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Skilled Regional Visas

The much-anticipated provisional Regional Skilled visas are open for business although not all states have released their occupation lists nor are open for receiving 491 nominations.

Whilst there is an increase in occupations, there has also been an announcement to increase the cap by an additional 2,000 places for the program year ending 30 June 2020, taking it to 25,000 places for the skilled regional visa.

There are five different occupation lists for the Skilled Regional Visas, so be vigilant that you are paying close attention to which is the correct occupation list for you.

There will be priority processing given to all regional visa applications.

Designated Regional areas are defined by their postcodes and there are different occupation lists for each of the 491 and 494 visa subclasses and visa streams.

Work rights are automatically applied to onshore applicants granted a Bridging Visa A.

Medicare access is provided to Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visa holders and not available until the visa is granted.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Subclass 494 Visa

There are two steams: employer sponsored and labour agreement stream.

There are now 650 occupations under the Subclass 494 visa which are listed under the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) & Regional Occupation List (ROL).

To qualify for this visa, you will require to be sponsored by an employer located in a regional area, a positive skills assessment, three years of work experience, competent English and be offered a salary that meets the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR).

The AMSR and the nominee’s guaranteed monetary earnings must be equal to or greater than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which is currently $53,900.

This is a provisional visa, replacing the Regional Sponsored Migration (187) visa that leads to a pathway to permanent residency once you’ve worked and lived in a regional area for a minimum of three years.

What you can do with this visa:

You will need:


  1. Exemption from age requirement
    Applicants are not required to have been under 45 for the purposes of Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas in the Employer Sponsored stream in any of the following circumstances:
    (a) the applicants are academic applicants;
    (b) the applicants are regional medical practitioner applicants;
    (c) the applicants are science applicants;
    (d) the applicants are Subclass 444/Subclass 461 workers;
    (e) the applicants are Subclass 457/Subclass 482 workers.
  2. Exemption from skills and employment history requirements
    For the purposes of Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)) visas in the Employer Sponsored stream in either of the following circumstances:(a) the applicants are academic applicants;
    (b) the applicants are Subclass 444/461 workers.

Skilled Work Regional Subclass 491 Visa

This is a points-tested provisional visa that provides for skilled workers to live and work in a regional area of Australia for up to five years.  Sponsorship is required either by a state or territory government or by an Australian relative residing permanently in a designated regional area.

There are two streams: state and territory nominated (STN) and family sponsored.

There are 504 occupations available under Subclass 491 but there are different occupation lists for the two different streams.

For State Territory Nominated (STN) – MLTSSL, STSOL and the ROL

For Family Sponsored stream – MLTSSL only

The same as the Subclass 190, requires an applicant to receive an invitation through an Expression of Interest.

The Subclass 491 visa has replaced the Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa.

Like the Subclass 494 visa, there will be an opportunity to apply for permanent residence if the 491 visa holder has been living and working in a regional area for a minimum of three years.

What you can do with this visa:

You will need:

Sponsorship & Nomination Eligibility

Be Nominated or Sponsored:  You must be either nominated by an Australian state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative.

All state and territory government agencies have their own criteria for deciding who they will nominate.

Sponsorship by an Eligible Relative
Your sponsor must:

An Eligible Relative can be:

Update on State Occupation Lists

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)


Northern Territory


Planning to open the entire skilled program in the coming weeks including for both Subclass 491 and Subclass 190.

The following occupations are removed from the QLD occupation list, including many IT & accounting occupations.

Onshore and Offshore -IT

Onshore –Accounting

Offshore -Engineering

South Australia






Western Australia

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa Subclass 191

This visa is a permanent visa for people who have lived, worked and studied in a designated regional area Australia whilst the holder of a Subclass 491 or 494 visa for a minimum of three years.

Opens from 16 November 2022.

You must:


The advantage will be for those who are in an occupation that didn’t previously provide a pathway to permanent residency although the key to a successful invitation will be having the relevant work experience and good English language ability to secure employment.

Together with the incentive of permanent residency, the regional visa holders will have access to Medicare and a lower cost of living for families.

The key is being able to understand the different occupation lists and whether you can meet the criteria for gaining a successful skills assessment.

We recommend seeking advice from a registered migration agent before seeking to lodge an Expression of Interest.

Published Wed 20 November 2019. Tags: ,


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