Subclass 491 and 191 Regional Skilled Visa Australia
The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) introduced 491 visa and 191 visa in November 2019 as part of skilled migration Australia. Subclass 491 is a skilled regional work provisional visa, and Subclass 191 is a skilled regional permanent resident visa.
Subclass 491 has a 5-year validity. Visa holders can apply for permanent residency (191 visa Australia) after meeting post-grant requirements for 3 years. It is not possible to apply for Subclass 191 directly, so this is essentially a 2-stage skilled migration process.
There are 2 streams for 491 visa Australia:
- 491 visa State/territory nomination; and
- 491 visa Family sponsor
- Subclass 491 Visa Requirements - State/Territory Nomination Stream
- Subclass 491 visa - family sponsor stream
If you are applying for the regional skilled visa Australia Subclass 491 under the state/territory nomination stream, the process will largely mirror the Subclass 190 visa process, namely:
- A positive skills assessment. This must be for an occupation included in the 491 visa Australia occupation list from your intended state/territory nomination program.
- Submit your expression of interest (EOI) for Australia skilled immigration via SkillSelect, and increase your 491 visa points as much as you can to maximise your chance of invitation.
- When invited, submit your state/territory nomination application to demonstrate that you meet the additional requirements prescribed by the state/territory government.
- Once your state/territory nomination is approved, you will receive the invitation to apply for a Subclass 491 from DOHA.
Current processing time for Subclass 491 regional skilled visa is 78 days to 20 months. Visa application charges (AUD) as of March 2022 are:
- Primary applicant: $4,115.00
- Each secondary applicant above 18 years old: $2,060.00
- Each secondary applicant below 18 years old: $1,030.00
You may also need to pay a nomination application fee for general skilled migration visa, this depends on the state/territory government you are seeking nomination from.
Subclass 491 visa requirements for the family sponsor stream is very similar to the state/nomination stream:
- Skills Assessment
- EOI, i.e. Subclass 491 visa points test
- Visa Application
You do not need an Australian state/territory nomination for this stream. Instead, you need to be sponsored by an eligible relative. DOHA has provided a clear definition of eligible relative here: Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa – Main applicant
You should note the following:
- This eligible relative can be yours or your partner/spouse’s.
- Your eligible relative must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- They must be residing at a regional area – see definition here: Designated regional areas
Australia 491 visa under the family sponsor stream shares the invitation rounds with Subclass 189 visa, which means it is usually less frequent and more competitive compared to the state/territory nomination stream.
Why should I choose a 491 visa (State/Territory Nomination) over a 190 visa?
A common question we keep getting: why should I apply for Subclass 491 if it’s the same process as Subclass 190? It is a valid question – on paper, Subclass 491 is a temporary visa and Subclass 190 gives you Australian permanent residency, and they have very similar skilled migration visa requirements. However, there are still good reasons to choose a 491 visa. (Note: specifically for state nomination stream).
Subclass 491 visa gives you an additional 15 points on your EOI. This is 10 more points than the Subclass 190 visa. With the highly competitive Australia skilled immigration program, every single point matters and 15 points will make a huge difference for your EOI ranking. For example, for Western Australia state nomination, 491 visa Perth EOIs will always receive the invitation first, because it has higher points by nature: Frequent questions about state nomination
As per Migration Instrument 2019 (LIN 19/051: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019C00855) subclass 491 visa occupation list includes long-term, short-term and regional. This means the state/territory government has an additional 77 occupations to choose from, and you can see such wider selection of occupations from several state/territory’s 491 visa occupation list::
- South Australia: Occupation Lists | Move to South Australia
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Migration Occupation List
All these factors mentioned above give you a better chance at securing an invitation to apply for a visa, which is the ultimate goal. This is why a Subclass 491 visa could be the hidden gem for your Australian PR journey.
Subclass 491 visa conditions
Upon 491 visa Australia approval, most common 491 visa conditions are:
- Update DOHA of passport and contact details changes in a timely manner
- Live, study and work in a designated regional area: this is determined by post code and you should always check (here) to make sure your post code falls within Category 2 or Category 3
- For 491 visa holders in Perth, you are in luck because Perth has regained its regional status in November 2019.
- If requested, provide residential, education or employment details
- If requested, attend interviews conducted by DOHA
Subclass 491 visa compliance is extremely important, as it is a key skilled migration visa requirement for Subclass 191.
You should also note that if you hold a Subclass 491 visa, you may not be able to apply for certain types of permanent residency visas until you have held this visa for at least 3 years.
Subclass 191 visa – Australian permanent residency
191 visa Australia will open for applications from November 2022. This visa is for Subclass 491 visa holders who have:
- Held this visa for at least 3 years
- Whilst holding the eligible visa, had 3 years of taxable income above the threshold set by DOHA. As of March 2022, this threshold is $53,900.00 per annum
- Complied with all conditions imposed on the Subclass 491 visa
As we are still months away, the DOHA website has not yet provided details on 191 visa requirements or 191 visa conditions. However, the legislation has been released and the VEVS Global visa team has already reviewed them in detail to answer any questions you may have for Subclass 191.
VEVS Global is here to help
Whilst VEVS Global is based in Perth, Western Australia and has a strong record in assisting clients with WA state nomination, our 491 visa clients have successfully obtained nomination from all regions of Australia under the guidance from the VEVS Global visa team.
VEVS Global’s service offerings include but are not limited to:
- Skills assessment preparation and lodgement
- Strategizing, preparing for and managing EOI, including professional advice on how you can increase 491 visa points
- Review clients’ circumstances in detail against all possible state/territory nomination, thus maximising chances of receiving state nomination
- Check client documents for 491 visa requirements; preparation and lodgement of visa application
- Post-lodgement services such as s56 Request for Further Information, and liaising with case officers to achieve the best possible outcome.
VEVS Global’s work does not just stop with Subclass 491 visa approval. Monitoring plans will be put in place to contact our clients regularly. This ensures compliance with all Subclass 491 visa conditions can be met, and any other Subclass 191 visa requirements can be addressed from as early as possible. The goal is to make our clients’ lives as easy as possible, and provide a one-stop service during their challenging Australia PR application process.