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SESR 494

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Both Australian and overseas businesses are able to sponsor employees to work in Regional Australia through the subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) visa programme. The subclass 494 SESR visa allows visa holders to work in Australia five years with regional compliance conditions.

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional 494 visa allows the visa holder to travel in and out of Australia and work in Australia only for the nominating employer in the nominated position in regional Australia. Eligible dependents (family members) of subclass 494 SESR visa holders are also able to live, work and study in Australia during this period as well.


An individual for the 494 must:

  • Apply for and be approved as a standard business sponsor (SBS)
  • Nominate the occupation and candidate you wish to employee
  • Apply for the subclass 494 SESR.


To sponsor an employee to work in Australia, businesses must apply to be approved to be Standard Business Sponsors and this approval lasts for 5 years. A business can nominate chosen individuals after acquiring sponsorship approval, however there are certain conditions that must be met.

To be approved as a standard business sponsor, businesses must establish that:

  • The business is lawfully and actively operating, whether that be onshore or offshore of Australia.
  • The business is financially viable and has a genuine need for the nominated occupation
  • There is no adverse information known about the business.
  • Application for approval of Accredited Status can also be applied for if criteria are met


After applying for approval as a standard business sponsor, a business can nominate the occupation and the applicant they would like to employ in the position for a subclass SESR visa. The position must be located in a designated regional area and must be specified in the either of the relevant occupation lists of more than 600 eligible occupations.

The nomination application must show that:

  • Position is located in a designated regional area (see table: Definition of Regional Areas in Australia)
  • The nominated occupation is on the Subclass 494 Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  • Regional Certifying Body certification, which includes confirmation the market salary rate is adequate for the local area
  • The role will be paid a market rate salary, which is not less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) of $53,900
  • The position the applicant is being nominated for is genuine given the size, scope and nature of the business operations.
  • Labour Market Testing (LMT) has been undertaken for the required period, and manner (no International Trade Obligations exemptions apply)
  • All applicable caveats, or in applicability conditions are met. As examples, these conditions can relate to minimum salary, size of the business or its turnover or the occupation being in regional Australia.
  • Sponsor must not have engaged in discriminatory recruitment practices


The Government established the Skilling Australians Fund (the Fund) to support the training needs of Australians prioritised towards apprenticeships and traineeships in industries and occupations in demand. This levy is payable for each nomination under the 494 program, as follows:

  • For businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10m, a one-off payment of $3,000 per nomination.
  • For businesses will an annual turnover of more than $10m, a one-off payment of $5,000 per nomination.


Lastly, the application for the subclass 494 (SESR) visa may be lodged by the prospective employee. This application can be lodged at any time after lodgement of the nomination and within 12 months of approval of the nomination application. To be successful, the application must demonstrate that the employee:

  • Be aged under 45 at time of application
  • Has at least 3 years of relevant skilled working experience in the nominated occupation (ask us about the limited exemptions are available).
  • Has a positive skill assessment in the nominated occupation for the role at time of application
  • Meets the SESR visa English language requirements – primary applicants must demonstrate they have Competent English or higher, and their dependent family members over 18 years of age demonstrate they have at least Functional English
  • Meet SES health and character requirements


  • You must pay the applicable charge at time of lodgement of the visa to be advised on case by case basis


  • Your subclass 494 SESR visa also attaches a condition limiting work only for the last nominating employer in the nominated occupation unless it is a prescribed occupation (eg CEO; Doctor).
  • All visa holders, including dependent family members must live, work, and study in regional Australia for the course of the visa.
  • If you cease work for your sponsor you have 90 days to find a new employer or the visa is liable for cancellation.


  • You may be eligible to apply for the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after at least 3 years living and working in a regional area.
  • Subclass 191 visa does not require a nomination from an employer. Unlike previous transitional arrangements (such as 186/187), you are also not required to have been working for the same employer for the 3-year period.
  • There are restrictions on applying for certain permanent visas until you have met the requirement to live in a regional area holding the 494 for the three year period.

Definition of Regional Areas in Australia

Definition Locations Regional incentives
Major cities Sydney



Cities and major regional centres Perth;


Gold Coast;

Sunshine Coast;


Newcastle / Lake Macquarie;

Wollongong / Illawarra;



Access to dedicated 25,000 regional places. Priority processing on regional visas. Access to regional occupations lists – more jobs compared to no-regional lists.

International students studying at regional universities will be eligible to access an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.

Regional centres and other regional areas All other locations Access to dedicated 25,000 regional places. Priority processing on regional visas. Access to regional occupations lists – more jobs compared to no-regional lists.

International students studying at regional universities will be eligible to access two additional years in Australia on a post-study work visa.

Priority in negotiating region-specific Designated area migration.

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Turner Coulson Immigration Lawyers?

Turner Coulson’s legal professionals have decades of experience handling the most complex employment-related visa cases. With the introduction of the subclass 491, 494 and 191 visa, and as the 482 and 186 / 187 visa regimes continue to undergo significant changes, we are best placed to give you timely, expert advice to help you obtain your employer sponsored work visa. Here at Turner Coulson, we pride ourselves on achieving positive outcomes for our clients and you can rest assured that we will handle your visa application to the highest professional standards.

We will assess your situation on an individual basis and provide you with the best advice to make your stay in Australia hassle-free.

What to do next and how to apply?

Getting the right advice upfront is essential so contact for a free no obligation discussion with one of our advisors who are ready and waiting to assist you applying for your visa.

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