Australian Visas:

Skilled Work Regional Visa subclass 491



Why skilled workers choose Visa Jobs for their 491 Visa?

Understanding and applying for a Skilled Work Regional Visa subclass 491 isn’t an easy process. You are required to complete a Skills Assessment, provide proof of visa eligibility and then be invited to apply for the visa by one of the Australian states or territories.

Let our expert team simplify the process by assessing your point score, explaining the visa and what the best options for you are. Once you are happy this visa is the right choice for you we will help you complete the Skills Assessment, lodge your Expression of Interest and visa application.

About the Skilled Work Regional Visa subclass 491

The Skilled Work Regional visa subclass 491 is a provisional visa that allows you and your family to live, study and work in regional areas of Australia for up to five years. After three years, and as long as you are eligible, you will be able to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) through the Skilled Regional Visa subclass 191. 

Unlike employer sponsored visas, you will need to be nominated by either an Australian state or territory government, or by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area.

Points test

The 491 Visa like the 189 and 190 Visa, is a points tested visa, which means in order to be eligible you will need to score the minimum passmark, which is currently 65 points. The pass mark could increase for certain occupations if there are a large number of high quality applicants. If applying for a 491 Visa you will get an additional 15 points which is not available for the 189 or 190 Visa. This is great for anyone struggling to score the required 65 points or get invited through the 189 or 190 Visa.

Must be on state or territory occupation lists 

In addition to passing the points test, your occupation must be on the relevant Skilled Occupation List as well as on one of the state or territory occupation lists. Each Australian State and territory will publish a list of occupations that they struggle to find skilled workers for, in their region. Not only will the occupation list vary for each state or territory but specific requirements such as your level of English, experience or skills may also vary. It’s therefore recommended to check the occupation lists and requirements for each state or territory before submitting your Expression of interest (EOI)

Visa application by invite only

When you submit your EOI through SkillsSelect, your point score will be calculated. As long as you pass the points test, Australian states and territory government agencies will be able to view your EOI and point score, and decide if they wish to nominate you. They generally have an allocated number of invitations they can issue per month or period. They therefore allocate their invitations according to occupations they have skill shortages for and then to applicants with the highest point score.

When applying for a 491 Visa you can include dependent family members in your visa application either at the time of lodgement or once approved. Applying for this visa can be lodged whilst you are onshore in Australia or if you are offshore.




With the 491 Visa you can

Live and work in a regional area within your nominated state or territory for 5 years
Study
Work for any regional employer within your nominated state or territory
Bring your partner and family
Transition to Permanent Residency (PR) – if eligible  

 

 

491 Visa requirements 

Be under the age of 45 at the time of being invited to apply for the visa
Your chosen occupation must be on the relevant Skilled Occupation List and on one of the state or territory occupation lists
Have a positive and valid Skills Assessment in your nominated occupation*
Be nominated by an Australian state or territory government
Lodge an EOI and be invited to apply for the visa 
Qualify for the points test (currently 65 points)
Demonstrate a Competent Level of English or higher
Meet the health and character requirements

*There are some exemptions for applicants who are legal or medical practitioners, contact us for more information.


Occupations available through the 491 Visa

You will only be able to apply for the 491 Visa if your occupation is listed below and then also on one of the state or territory occupation lists. If your occupation is not listed below then the 491 visa will not be an option and you may want to check if alternative visas such as the TSS, 407 or Student visa are suitable.

Australian state and territory occupation lists and requirements


You can learn more about each state or territories current occupation list, any additional requirements and other helpful information about living and working in each state or territory, through their websites listed below:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

Queensland (QLD)

South Australia (SA)

Tasmania (TAS)

Victoria (VIC)

Western Australia (WA)




Where is classed as regional in Australia?

One of the key requirements for the 491 visa is that you live and work in a designated regional area within your nominating state or territory. For Immigration purposes everywhere in Australia is classed as regional except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can check which postcodes and areas are classed as regional for each state and territory through our article about regional areas in Australia.

 



Get sponsored by eligible relatives instead of a state or territory

For the 491 visa you have two options, be nominated by a state or territory, or be sponsored by an eligible relative who is:

Over the age of 18 

Usually lives in a designated regional area

Is either an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen

Be yours or your partner’s eligible relative 

Eligible relatives are classed as parents, child, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, nephew or niece, grandparent or first cousin. With the exception of parents, grandparents and first cousins, these relatives can be either blood related, adopted, or a step relation.

How does the 491 Visa lead to Permanent Residency

If your aim is to migrate to Australia long-term and become a Permanent Resident, then the 491 Visa offers a pathway. You will be able to apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191, as long as you meet the following visa requirements:

Whilst on the 491 visa you must live, work or study in your designated regional area for a minimum of three years, and

For the three years, you must be able to prove that your taxable income was at least $53,900 per year. If you have a partner included in your visa, only one of you will need to prove yearly earnings of $53,900.


The 491 Visa points test 

Once you submit your EOI you will be given an indicative points score based on the information you provide. If you do not score a minimum of 65 points you will not qualify and will not receive an invitation to apply for the visa, so it’s important you calculate your points score before submitting your EOI.

You can calculate your points score by using the general skilled self-assessment test, below explains how each section is scored. Calculating your own points should only be used as a guideline, it is always recommended to use a Registered Migration Agent who will be able to do a thorough assessment of your points and advise accordingly.

Calculating your point score

To calculate your current point score, answer the questions for each section below, keep a note of the points you score for each section and then add them up at the end. 

It’s important to remember that your final points score will be calculated at the time you are invited to apply for the visa. Therefore, the score you calculate today should only be used as an estimate as your answers for each question may change by the time you receive an invitation to apply for the visa.

Section 1: Visa Subclass

Which of the following visas are you planning on applying for?

Maximum score = 15 points

Section 2: Age

Which age bracket do you fall into?

Maximum score = 30 points

Section 3: English Language Skills

What is your English language ability?

Maximum score = 20 points

Section 4: Employment history

Part 1. Overseas Skilled Employed Experience

In the last 10 years, how many years of experience (from outside of Australia), do you have in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation?

Maximum score = 15 points

Part 2. Australian Skilled Employment Experience

In the last 10 years, how many years of Australian work experience do you have in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation?

Maximum score = 20 points

Note. You can only score a maximum score of 20 points in this section ‘Employment History.’ That means if your combined score for Part 1 and Part 2 is over 20 points, you will only be awarded 20 points.

Section 5: Educational Qualifications

What is your highest level of recognised qualification completed in Australia or from overseas?

Maximum score = 20 points

Section 6: Australian Study Requirement

Have you successfully completed studies in Australia for a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or trade qualification(s) that is relevant to your nominated occupation? The course must have taken a minimum of two years to complete, have been taught on a full-time basis and in English.

Maximum score = 5 points

Section 7: Study in Regional Australia or a low population growth area

Have you completed and been awarded a degree, diploma, advanced diploma or trade qualification(s), where the course took a minimum of two years to complete, was full-time, the campus of your institute was located in a regional area of Australia and you also lived in a regional area during the two years of study?

Maximum score = 5 points

Section 8: Specialist Education Qualification

Have you completed a Masters by research or PhD (Doctorate degree) by an Australian educational institute which included a minimum of two years of study in a specialist field (currently STEM and ICT)?

Maximum score = 10 points

Section 9: Professional Year in Australia

Since finishing studying, have you completed a professional year in Australia in your nominated occupation? Currently this is only available for Engineers, Accountants and ICT professionals, and must have been completed within four years of you being invited to apply for the visa.

Maximum score = 5 points

Section 10: Credentialed community language

Do you hold a recognised qualification in a credentialed community language? 

Recognised qualifications must be for translating or interpreting by the National Accreditation Authority for translators and Interpreters and include being;

  • accredited at a paraprofessional level or above, or
  • having a community language credential, or 
  • having been certified at a certified provisional level or above.

Maximum score = 5 points

Section 11: Partner skills

Which of the following applies to you:

Maximum score = 10 points

The 491 Visa process


The main costs for the 491 Visa

Visa Processing times for the 491 Visa


As for all Australian visas the processing times fluctuates each month based on a number of different factors such as volume, complexity and the time of year. The Department updates the estimated processing times for each visa every month but should only be used as a guideline.

To see the Department’s most up to date processing times for all visas, visit the Global Visa Processing Times page.

Updated: September 2020

 

Contact Visa Jobs for help getting your 491 Visa

If you are interested in learning more about the Skilled Work Visa subclass 491 feel free to contact us today. We can send you more information about the visa and help you decide if it’s the best option for you. We can also assist you with gathering your documents, completing the skills assessment and lodging your EOI.



Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – About the Skilled Work Regional Visa subclass 491 


Where is classed as designated regional areas?

For immigration purposes the majority of Australia is classed as designated regional areas with the exception of major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can check the full list of postcodes for specific designated regional areas here.

Who can I include in my visa application?

You can include your spouse, partner or dependent children (yours or your partners) that are under the age of 18 year old and unmarried.

For the family stream, which relatives can sponsor me?

You can be sponsored by relatives as long as they are over 18 years old, reside in a designated area of Australia, are an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, and be yours or your partner’s eligible relative. 

Eligible relatives include a parent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, grandparent or first cousin. With the exception grandparents and first cousins, relatives can be blood related, adopted, or a step relation.

If I include family members or a partner will they be able to work?

Any family members included will have full work rights meaning they are able to for any employer, in any occupation if they wish to work.

Can I apply for another 491 visa once mine expires?

No, you will not be able to apply for another 491 visa, however, you may be eligible to apply for a PR visa or another type of visa.

Can I apply for the 491 visa if I am older than 45?

You will not be able to apply for this visa if you are older than 45 years old. You must receive your invitation to apply for the visa before turning 45 years old.

Will permanent residency be an option?

The 491 visa can lead to permanent residency through the Skilled Residence Visa subclass 191, as long as you meet the visa requirements. These include:

    • Living, working or studying in a designated regional area for at least three years whilst on a 491 visa, and
    • You can prove you have earned at least $53,900 AUD annually for three years. If a partner is included in your 491 application, only one of you will be required to meet this minimum salary for the three years.
Can I apply for a 491 visa if I am outside of Australia?

Yes, you can either apply whilst onshore or offshore.

What occupations are available through the 491 visa?

You will need to first make sure your occupation is available on the relevant skilled occupation list. You will then also need to check each state or regional area as they will have their own list of occupations that they will allow you to apply for.

How long is the processing time for the 491 visa?

As with all Australian visas processing times vary depending on factors such as the number of applications lodged and the complexity of them. Each month the processing times are updated to reflect the previous months processing times. You can check the current processing times here.

Do I have to have a job offer to be granted the 491 visa?

No, you do not require an employer to sponsor you in order to be granted a 491 visa. However, there are a number of states that have additional requirements such as you needing to be living and working within that state in order for an approved nomination. Other states may also award additional points if you are able to get an official offer of employment. You will need to make sure you check each state’s requirements.

Can you apply for a different visa once I’m approved a 491 visa?

The aim of the 491 visa is to encourage skilled workers to relocate into regional areas to help with skill shortages. Therefore there are a number of visas that you will not be able to apply for whilst holding a 491 visa, these include 189, 190 and 186 visas.


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