November Changes to the Australian Skilled Migration Program

As announced previously the Department of Home Affairs has announced to introduce three new skilled visa subclasses on the 16th of November 2019.

s/c 491 Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa

The s/c 491 will replace the existing s/c 489 visa. Like the 489, the new 491 will require the applicant to be either nominated by a State or sponsored by a family member. Family members eligible to sponsor are: parents, children, siblings, uncles/aunts, nephews/nieces, grandparents, or first cousins. Family-sponsors must themselves live in a designated regional area and family-sponsored applicants must nominate an occupation on the MLTSSL.

Applicants under the State-sponsored stream can nominate an occupation on any list, but must be able to meet the nominating State’s requirements.

Like the existing s/c 489, the s/c 491 is also a point-tested visa. Applicants will require sufficient level of English, a valid skills assessment in their nominated occupation and must be under 45 years old when applying.

Several changes to the point test have also been announced and include:

  • 15 points for an approved state/territory government nomination or family sponsor living in a designated regional area
  • 10 points for a partner, who can meet the skills requirement (age, English, skills assessment)
  • 5 points for a partner with competent English
  • 10 points for single applicants
  • 10 points for primary applicants with a partner who is Australian, PR visa holder, or an eligible NZ citizen
  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics qualifications from Australia

494 Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (provisional) Visa

This is an employer-sponsored visa, which will be granted for five years. It will replace the existing s/c 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Key criteria:

  • Location of employment must be designated regional area
  • Sponsoring employers must meet certain criteria, such as obtain RCB approval and pay the standard market salary rate.
  • The position must be genuine, full-time and available for at least 5 years
  • This visa will be open to SHEV visa holders
  • Visa applicants may require a valid skills assessment
  • Visa applicants must be under 45 years old, and
  • have at least competent English
  • Visa applicants must have the skills and experience required to perform the nominated job. A minimum of 3 years of (post-qualifying) work experience is also mandatory.

s/c 191 Permanent residence – Skilled Regional

This is a new permanent visa, only open to persons, who have been on a 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years. This visa subclass will come into effect only in 2022 and more information will be provided by the Department of Home Affairs in due course.

Key criteria:

  • Primary applicant must hold a 491 or 494 visa and earned a specified minimum income (currently set at A$ 53,900 pa) for at least 3 years before applying
  • All applicants must have complied with conditions regional provisional visa, in particular live, work and study in a designated regional area

If you require assistance with your visa application or guidance on your options to apply for a visa to Australia, don’t hesitate to contact our Registered Migration Agent for a consultation.

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