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Employer Sponsored Migration

Employer Sponsored Migration

New Skilled and Employer Sponsor Regional Visas with a Pathway to PR


From November 2019, new regional provisional skilled and employer sponsor visas will be introduced to replace the current subclass 489 and 187 visas. Further, from November 2022, a new regional permanent residency visa, subclass 191, will supplant the current 887 visa.


Notable changes


The biggest news is that the definition of “regional” will be expanded and simplified to include all areas outside Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane. Most notably, Perth and the Gold Coast will have their status as “regional” cities reinstated while Adelaide, Darwin, Newcastle, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast will also be deemed “regional” for the purposes of applying for these new subclasses of visa. The Department has also indicated that the new regional visas will be given priority processing. While no further information has been provided, it is likely that these visas will have much faster processing times than their metropolitan counterparts. Moreover, the total number of regional visas granted will be increased from 23,000 to 25,000 places per annum and the list of eligible professions for those willing to work in regional Australia expanded. Changes will take place from 16 November 2019.


Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa


This visa will replace the recently closed 489 – skilled regional (provisional). The time required to live and work in regional Australia will increase from 2 to 3 years (meaning an additional year is added on the pathway to PR), however, the new occupation list will be increased to include over 500 eligible occupations. Several restrictions will still apply, including that applicants must be sponsored by a State or Territory and meet the overall points test requirements. However, there will be the option to gain additional points including from State or family sponsorship, partner skills, English language skills and selected STEM occupations. Applicants without a spouse or De Facto partner will also receive additional points. The requirements to gain State or Territory sponsorship will remain the same. This includes, graduating from an institution, being employed or having a family sponsor family in that State or Territory. The Department has indicated that it will allocate 14,000 places per annum to the 491 visa arrangements.


Please note that the 489 is now closed to new applicants, however, transitional arrangements have been put in place for recently lodged visas.


Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional subclass 494 visa


This visa will replace the permanent subclass 187 visa and replace it with a provisional visa with a further option to apply for PR through the subclass 191. In order to access the pathway to PR, visa holders must live and work in regional Australia for 3 years (although we note the visa validity period of 5 years meaning that there is some flexibility for holders).


The new list of eligible occupations will be extended to include over 700 occupations; however, applicants must still be nominated by an employer in regional Australia and meet usual Employer sponsored requirements including age, English language, skills assessment, work experience (usually at least three years), character and health requirements.


Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa


This visa will operate similar to the subclass 887 – Skilled regional visa and will offer a pathway to PR from the subclass 491 and 494 visas. Applicants must have held and complied with their 491 and 494 visas meaning that the overall pathway to PR through the regional visas is lengthier compared to the 887. Further, applicants must be able to show earnings of $53,900 per annum for the 3 years they were working regionally.