New Regional Visas
Two new visas with a pathway to apply for permanent residency
21 March 2019
The Australian Government has announced changes to our immigration program to strengthen our economy and boost our regional areas. The changes include:
- two new Skilled Regional Provisional visas introduced in November 2019
- a new permanent resident visa for new regional provisional visa holders
- a simplified definition of regional Australia for skilled migration purposes
- additional points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for migrants nominated to live and work in regional Australia
- extra options for international students who graduate from regional universities
These changes will help get the right skills into the right regions to support regional businesses and ensure local communities thrive.
New Skilled Regional Provisional Visas
The new skilled regional provisional visas will be for skilled migrants, and dependent family members, who want to live and work in Australia.
The two new skilled regional provisional visas introduced in November 2019 are:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
About these visas
- Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to live and work in regional Australia. Visas will be granted with a validity period of up to five years.
- Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa. The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa will start in November 2022.
- To be eligible for permanent residence, holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to show they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of the new Skilled Regional Provisional visa.
Great news for regional employers as they will have access to more regional occupations to sponsor migrants and priority processing of regional visa applications. There will also be additional points for certain points-tested migrants who are sponsored to settle in regional Australia.
- Employers in regional Australia, as well as State and Territory governments, who sponsor regional skilled migrants will have access to more occupations than equivalent non-regional visas.
- Based on current occupation lists, the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa will have access to over 450 more occupations than the closest non-regional equivalent visa
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa will have access to over 70 more occupations than the closest non-regional equivalent visa.
- Priority processing arrangements will be expanded to include all visa applications sponsored by regional employers and visa applicants who will live and work in regional Australia.
- Five additional points for regional nomination or sponsorship provide an extra incentive for potential migrants to consider settling in regional Australia.
Visa options for international students
This new plan provides for an additional Temporary Graduate visa with an extra year of post-study work rights for international students. They must:
- graduate from the regional campus of a registered university or institution with a higher education or postgraduate qualification; and
- maintain ongoing residence in a regional area while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa
The second Temporary Graduate visa will require ongoing residence in a regional area.
The definition of regional Australia for this purpose will be the same as the definition for skilled migration – all of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
As students need to graduate from a regional campus and then spend at least two years residing in a regional area to qualify, the additional Temporary Graduate visa will be available to the first eligible group of graduates from 2021.
Existing Temporary Graduate visa holders may be eligible, provided they can meet these requirements.
There is no change to student visa arrangements. This initiative simply provides an additional incentive for international students to study and live in regional Australia.
No change to existing visas
The two new regional visas in November 2019 won't effect people who already hold existing visas. Applications submitted before November 2019 will be processed as normal. There will be no impact on the permanent residence of current permanent visa holders.
Contact us if you have any questions about this new regional visas. There may be changes it the next coming weeks so do check for updates on this new initiative.