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494 Visa - Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa 

**Note: IDP cannot help you with this visa, however, Skylark will be able to assist you on Visa 494 queries. 

About the 494 visa

This is a new visa, introduced in November 2019. It’s been designed to update the 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa. It has 10,000 places per year and is for applicants with skills that are needed in certain regional areas.

The visa allows you to live and work in Australia and travel in and out of the country as frequently as you wish for 5 years. It’s also a pathway to permanent residency. If eligible, apply for permanent residency after 3 years from the time your visa is granted.

The step by step process to apply for a 494 visa

The first step is assessing if you meet the criteria for application. You must:

  • have a skill/ trade that is on the skill shortages list
  • have, at minimum, three years of work experience in that occupation
  • have a relevant skills assessment
  • work only for your sponsor or associated entity
  • be less than 45 years old, unless an exemption applies
  • meet minimum English standards

If you meet the criteria, then you can start looking for a job. Your future employer either must already have a labour agreement with the Australian Government, or willing to apply for one. The employer must be in regional Australia, outside of the main cities. This includes Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Hobart, Adelaide, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Canberra, Newcastle, Geelong, Perth and Wollongong.

Once your job application is successful, you can then start the visa application process. Create an ImmiAccount logon. Follow the instructions to apply for your visa with your potential employer as your sponsor.

Once your visa has been approved, you can then book your flights to Australia, your new home. 

494 visa fees

This visa costs AU$4,115 for the main applicant. AU$2,025 for each dependent 18 years and over, and AU$1,010 for each dependent under 18 years. However, there’s an extra charge, called the second instalment, for any dependent applicants who do not have functional English. Use the Visa Pricing Estimator to work out what your visa will cost. The estimator does not consider the second instalment or other costs. 

494 visa processing time

Applications are accessed on a case-by-case basis, and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances.

Documents required to apply for your 494 visa

There are several documents you need to supply. If these are not supplied correctly, in English, then your visa will not be approved. Spend time putting your application together, as the list of the required paperwork is long. While this list is not exhaustive, you may need to supply:

  • proof of minimum English language skills
  • ID proof, including valid passport copies
  • any change of name paperwork
  • if you must perform a skills assessment, the results must be part of your application
  • if you don’t have to perform a skills assessment, you will need proof of your qualification/ licences/ registrations and references from previous employers.
  • certificate of health
  • proof you have obtained health insurance for your stay in Australia
  • proof of good character. This requires a police certificate for every country that you have lived in for twelve months or longer. There also may be additional forms, but the immigration department will advise.
  • if you’re bringing a partner, they will require ID documents, character documents, and proof of marriage/ de facto relationship.
  • if you intend to bring dependents with you, you’ll need to give passport copies, birth certificates, and depending on their age, character documents.
  • if you don’t advise the immigration department you were in a marriage, de facto relationship, or were engaged, your visa may be cancelled.
494 Visa .jpg

494 visa conditions

There are a number of conditions for your 494 visa. You must:

  • not be disruptive or harmful to the Australian community or group of people in the community
  • maintain your health insurance while residing in Australia
  • stay in a designated ‘regional’ area of employment
  • continue to work in the occupation you were nominated for


How do I apply for a 494 visa?

You must meet a range of criteria:

  • be under 45 years old
  • have 3 years+ work experience
  • meet minimum English standards
  • have a job/ qualification that the Australian Government has included on the skills shortage list
  • be willing to work in a regional area, not the main centre
  • meet the health and character requirements

If you meet those standards and are successful in getting a relevant role, then you can apply for a 494 visa. 

Can I get permanent residence with a 494 visa?

While the 494 visa doesn’t get you permanent residency automatically in Australia, you can apply for permanent residence after three years of residing in Australia.

What is a 187 visa?

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) was the visa permanent residence visa for skilled workers who were willing to work in regional Australia. It has been replaced by visa 494.

Can I buy a house on a 494 visa?

You may be able to buy Australian property while on a 494 visa. You need to gain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and may have to meet some criteria.

If I have 3 years of relevant casual work experience, will it be considered?

Full time and equivalent part-time work might be considered but casual work isn’t unfortunately. Generally, one should gain experience within the 5-year time frame and the period doesn’t need to be continuous.

May I extend my stay with the 494 visa?

You can’t stay in Australia longer by extending this visa. If eligible, you have an option to apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time your visa is granted.

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