Skilled Work Regional visa - subclass 491


The new subclass 491 will come into effect on 16 November 2019 and will have similar characteristics to the subclass 489 visa.

Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government or sponsorship from a close relative residing in a designated area of Australia and will be able to reside anywhere in Australia except, the Metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

The visa will be valid for 5 years and applicants and family members will be subject to more stringent monitoring to ensure that they only live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia for a period of 3 years.

Pathway to permanent residence

After 3 years of holding  a subclass 491 visa, applicants can apply for permanent residence (subclass 191 - Skilled Regional) but must have complied with all the conditions of the subclass 491 visa including presenting evidence of three years tax assessment notices with an annual income of $53,900.

Changes to the points test

There are also changes being introduced to the points test:

  • If you have a partner who has a valid skills assessment with competent English, he/she will be able to add 10 points rather than 5 to the overall points total;
  • If you do not have a partner or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will also be able to claim 10 points;
  • If you have a partner who has competent English only, you will be able to claim 5 points;
  • Specialist education points for studying in Australia in a Master or PhD course with certain fields defined in CRICOS will increase from 5 to 10 points;
  • Designated regional nomination or sponsorship points will also increase from 10 to 15.


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