The Skilled Worker Regional Visa – All You Need to Know

The Skilled Worker Regional Visa (subclass 491) is a state sponsored visa available to skilled migrants holding an occupation on the skilled occupation list. Applicants must be invited to apply for this visa and be sponsored by a state or territory government agency or an eligible relative.

The Skilled Worker Visa allows the visa holder to live, work and study in regional Australia for five years. Holders of the subclass 491 visa can apply for permanent residency after three years. Immediate family members can be included in the application as dependents.

As this visa requires a nomination, the following four-stage application process applies:

1.       Skills Assessment – the applicant must apply for a skills assessment for their nominated occupation.

2.       Expression of Interest – the applicant submits an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Department of Home Affairs.

3.       Nomination by State / Territory – the visa applicant applies for a nomination by the State / Territory government. Applicants sponsored by a relative living in a regional area are not required to apply for nomination.

4.       Visa – After the applicant receives an invitation from the Department of Home Affairs, they can submit their visa application.

Eligibility Criteria
In order to be granted this visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:
–          Have a minimum pass mark in the points test
–          Have a positive skills assessment in the nominated occupation prior to submitting an Expression of Interest
–          Have relevant qualifications and work experience in their nominated occupation
–          Be under 45 years of age at the time of applying for the visa
–          Meet the minimum English language requirement
–          Meet health and character criteria
–          If the applicant is not sponsored by a state or territory then they must be sponsored by an eligible relative living in regional Australia.

The following is an example of how this visa is being used:

Small Business Owners Pathway
When it comes to new visas, the Queensland government is proactive in promoting visas and encouraging migrants to apply. As such they are promoting the small business owners pathway wholeheartedly where the subclass 491 visa is concerned.

Migrants who are currently living and operating a small business in regional Queensland and hold an occupation on the skilled occupation list may use this stream as a pathway to permanent residency.

In order to be eligible for this stream, certain criteria must me met.

Home Affairs Criteria:
–          Have a points test result of 65 or higher, inclusive of state nomination points
–          Have a positive skills assessment in the nominated occupation
–          Be under 45 years of age
–          Meet the minimum English language requirement
–          Submit relevant documentation is invited to lodge an application for the subclass 491 visa.

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland Criteria:
–          Have an occupation on the Department of Home Affairs Legislative instrument
–          Have prior business experience or qualifications to successfully run the business or have been previously involved in a family-run business.
–          Currently hold a visa that allows full-time work and operation of the business for a minimum of 35 hours per week.
–          Have purchased an existing business in regional Queensland.
–          Paid a minimum of $100,000 for the business.
–          Have 100% ownership of the business
–          Be trading in the business for six months prior to applying for the visa
–          Employ one employee who is an Australian resident. They must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
–          Provide evidence of sufficient settlement funds.

While the business does not need to be related to the visa holders nominated occupation, the applicant must have experience or a qualification to run the business successfully.

If you have any questions about the subclass 491 visa  or would like expert advice on any aspects of migration, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.