be issued during the program year so as to ensure that the migration program is not dominated by a small number of occupations. Occupational ceilings do not apply to state or territory nominated applications.

Additionally, where high numbers of EOI's are received for certain occupations, invitations will be issued on a pro-rata basis and applicants will have to score a higher number of points in order to receive an invitation. 


What is a Designated area of Australia?

Designated areas of Australia are defined by postcode and include the entire states of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales (except Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong) Queensland (  anywhere outside the Brisbane metropolitan area) and the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. If your nominated occupation is on the Skilled Occupations List you can be sponsored by a close relative under the Skilled Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 489). The visa is valid for a period of 4 years but after 2 years you can apply for a permanent visa (subclass 887) providing you have lived for 2 years and worked full-time for 1 year in a designated area of Australia.


What is a Regional and low population-growth metropolitan area of Australia?

Regional and low population-growth metropolitan areas are also defined by postcode and include the entire states of South Australia and Tasmania plus the Northern Territory, Western Australia (except Perth and the surrounding areas), Victoria (except Melbourne), Queensland (except the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast), New South Wales (except Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong), Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government under visa subclass 489 and agree to live and work in the region for a period of 2 years. The visa is valid for a period of 4 years but after 2 years you can apply for a permanent visa (subclass 887) providing you have lived for 2 years and worked full-time for 1 year in the regional or low growth area of Australia.


Do I need to undertake an English language test?

If you have a passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland you are regarded as having Vocational or Competent English and therefore you will not be required to present evidence of your English language skills. You will, however, need to sit an English language test if your circumstances dictate that you need to claim points for this factor or if your nominated occupation requires a certain level of English. The tests are designed to assess your English language ability and you are able to claim 10 points for Proficient English and 20 points for Superior English.The vast majority of applicants will, however, need to sit an English language test to claim the required number of points to receive an invitation under SkillSelect.


Will my skills be recognised by an assessing authority if I do not have any qualifications?

This will depend on your nominated occupation and which assessing authority is responsible for assessing your skills. Most professional occupations require an education level of a degree or higher diploma with a combination of relevant work experience. Specific occupations such as Teachers, Nurses and Engineers require relevant qualifications whereas  senior managers and IT professionals can be assessed on the basis of work experience or accountants if they are a member of a recognised accounting body. Trades-persons assessed by Vetassess can be considered with a combination of informal training and work experience or work experience only but Trades Recognition Australia require formal training plus 3 years post qualification work experience.    


What are the benefits of using a MARA registered migration agent?

The decision to engage a migration agent is a personal choice which will depend on the complexity of your visa application and whether you are confident that you have fully understood all the rules and regulations which will be applied to your case.

If you do need assistance with the visa process, the Department of Home Affairs strongly recommend that you appoint an agent who is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). A registered migration agent must satisfy a strict code of conduct and:

  • maintain current knowledge of migration law and procedure
  • keep a professional library with direct access to migration regulations via Legend
  • undertake continuous professional development in order to maintain knowledge of migration regulations and policy


An agent who is not registered with MARA cannot offer you any legal protection and is not accountable for his/her actions and therefore might:

  • make false claims about your chances of success
  • give you incorrect advice
  • have limited knowledge about current Australian visa legislation and procedures
  • increase your risk of being exposed to migration fraud
  • charge fees which are unreasonable and excessive.
What is the difference between the MLTSSL and the STSOL

If your nominated occupation features on the MLTSSL you can lodge an application under visa sub classes 189 (Skilled Independent), 190 (Skilled Nominated with the support of a state or territory government) or subclass 489 (Skilled Regional (Provisional) with either nomination by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a close relative settled in a designated area of Australia).

If your occupation only feature on the STSOL you must be nominated by a state or territory government or by an employer. You will not be able to apply under subclass 189 and you cannot be sponsored by a close relative.


What is an ANZSCO code?

ANZSCO is the Australian and New Zealand Classification of Occupations. All skilled occupations have been given an ANZSCO code to help with the assessment process. Each occupation outlines the main tasks performed in your nominated occupation and includes specialisations and whether licensing or registration may be required in Australia.


Can I combine my overseas work experience with my Australian work experience?

You can claim work experience (up to a maximum of 20 points) for both overseas and Australian work experience in the past 10 years but you cannot combine the two together. For example, if you completed two and a half years overseas work experience and then travelled to Australia on  a working holiday and was employed for six months you could not claim 5 points for evidencing a total of 3 years work experience. You would either need to have completed 3 years overseas work experience or 1 years work experience in Australia in order to claim the 5 points.

It is also important to remember that any work experience claimed whilst you were in Australia must be lawful and in accordance with any conditions endorsed on your visa grant notice.


Skilled Regional Visa Enquiry Form

If you are considering applying for a Skilled Regional visa for Australia (subclass 489), please complete and submit the form below. The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will not be stored onto a data-base or distributed to third parties.





SkillSelect – Invitation rounds

SkillSelect first allocates available places to Skilled – Independent (subclass 189) visas and then remaining to Skilled – Regional...


What our clients are saying

Thank you so much Pippa for your hard work and help in assisting us through the whole process. I cannot stress how valuable Concept Australia has been in securing our visa, your professionalism and dedication is above and beyond. I will happily endorse Concept Australia to any family and friends.