Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 489)


The Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) has two streams; state sponsored and relative sponsored. The relative sponsored 489 visa is slightly more straightforward than the state sponsored option, as no additional criteria from the state applies.

Unfortunately whilst this is a simpler application, the requirements can be quite difficult to meet:

  • 60 points on the points test (10 points automatically awarded for eligible applicants)
  • Under the age of 50
  • Minimum competent level of English
  • Nominate an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL)
  • Suitable skills assessment for nominated occupation
  • Eligible relative living in a designated area in Australia
  • Satisfy health and character requirements



The application follows the same format as the general skilled migration (GSM) 189 visa. The applicant submits an Expression of Interest (EOI). An invitation to apply is send to the applicant is they are successful. The application must be assessed to have met the score submitted in the EOI.

Learn more: SkillSelect system

The SOL has occupation ceilings; each occupation on the list has a predetermined maximum number of spaces that can be offered. The occupation ceilings are shared between 189 visa and relative sponsored 489 visa applicants. 489 applicants are given second priority and available spots are allocated to 489 applicants only when eligible 189 applicants have been exhausted for that occupation. Occupations that receive a high number of EOIs are much more difficult for relative sponsored 489 applicants.

Such occupations are called pro rated occupations. Here is the list of pro rated occupations for the programme year 2016/17. The programme year is due to end in June.

  • Accountants
  • Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers
  • Electronics Engineers
  • Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers
  • Other Engineering Professionals
  • ICT Business and System Analysts
  • Software and Applications Programmers
  • Computer Network Professionals


Points test

If the applicant satisfies all the requirements for this visa, the applicant is automatically awarded 10 points on their points test, which means that they only have to chalk up 50 points.

Find: GSM Points Test Sheet


Eligible sponsor


The sponsor must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Usually resident in a designated area in Australia
  • Relationship to the applicant or applicant’s partner:
    • Parent
    • Child or step child
    • Brother or sister, adoptive brother or sister, step brother or sister
    • Aunt or uncle, adoptive aunt or uncle, step aunt or uncle
    • Nephew or niece, adoptive nephew or niece, step nephew or niece
    • Grandparent
    • First cousin


Usually resident

The sponsor also needs to be usually resident in a designated area. The factors considered in determined ‘usually resident’ are:

  • the person’s physical presence in a designated area
  • the length of that residence
  • whether that residence has been lawful or unlawful
  • where they eat and sleep and have a settled home
  • the person’s intention to make or not make their usual home in a designated area

A sponsor who has been living and is still living in a designated area on a temporary visa but has only recently gained permanent residency may still fulfil the ‘usually resident’ requirement.


List of designated areas

As you will notice, the designated areas are quite broad, included all of Melbourne, making this visa a very attractive one.


Entire Territory
(Excluding Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong)
2311 to 2312
2328 to 2333
2336 to 2490
2535 to 2551
2575 to 2739
2787 to 2898
Entire Territory
Entire Territory
(Excluding the Brisbane metropolitan area)
4019 to 4028
4037 to 4050
4079 to 4100
4124 to 4150
4158 to 4168
4180 to 4899
Entire State
Entire State
Entire State


Ongoing relationship

The relationship must also be ongoing. If, at the time of decision, the relationship no longer exists due to a family breakdown or death, and there is no eligible substitute sponsor, the application cannot be approved. Where the applicant was applying through a partner’s relative and the relationship has now broken down, they would also no longer be taken to satisfy the relationship requirements.


Sponsor obligations

The sponsor is required to sign a declaration form for assuming responsibility in helping the applicant settle down in Australia should their visa be granted. The sponsor must agree to the:

  • Provision of information and advice
  • Assistance in accommodation
  • Giving financial support
  • Accepting of responsibility for any financial obligations to the Commonwealth that has been incurred by the visa holder(s)
  • Accepting of responsibility for the compliance by the visa holder(s) with legislation and awards in relation to any employment they enter into
  • Accepting of responsibility for compliance by the visa holder(s) with conditions under which they are allowed to enter Australia
  • Communication with the DIBP in writing should there be a withdrawal of support for the applicant before the visa decision is made


Visa obligations

A relative sponsored 489 visa holder is subject to condition 8549; while in Australia, the visa holder must live, study and work only in a designated area in Australia. The visa holder may live in any designated area in Australia and is not limited to stay in the designated area in which their sponsoring relative lives, nor are they required to stay in the same designated area.

This allows the visa holder to look for work over a greater span of regions if the sponsoring region is dry of employment opportunities.


Permanent residency

The 489 visa is granted for 4 years. A visa holder looking to move on to permanent residency must have accumulated 2 years (whilst on their 489 visa) of being resident in a designated area, and one accumulated year of full time work in a designated area. Full time work is viewed at a minimum of 35 hours a week. On fulfilling these requirements (no need to wait for the completion of 4 years), the visa holder may apply for the permanent 887 visa.

Learn more: Moving from a 489 to a 887 visa