The Government of Australia recently introduced Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa with an aim to help international skilled workers and their families live and work in the regional areas of Australia for a maximum period of five years. This visa also allows the holder to apply for Australia PR after three years.
The two streams under the Subclass 491 visa are: family-sponsored and state nominated. Under the family-sponsored stream, a person living in a regional area of Australia may sponsor their relative for Subclass 491 visa. However, the candidate who wishes to be sponsored, must have experience in an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Skilled Shortage List (MLTSSL) and submit an Expression of Interest for a Subclass 491 visa. Based on the score in the points test, the candidate will be invited to apply for the visa in the monthly invitation rounds.
It is easier to obtain a visa under the state-nominated stream as the list of occupations available is longer and often only minimum points are required to receive an invitation. This stream also requires the candidates to submit an EOI. They will receive invitations as soon as the state/territory approves the nomination.
Though the criteria for selecting candidates are different for each state and territory, in all cases, it is mandatory for the candidate to demonstrate work experience in an occupation featured in the occupation list of a particular state or territory. They must also demonstrate the intent to reside in that particular state or territory.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
To receive a nomination from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) for Subclass 491 visa, a person must demonstrate minimum 12 months of continuous work experience in their nominated occupation, acquired within the last three years. The candidate also needs to demonstrate employability in Canberra.
New South Wales (NSW)
For nomination from New South Wales, the candidate must meet any of the following requirements:
- A full-time employment offer from an employer in a regional area of NSW
- Five years of work experience in the nominated occupation
- An immediate family member of the candidate residing in a regional area
Northern Territory (NT)
Candidates with work experience in the nominated occupation, of at least 12 months acquired within the last 24 months, are eligible for nomination from the Northern Territory. If they don’t have the required level of work experience, they must have Australian qualifications.
Candidates with at least two years of work experience in a nominated occupation, acquired after completing the education, are eligible for Queensland nomination if they meet other requirements.
South Australia (SA)
For nomination from South Australia for Subclass 491 visa, the candidate must demonstrate at least one year of skilled work experience, which is acquired within the last three years. However, the work experience need not be in the nominated occupation.
To apply for a nomination from Tasmania, the candidate must not have lived in another Australian state or territory in the last 12 months. Besides, the candidate must prove that they have sufficient employment opportunities in the nominated occupation. In other cases, the candidate must have a job offer from an employer well established in business and prove that the need for the position is genuine.
Nomination from Victoria can be obtained if the candidate has a full-time employment offer in a regional area with a duration of at least 12 months.
Western Australia (WA)
For nomination from Western Australia, the candidate must have a minimum of one year of work experience in Australia or three years of work experience overseas in the nominated occupation. The duration of the employment contract must be at least 12 months.