The Department of Home Affairs has announced further details on the implementation dates for the 491 and 494 visas, and transitional arrangements for Subclass 489 and RSMS visas.

Regional Areas

The Department of Home Affairs will provide a list of postcodes in order for applicants to determine whether their area falls into the above metropolitan areas or if it is acceptable for the regional visas. The definition of ‘regional Australia’ will be simplified to include anywhere outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Perth.

General Skilled Migration (GSM) points test

On November 16th the current GSM points test will be updated, giving visa applicants additional points as follows:

  • Nomination by state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member to reside and work in a specified/designated area – 15 points
  • A Masters degree by research or a PhD from an Australian educational institution that included at least two academic years in a relevant STEM field – 10 points
  • Partner skill qualifications – 10 points
  • Partner with competent English but not eligible for Partner skill qualifications points – 5 points
  • No Partner – 10 points

Visa Lodgement deadlines

Department of Home Affairs advised that the last date to be invited for a Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa will be 10 September 2019.

The last date to lodge an application based on an invitation would be 15 November 2019.

The last date to lodge a Subclass 187 RSMS nomination or visa through the direct entry stream will also be 15 November. Any direct entry RSMS nominations not finalised by 16 November will be automatically withdrawn unless the corresponding visa application has also been lodged.

Important: The RSMS temporary residence transitional stream will remain open to certain 457 visa holders eligible through ‘grandfathering’ provisions, and those who held or had applied for a 482 visa prior to 20 March 2019.

Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa applicants will not be affected by these changes.

Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

It will be possible to lodge an EOI for Subclass 491 Visa (Provisional) from 16 November 2019.

States/Territories will also be able to nominate and invite prospective applicants from this date onwards.

This visa has been designed to replace the Subclass 489 visa.

This visa will be valid for 5 years, with a number of compliance conditions including the requirement for applicants and all family members to live, work and study only in a designated regional area, and to notify Immigration of any reportable changes within 14 days. Failure to comply with these conditions can lead to visa cancellation and/or loss of a pathway to permanent residency.

Permanent residency pathways

Migrants who hold a Subclass 491 or 494 visas must remain on these visas in a regional area for at least 3 years before they can be considered for any other skilled visa. This includes applications for other GSM visas (189, 190), Employer Nomination Scheme, and Business visas. In addition, applicants are barred from applying for an onshore Partner visa until the 3-year residence requirement is met.

Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

The Subclass 494 visa process mirrors the one for TSS applications as there needs to be a Business Sponsorship (or Labour Agreement), and a Nomination either approved or submitted before a visa application can be lodged.

From 16 November 2019, businesses with an existing SBS will be able to use this current sponsorship to nominate employees and lodge the corresponding subclass 494 visa application.

Nomination applications must include evidence that Labour Market Testing has been undertaken, as well as advice from a Regional Certifying Body confirming that the market rate is acceptable for the local area. A Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy is payable.

Applicants must be younger than 45 years old, and hold a successful skill assessment at the time of lodgement.

Once granted, the visa will be valid for 5 years with the same regional compliance conditions as the 491 visa.

Visa holders will also be subject to a work limitation condition similar to the TSS 482 visa, in that they are only able to work for their nominating employer.

If you are worried about your future in Australia, get in touch with Get Your Visa on (08) 6117 4152 and we will assess your circumstances, qualifications and experience to check to see if you are still on the right path and give you peace of mind.

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