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August 6, 2020

On 16 November 2019, the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491) replaced the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489). Like its predecessor, the 491 visa has two streams through which you can apply – the State nomination stream and the family sponsorship stream, and requires that you live, work and study in specified areas.

When compared to the 489 visa, the new 491 visa features some slightly toughened requirements as well as the application of new visa conditions that make it more restrictive for the visa holder. In return, the immigration department has said that more occupations have been made available, nomination points on the General Skilled Migration (GSM) points test would be increased from 10 to 15 points, and applicants would receive priority processing. Another wonderful benefit for being on this visa is that instead of having to pay for health insurance as is required for many other temporary visas, 491 visa holders will have access to Medicare.

This temporary visa allows you to stay in Australia for 5 years and after completing 3 years of residency and meeting all requirements, you will be eligible for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191). The 191 visa comes into effect on 16 November 2022.

Read: Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) – Part I (you are here)

Read: Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491) – Part II 


Designated Regional Area

The 491 visa operates on the new designated regional area list. This list was implemented on 16 November 2019. Visa holders must take care to reside within the correct postcode areas for their visa or they may find themselves ineligible for their permanent residence visa later on.

Find: Designated regional areas


Requirements specific to the Family Sponsored stream

If you are looking to apply for the Family Sponsored stream, you will need to have:

  • An occupation on the list for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • An eligible relative sponsor

Those who are applying for the Family Sponsored stream must have an occupation on the list for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189). This is a very slim list.

Find: Occupation lists

An eligible sponsor is:

  • 18 years old or older
  • Usually resident in a designated regional area
  • An Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Is an eligible relative to you or your partner

An eligible relative can be:

  • A parent
  • A child or step-child
  • A brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, step-brother or step-sister
  • An aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle
  • A nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step-nephew or step-niece
  • A grandparent, or
  • A first cousin

Evidence must be provided to demonstrate the relationship and documentation includes:

  • Birth certificates (showing full names of parents)
  • Marriage certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Adoption certificates or
  • In lieu of some or all of the above, family status certificates or family books (that is, in circumstances where these documents are officially issued and maintained).

 The relationship between the sponsor and applicant must be ongoing throughout the visa application process, and must still be ongoing when a decision on the visa is made. Should the relationship break down or the sponsor passes away, you are likely to no longer be eligible for the visa. This is the same for a person who was gaining their 491 visa through their partner’s sponsor and are no longer with their partner.


Usually Resident

A person who is usually resident is considered to:

  • Have a physical presence in a particular place (as indicated by where a person maintains a home, eats and sleeps, even if this is in hotels or a yacht) 
  • Has an intention to treat that place as a home for at least the time being but not necessarily forever.

The evidence for being usually resident somewhere may be seen in a variety of factors, including:

  • Maintaining a home in a particular place
  • Going to work there
  • Owning property, business or other interests ​there
  • Having family and other ties in the place


Requirements specific to the State Nomination stream

Those applying for the State Nomination stream will need to meet additional State requirements. As each State has its own occupation list, those applying for this steam have a very much larger number of occupations that are eligible to them. 

States can impose additional requirements such as a high level of English proficiency for specific occupations or work experience in your occupation to qualify. You may also find benefits, such as easier requirements or preference towards graduates from that State or those with job offers in that State. As it varies very much between states and constantly changes, it is critical that you check the official State websites for the latest information on eligibility and we highly recommend that you do so regularly as updates to when applications open or close, occupation lists and requirements can change at any time. 

Only recently, New South Wales made their requirements much easier by suddenly removing the residence and work requirement, with applications to close within a week. The AILS team works hard to put out important updates as soon as we get them and so following us on social media is a good way to stay informed. 



Official State websites

Visit: New South Wales 

Visit: Victoria 

Visit: Australian Capital Territory 

Visit: Queensland 

Visit: Western Australia 

Visit: South Australia 

Visit: Northern Territory 

Visit: Tasmania

In our following article, we will share on requirements that are common between the two streams. Watch out for it next week! If you need advice, we offer Skype and phone consultations. Call +(02) 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists. Stay well, everyone.