Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa
The subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa enables applicants to apply for provisional permanent residency by being sponsored by an employer located in a designated regional area.
The visa requires an applicant to be nominated by an approved business sponsor, have a positive skills assessment for an occupation listed on the occupation list, be under 45 years of age and meet the English level requirements.
The Department of Home Affairs will allocate a total of 9,000 places to the 494 visa program each year and will enable visa holders and their family members to transition to permanent residency after living and working for their employer in a designated regional area of Australia for at least three years.
Main Requirements Of The 494 Visa
The applicant must have a positive full skills assessment in the nominated occupation. Exemptions apply in very limited circumstances.
The applicant must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least 3 years on a full-time basis at the skill level required for the nominated occupation. Experience can be from Australia or overseas.
The applicant must have at least ‘Competent’ English to be granted this visa.
An employer wishing to sponsor an applicant via the subclass 494 visa must firstly become an approved Standard Business Sponsor and submit a nomination nominating the skilled worker to work in a designated regional area in an occupation listed in the relevant skilled occupation lists.
- Employment is located in designated regional area of Australia
- The occupation is on the relevant occupation list
- The position must be full-time, genuine and likely to be available for five years
- The applicant must be paid at the Australian market salary rate for the occupation
If an applicant has secured a position with a business located in a designated regional area of Australia to be eligible for the visa they must:
- Hold a full skills assessment for the occupation they are being nominated in
- Must have at least three years of full time relevant work experience in the occupation they are being nominated in
- They must be under 45 years of age
- They must possess at least Competent English on an approved English language test (IELTS, PTE etc)
Transition To Permanent Residency Via The Subclass 191 Visa
The subclass 494 visa will be granted for a period of 5 years and will be able to access permanent residency via the Subclass 191 pathway if the following criteria is met:
- The visa holder and any dependants must have worked with the sponsoring employer and lived in the designated regional area for at least three years whilst holding a subclass 494 visa
- The visa holder must show earnings (taxable income) of at least A$53,900 annually for the three-year period. If the visa holder has included a partner in the application, only one party needs to show the three years of annual salary (taxable income) at or above $53,900. The visa holders’ partner can ‘swap’ and become the main applicant for the 191 visa if they can meet this requirement.
It is noted that applicants are not required to be nominated by their employer again to make an application for the subclass 191 visa and the Skilling Australians Fund levy is not payable.
What Is Considered A Designated Regional Area?
Most areas located outside major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are designated regional areas for the purposes of this visa.
Only certain postcodes outside metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are designated regional areas.
South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Norfolk Island are all considered designated regional areas.
Designated Regional Areas are subject to change.
Regional Sponsored Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Majority of Australia is considered a regional area in terms of visa requirements except for the major cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Under the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visa, you can apply for permanent residency after three years if you meet all the remaining criteria.
Casual work experience is not currently accepted by the Department to meet the work experience requirement of three years.
Your subclass 494 visa cannot be extended however if you meet the requirements you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency.