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New Skilled Regional Visas Now in Effect

New regional visa scheme

On 16 November 2019, the Government replaced the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) visas 187 and 489 with a new regional visa scheme, to encourage people to move outside of the main capital cities in Australia.

Regional Australia is now designated as most locations outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Although post codes define all regional areas, most areas outside these major cities are included. This means that for applicants for these visas, they have access to a wider range of occupations compared to non-regional areas.

There are three new regional skilled visas on offer. The first two are temporary visas and the third is a permanent residency option, available to those who hold one of the temporary visas from November 2022.

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491)

This visa is very similar to the 489 it replaces and has the following features:

  • an increased 5 year term
  • applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • applicants must be nominated by a State or Territory government, or sponsored by an eligible family member living in regional Australia
  • meet the General Skilled Migration points test of 65
  • additional points are available for those who are single and for those with a skilled partner
  • all applicants (including partners and children) must live, work and study only in a designated regional area for 3 years to be eligible for permanent residency applicants can move between regional areas)
  • Priority processing for these visa applications

This is a temporary visa with a pathway to permanent residency.

Holders of the visa will have access to Medicare.

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 494)

Similar to the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS) (subclass 482), this visa requires an employer sponsor and has the following features:

  • A five year term
  • Applicants must have an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • An approved sponsor employer must nominate the applicant for the position
  • Positions must be full time and likely to exist for at least 5 years
  • The position must have an annual market salary of at least $53,900 and be certified by a Regional Certifying Body as meeting that requirement
  • Applicants must have at least 3 years work experience in the occupation and a skills assessment (unless they have held a sc457 or sc482 visa for the occupation before)
  • To apply for permanent residency, applicants must show earnings of at least $53,900 for at least three years.

This is a temporary visa with a pathway to permanent residency.

Holders of the visa will have access to Medicare.

Both these temporary visas have restrictions on applying for certain permanent residency visas within the first three years, such as the Partner/Spouse visa, Skilled Independent visa and others.


The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa (subclass 191)

This visa offers a new permanent residency pathway for applicants’ holdings the above-mentioned 491 and 494 visas, from 16 November 2022.

Applicants must have lived and worked in regional Australia for 3 years and complied with all their visa conditions.

This visa does not require:

  • Your occupation to be on any occupation list;
  • Sponsorship by an employer;
  • A health assessment


If you require specific advice on your visa options, please contact us.
Wangzhang Chew
Senior Associate
MARN 1909960


Please note that this article has been prepared by Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.

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