Workers from certain occupations willing to live and work in a designated region of Australia can apply for a Subclass 491 visa. After 3 years, Subclass 491 visa holders can apply for permanent residency.

To discuss your eligibility with one of our experienced migration agents—please contact us now.

Skilled Work Regional Visa Overview

The subclass 491 visa gives skilled workers the right to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia for 5 years. This visa is a great option for those seeking to live in Australia permanently, as it provides a clear pathway to permanent residency.

Successful subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa applicants can:

  • Live, work and study in a designated region for 5 years
  • Leave and return to Australia freely while the visa is valid
  • Bring members of your family unit to live with you
  • Apply for permanent residency after 3 years (details below)

Pathway to Permanent Residency

After 3 years, subclass 491 visa holders can apply to transfer to a subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa.

To apply for a subclass 191 visa, you must have complied with the conditions of your subclass 491 visa and have met the minimum income threshold from working in Australia for 3 years. A subclass 191 visa allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely, sponsor relatives to come to Australia, and if eligible, apply for citizenship.

Subclass 491 Visa Eligibility

The first two things to consider for a Skilled Work Regional visa are:

  1. Are you (and any accompanying family) willing to live in a location on the list of regional areas designated by the Australian government for 5 years?
  2. Is your occupation on the current list of eligible skilled occupations?

If your answer to these two questions is “Yes,” then you’ll need to submit an expression of interest (EOI) and you may be invited to apply.

To receive an invitation for a subclass 491 visa, you must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government or sponsored by an eligible relative. There are also several other conditions, such as a satisfactory skills assessment and meeting a minimum points score for English proficiency.

We’ve provided more details about eligibility for the Skilled Work Regional visa below. But if you have any further questions about designated regional areas, eligible skilled occupations, or anything else—our team of experienced Migration Agents in Australia are always happy to answer your questions.

Regional Incentives

There are several incentives offered for skilled migrants who move to a regional area, including:

  • Access to the dedicated 11,200 regional visa places
  • Priority processing
  • Access to an expanded Regional Occupations List (more than the non-regional list)
  • Graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus can access an extra 1 or 2 years post-study work visa

State or Relative Nomination

An eligible relative (parent, child, sibling, aunt, first cousin, etc) who is also a resident in a designated regional area can sponsor you for a subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa.

If you don’t have an eligible relative, after submitting an expression of interest (EOI), Australian state or territory governments might nominate you for the visa if you score enough points. Some regional government agencies also allow you to submit a nomination application (conditions vary by region).

Get a Skills Assessment

To apply for a subclass 491 visa, you need a suitable skills assessment from an approved assessing authority. This assessment must be less than 3 years old.

Score 65 Points

To apply for the Skilled Work Regional visa, you must have a score of 65 or more on the relevant points testing system. You can use our free Points Test Calculator to check your score.

If you are struggling to score enough points, please contact us to consult a migration agent in Australia. We might be able to identify ways for you to increase your score.

Age Requirement

You must be under 45 years of age when you apply for a subclass 491 visa.

Health and Character Screen

Both you and any family members who are added to your application must meet the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs health and character requirements.

How Do I Apply for a Subclass 491 Visa?

Once you have…

  1. Confirmed you are willing to migrate to a designated regional area in Australia
  2. Decided on your nomination or sponsorship
  3. Checked that your occupation is on the list of eligible skilled occupations

…you can submit an expression of interest (EOI) online. The EOI is submitted to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, through SkillSelect.

You don’t need to pay to submit an EOI. But please note, an EOI is not a visa application.

 After submission, state and territory government agencies can see your EOI. If you have scored enough points, they may invite you to apply for a Skilled Work Regional visa in an invitation round.

If you are being sponsored by a relative (and the sponsorship is approved), the Department of Home Affairs may invite you to apply for a visa in an invitation round.

Can My Family Be Included in the Application?

Yes! Members of your family unit can be included on a subclass 491 visa application. They can be added at the time you lodge your application or afterward, as a subsequent entrant.

Members of the family unit include:

  • A spouse or de facto partner
  • A child (including stepchildren) who is under 18 years of age
  • A dependent child between the ages of 18 – 23 years
  • A child over the age of 23 who is dependent on the applicant or applicant’s partner due to disability

What About Extended Family?

You can’t include extended family members on a subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa. However, if you subsequently transfer to a subclass 191 Permanent Residence visa, you can sponsor qualifying family members for permanent residency in Australia.

If you need assistance to sponsor a family member to migrate to Australia, our expert Australian Migration Agents can assist with a parent visa and several other visa types.

Improving Your Chances of Nomination

The subclass 491 visa uses a competitive application process, so it’s important to make your submission stand out against other candidates. The best ways to do this are:

  • Maximise your points score
  • Follow the state or territory nomination process for the region you are wishing to migrate to (if not being sponsored by a relative)

The process for each state or territory agency is different. Some allow you to submit a nomination application and certain areas even have processes to fast-track visa nominations for certain occupations. You can see the Skilled Work Regional visa webpage for Victoria as an example.

If you would like to discuss how to maximise your points score and learn more about state or territory nomination processes, the experienced staff at LIVV Immigration can help.

Cost of a Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa?

There is no cost for submitting an EOI for a Subclass 491 visa.

If you are invited to apply for a Skilled Work Regional visa, the fee payable to the Australian Government upon submission of the application is AUD$4,240 for the main applicant. There is an additional fee payable for other family members included in the application.

Get Help to Apply for a Subclass 491 Visa

Our team of fully qualified Australian Registered Migration Agents in Australia can help you with the entire process of a subclass 491 visa, from understanding designated regional areas to submitting an EOI and completing your application.

Because of our vast understanding of the Australian immigration system, we will help you be a competitive applicant for this sought after visa, which has a clear pathway to permanent residency.

To discuss a subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa, or any other immigration needs, please contact us today.