Skilled work regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
Find out all you need to know about the subclass 491 visa, processing time, eligibility and estimated fees
What is the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 visa?
This is a provisional visa. It’s for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia.
With the 491 visa, you can:
- stay in Australia for 5 years
- live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia in line with your visa conditions. A simplified definition of regional Australia for skilled migration purposes includes all areas of Australia except the metropolitan areas of; Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Gold Coast, Perth Newcastle, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast will now be eligible.
- The visa has got multiple travel rights
- apply for permanent residence, if eligible through the permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) which commences on 16 November 2022
- work in any occupation and for any employer in line with the work and residence conditions attached to your visa.
What are the eligibility criteria for the Skilled Work Regional 491 visa?
- be invited to apply, nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative
- have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list
- have a successful skills assessment for the occupation
- score 65 points or more
- be aged under 45 years before you’re invited to apply
- have a competent level of English
- satisfy the health and character requirements
- don’t owe the Australian government any money
- no history of visa cancellation or a previous application refused
What is the application process?
First, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) SkillSelect to express your interest to apply for this visa. An EOI is not a visa application and there is no fee to create or submit an EOI in SkillSelect. SkillSelect will calculate your point score based on the claims made in your EOI. It is mandatory to score at least 65 points to be invited to apply for a visa.
Your EOI will be visible to state and territory government agencies if you have indicated that you are interested in being nominated. If they nominate you, you’ll get an invitation to apply for this visa.
Once you have completed the EOI, it’s stored in SkillSelect and is valid for 2 years. You can access your EOI and update your information at any time. Access your EOI and update your details if your circumstances change. If you are invited to apply for a visa you will receive an invitation from SkillSelect. You will need to provide all necessary documents to support your identity, skills assessment, level of English skills, relationship, partner, sponsor and character claims you make in your EOI and show you meet all the visa criteria.
You will then have 60 days from the date of invitation to make a valid visa application online before the invitation expires.
After you apply
You will be informed when your application is received, and you’ll get a notification if you’re granted a bridging visa.
Travel after you apply
You can travel outside of Australia while your application is processed as a decision can be made when you’re offshore. However, please ensure your visa allows you to return to Australia. Check VEVO for your current visa status.
If your application was lodged outside of Australia, only travel to Australia once the visa is granted. Please do not make any life-changing decisions like leave your job or sell your house until you’re advised in writing that you have been granted a visa.
There are no timeframes available for the 491 visa currently. Processing times can vary due the following circumstances:
- if your application is complete with all necessary documents
- how fast you respond to requests for additional information
- how much time it takes to get required checks done to verify your supporting information
- how much time it takes to receive additional information from external parties, specifically related to your health, character and national security requirements
There is no cost associated with submitting an Expression of Interest with SkillSelect. You can set up a profile and update it as many times as you wish with no expense.
However, once you’ve been nominated and you decide to apply, the application for the main applicant costs AUD$4,045. There is also a charge of AUD2,025 for each family member, 18 years and older, who apply for the visa with you. If you’ll like to get an estimate of what your visa will cost, use the Visa Pricing Estimator. Please take note that the estimator doesn’t consider the second instalment or other costs
The second installment charge for family members is AUD4,890. This charge only applies for applicants 18 years old or older who has less than functional English. Other costs including English language tests, health checks, police certificates and biometrics
What if I can’t show I meet the invited points score or other eligibility criteria?
If you can’t prove you meet the points score or other eligibility criteria, don’t apply for the visa. The EOI will be suspended if an invitation is issued, however, you can update your application once the 60-day invitation period is over.
If this is your second invitation and you still want the visa, you’ll have to submit another EOI.
What is my minimum score on the points test?
You need to score a minimum of 65 points on the points test. This test uses information such as age, English ability, levels of employment in your field and education levels to ascertain your suitability. You can gain extra points for things like:
- An extra 10 points for a skilled partner or single applicant
- 5 points for a spouse that’s competent in English
- 15 points for State or Territory government nomination
- 15 points for family member sponsorship if they reside in a regional area
- STEM occupations get an extra 10 points (Masters by Research or PhD required)
- 10 points for a partner who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
You must be nominated by a state/territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative (an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible NZ citizen).
What documents are required to apply?
There are several documents you’ll be required to supply when applying for a 491 visa.
- passport showing photo, personal details, issue and expiry dates, a national identity card and proof of name change
- documents proving relationship status, including death, marriage and divorce certificates
- character certificate from the police in every country you’ve lived in since you were 16 years old
- skill assessment documents
- competent English documents
- sponsorship documents- proof of their citizenship, residence and proof of relationship with them
- partner documents including ID, skill assessment results, English test results
- family members under 18 need ID, character documents, and proof you have parental rights
- family members over 18 need character documents, English test results, proof of family relationship and how they are dependent on you
- family members staying in country of origin need character documents and proof of relationship with you.
May I stay in Australia for more than 5 years?
This visa can’t be extended, you must apply for a new visa if you wish to stay longer than 5 years from the date the visa is granted. You and members of your family who hold this visa, must work and study in designated regional areas of Australia. If your nomination is withdrawn, your visa will not be granted.
May I include family members later if they are not included in my visa application?
Members of your family who don’t apply for this visa with you can apply to join you in Australia later as subsequent entrants.
I would like to study in regional Australia. Who can I discuss my options with?
Come and meet our friendly counsellors to discuss the best options for your dream course in regional Australia and explore permanent residency pathways. In our FREE consultation, you will find out:
- Course entry requirements and application processes
- Specialty course offerings that are unique to campuses
- Permanent residency pathways for regional areas
- Gain extra year on a post-study work visa with regional study
Want to know more? Send an enquiry and we’ll be in touch.