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491 Visa (Skilled Work Regional Visa) – Provisional

Subclass 491 skilled work regional visa (provisional): What is it?

The 491 visa Australia has replaced the 489 visa from November 16, 2019.

Just as the 489 visa, the new subclass 491 is available on a point-based system for candidates who get sponsored by:

1. A regionally designated area situated in the Australian territory or state, or

2. A family member, who is eligible and residing in one of the designated Australian regional areas.

Which areas come under the designated regional locations of Australia?

All areas in Australia are eligible and come within the designated regions, excluding Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. To fulfil the purpose of the visa 491 Australia, the eligible Australian cities are Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast, Hobart and Canberra.

What is the process of point allocation in the 491 visa?

In the 491 visa conditions, several factors related to the points system have been revised. So, you now have more chances to obtain points and reach your desired score. You will earn:

15 points, if your eligible family member or any of the eligible territory or state nominates you.

10 points, if you have a qualification up to Ph.D. or Masters level in one of these areas- Technology, Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. This is due to the massive requirement of STEM skills in Australia to promote economic success and ongoing innovation. 

10 partner-associated points, in case of these application conditions:

a. Your partner has an eligible skill, which means that you have a partner under the age of 45 years. Plus, the partner receives a positive assessment of skills in an occupation that is available on the list of skill shortages. Also, your partner’s English has to be competent. Or,

b. You don’t have a partner; or

c. Your partner is a permanent resident in Australia or holds Australian citizenship. 

5 points, in case your partner is able to showcase proficiency in English, but holds no work experience in any of the skilled occupations and has an age older than 45 years. 

These 491 visa requirements are based on the same factors as before, which are your qualification, age, years of work experience in a listed skill either in Australia and/or overseas.

This revised system of points is applicable to all of the skill-associated migration visas. 

Why have the partner points changed?

For the 491 visa south Australia and other regions, the partner points have changed by the Productivity Commission. The authorities found it necessary to assess secondary applicants, if they become a part of the Australian community, economy, and workforce. The previous point system didn’t incorporate the optimum weight for a partner’s skill.

When can I expect an invitation for a 491 visa application?

The skilled worker visa Australia has a unique ranking system, which used while sending invitations to candidates for their 491 visa application. These rankings include:

1. Equal first: Applicants who have skilled partners or applicants who have no partner.

2. Second: Applicants with partners who are able to showcase English competency, but hold no skill to obtain any skilled partner points.

3. Third: Applicants with partners who can’t show English competency or earn any partner points for any of the listed skills. 

Can a 491 visa holder apply for other visas?

After attaining a visa subclass 491, a person can’t apply for certain visas, for a period of 3 years of holding the 491 visa. This condition includes (190 and 189) skilled permanent residency visas, (188, 132, 124) business visas, 186 employer nominated permanent residency visa and 820 onshore partner visa. 

The requirement of supporting the population growth and economic development in various regional areas underpins the need for residing and working in any designated regional location. 

How can a candidate upgrade from a 491 visa to PR?

The 491 is a five-year visa. This family sponsored points tested visa allows access to permanent residency via the Subclass 191, also known as the Skilled Regional Permanent Residence Visa. However, this path to PR is possible only if you are able to meet these conditions:

1. You have stayed, studied or worked for a minimum of 3 years in the provided regional area, as a holder of the 491 visa, and

2. You have the ability to demonstrate a minimum of $53,900 of earnings per year, for a minimum of three years. If your 491 application involves a partner, then, either you or your partner can show the required annual salary for 3 years via your tax returns. This salary needs to be $53,900 or higher. If your partner is showcasing the required amount of salary, he or she can be included as the main applicant, when applying for the permanent residency 191 visa. However, your partner needs to meet all the required criteria.

What about the people who already hold 489 visa and people who applied for their 489 visa prior to the change?

In case, you hold a 489 visa right now, or you have applied for your 489 visa before the date of November 16, 2019, then, you need to choose the previous method to try for permanent residency. For these cases, the authorities are allowing the pathway of the 887 visa to achieve PR or Permanent Residency in Australia. But, you don’t come under any of the mentioned conditions, you can continue with the 491 visa points calculator to figure out your score. 

The skilled family sponsored visa has been upgraded to help applicants improve their points and the points of their partners as well. Hence, the skilled work visa will now attract more candidates and offer a higher chance of approval with the correct demonstration of desired requirements. 

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