Recently we wrote about some Queensland based opportunities through which you may find a visa pathway into Australia. Our focus will be on the Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190) and newly established Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491). The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491) replaced the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) effective 16 November 2019. 

These two visas are based on the applicant being in a specific location. As such, the requirements for these visas will vary as they are dependent upon endorsement by the State/territory and each State/territory will have its own independent requirements. These sit on top of the Department of Home Affairs requirements (DOHA) – both will need to be met. 

DOHA requirements:

  • At least 65 points on the points test
  • Positive skills assessment for your nominated occupation
  • Under the age of 45 years at the time of being invited to apply
  • Have a minimum of competent in English language proficiency

Read: English Tests

On 16 November, the GSM points test was updated with increased points for certain items as well as more ways to earn points! Check out our article on the recent changes and to download our new points test table we created for you.

Read: Major Changes from November Affecting the Skilled Migration Visas

Read: New AILS GSM Points Test

Both the Skilled Nominated 190 visa and the Skilled Work Regional 491 visa are points tested visas, which require the applicant to meet the minimum of 65 points and nominate an application on the appropriate occupation list. The difference between the visas are that the Skilled Nominated 190 visa requires the applicant to, if the visa is granted, reside in the State that the applicant is sponsored by, and that Skilled Work Regional 491 visa requires the applicant to be in a Regional area.

Benefits of State/Territory sponsorship

Are you struggling to meet the minimum points score of 65? Did you know that State and regional applications receives both extra points on the General Skilled Migration (GSM) points test as well as priority processing with the DOHA? Also, as with the other States, Queensland has its own occupation lists, which you should definitely look into if your occupation is not on the usual lists . 

Although sponsorship limits you to residing in a specific area, the Skilled Independent 189 visa (which allows you to be in any part of Australia) is becoming more difficult to attain. Due to the magnitude of high quality applications, applicants need to meet higher points score to beat out the competition. SkillSelect picks applications with the highest point scores first. As there is only a limited release of invitations each month, it is possible that meeting the minimum score of 65 points is still not enough. In the last invitation round on 11 November, 250 invitations to apply were sent out, and all 250 applicants had 85 points and over. With cut off scores that high, any additional points that can be score

Find: 11 November SkillSelect Invitation Round Results

SkillSelect works the same with the 190 visas, picking higher points scores first, although the results are not always published. Some applicants choose to apply for both the Skilled Independent 189 visa as well as a State/Territory sponsored visa at the same time to increase their chances!

Queensland sponsorship

Queensland has different requirements based on whether you are working in Queensland or outside of Australia, and offers a special streamlined pathway for those who have taken a postgraduate degree course in a university in Queensland. Our previous article focused on the onshore applicant.

Read: Queensland is Looking for Skilled Workers – Part I: Onshore Applicants

You will need to apply to Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) for state sponsorship. If you application is approved, you will then need to apply for your Skilled Nomination 190 visa or Skilled Work Regional 491 visa with the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA). Criteria from both BSMQ and the DOHA must be met for your application to be successful.

Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190)

This visa is points tested, like the Skilled Independent 189 visa, however with state sponsorship, the applicant is given an additional 5 points. Whilst this visa comes with an obligation to stay in the state that sponsors you for 2 years.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)

This new visa takes over the previous Skilled Regional 489 visa. On the new points test, Skilled Work Regional 491 visa applicants will get 15 additional points (previously only 10 additional points). This visa allows skilled workers to live in regional Queensland for 5 years and has a pathway to permanent residency. Regional Queensland includes the following postcodes:

  • 4124 to 4125
  • 4133
  • 4183 to 4184
  • 4207 to 4275
  • 4280 to 4287
  • 4306 to 4498
  • 4507
  • 4517 to 4519
  • 4550 to 4575
  • 4580 to 4895

The Skilled Regional 491 visa leads to permanent residency if you meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an eligible Skilled Regional 491 visa
  • Have lived for at least 3 years in Queensland and have a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold (currently $53,900) in regional Queensland
  • Have complied with the conditions of the eligible visa you hold or have held 

BSMQ criteria

The Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) criteria for the Skilled Nominated 190 visa and the Skilled Work Regional 491 visa are the same. You will need to meet DOHA requirements (listed above) and the following:

  • Have an occupation on the Offshore – Queensland Skilled Occupation List (QSOL) 
  • Have at least 2 years of post qualification work experience in your nominated occupation

Please note that you will not be eligible if you have received a nomination for, have applied for, or are a current holder of a Skilled Work Regional 491 visa or the Skilled Regional 489 visa visa you will not be eligible for nomination for the Skilled Nominated  190 visa. This includes those who have received their 491 or 489 visa from interstate.

Work experience waiver

If you are an overseas PhD graduate, you may be eligible for a waiver of the work experience requirements if you have a job offer with a Queensland employer for a minimum period of 12 months. The job offer must be related to your occupation, and your acceptance of the offer must be provided as evidence. The Queensland employer must be registered in Australia.

PhD graduates from Queensland universities are offered a different streamlined visa pathway which we will cover in the next and final article in our Queensland series.

Queensland’s occupation lists

You can find the QSOL through the official BSMQ site below. There are 96 occupations on the list for offshore applicants for the Skilled Nominated 190 and Skilled Regional 491 visas combined. This is far less than the 363 occupations available for those who are onshore. 

No shortcuts though, those on tourist visas will not be eligible to apply as an onshore applicant. If you read our article for applying as an onshore applicant, you will notice that the requirements all include post qualification work experience and ongoing employment in Queensland. 

Look through the occupation list and you will notice that certain occupations have additional requirements, such as needing to meet 70 points or more, or requiring more than 2 years of post qualification work experience, or registration with a Queensland authority.

Find: QSOL – Offshore applicants

The following occupations were removed from the QSOL lists effective 11 November:

  • Onshore and Offshore – IT
    • ICT Business Analyst ANZSCO 261111
    • Systems Analyst ANZSCO 261112
    • Developer Programmer ANZSCO 261312
    • Software Engineer ANZSCO 261313
    • Software and Applications Programmers nec ANZSCO 261399
    • ICT Security Specialist ANZSCO 262112
    • Computer Network and Systems Engineer ANZSCO 263111
    • Analyst Programmer ANZSCO 261311
  • Offshore – Engineering
    • Civil Engineer ANZSCO 233211
    • Mechanical Engineer ANZSCO 233512
    • Electrical Engineer ANZSCO 233311
    • Engineering Technologist ANZSCO 233914

Labour hire employment

If you are employed through a Labour Hire company please make sure that they are registered in Queensland.  All labour hire providers operating in Queensland need to be licensed under the new Labour Hire Licencing Act 2017 including, those based interstate or overseas who supply workers in Queensland.

All existing labour hire companies operating in Queensland had until 15 June 2018 to comply with new registration requirements. Evidence that companies comply with these registration requirements will be required.

Commitment to Queensland

The 2 year (Skilled Nominated 190 visa) or 3 year period (Skilled Regional 491 visa) commences from the date that your visa is granted

Settlement funds

All applicants are required to have a certain amount of ‘settlement funds’ to ensure that they are able to survive in Australia whilst they settle in which can be taxing on the wallet. You will need to show supporting bank statements as evidence to meeting the required settlement funds.

The required settlement funds are dependent on if you are an onshore applicant or offshore applicant as well.

Offshore applicants need to show that they have at least $15,000 in cash and $15,000 in ‘other funds’. Other funds refers to assets held overseas and does not include assets such as furniture or clothing, and property in Australia such as a house or car, cannot be included. The required settlement funds for additional dependents will increase with the number of dependents in the application.


You will need to submit your EOI through SkillSelect. Preference will be given to those who select a state (or in this case, Queensland) over selecting ‘Any State’. If you are successful, you will receive an invitation to lodge an application to BMSQ to submit your documentations for state sponsorship. You have 14 days from the date of invitation to lodge your application with BSMQ. Should BSMQ then choose to endorse your state sponsorship, you will be notified and will need to lodge your application for the Skilled Nominated 190 visa with the DOHA within 60 days. 

The application fee is currently $200 or both the Skilled Nomination 190 visa and the Skilled Regional 491 visa as an offshore applicant, which is 10 times the amount you would pay as an onshore applicant. There are no refunds whatsoever, and so it is important to submit a well put together application to save you your time and money. 


Outside of Queensland:

  • State nomination application form
  • Settlement fund declaration form
  • Bank statement
  • Skills assessment
  • Offshore commitment statement
  • Evidence of job (for PhD Graduates who have graduated overseas wanting a work experience waiver)
  • Evidence of licensing or registration (if applicable)
  • Statement of service / employment reference (to show you meet offshore work experience requirements)
  • Evidence labour hire company is registered in Queensland (if applicable)

Are you interested in applying to Queensland for state sponsorship as an offshore applicant or would you want to apply as an onshore applicant but are currently offshore? Speak to one of your experienced professionals here at Australian Immigration Law Services. We will tailor advice based on your individual case, and we may even be able to provide you with other visa options not previously considered. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.

Zoe He