Skilled Migration to Australia – Subclass 491 Visa


Skilled Migration to Australia – Subclass 491 Visa

In an ongoing process to further improve its immigration system, the Australian government has introduced two new skilled migration visas. Allocated the subclasses 491 and 494 respectively, both are temporary visas, with pathways to permanent residency. Of these two, the visa we will explore in this article is the Skilled Work Regional visa – subclass 491.

The Skilled Work Regional visa is highly anticipated among skilled migrants looking to take their skills to Australia. It is a regional visa which ties the holder to a specified regional area for up to five years, after which period they become eligible for permanent residency in the country.

However, the time needed is not set in stone. To be more precise, skilled migrants holding the subclass 491 visa can apply for permanent residency in Australia after just three years of work and stay in their designated regional area.

Talk about a deal sweetener, eh?

Key features

The Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) is a temporary residency visa with a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. Successful visa applicants are given a five-year residence, work and study permit in the regional areas of Australia. Some key features of this visa include:

  • Having 14,000 places allocated to skilled migrants every year;
  • Having more than 500 occupations included in the Australian jobs list;
  • Allowing skilled workers to qualify and apply for permanent residency after living and working in their designated regional area in Australia for three years;
  • Allowing family members to join skilled migrants in Australia;
  • Granting skilled migrants access to other regional areas with this visa;
  • Priority processing of regional applications;
  • Eligible for Medicare facilities – Australia’s subsidised health care scheme.

Replacing the subclass 489 visa

The new subclass 491 visa will replace the subclass 489 visa, which will cease to exist mid-November. It is better than the subclass 489 visa in a lot of ways.

For instance, it will cover more regional areas in Australia than its predecessor.

Moreover, it will give skilled migrants more scopes to score points on their points test when applying for skilled migration to Australia. Applicants having a skilled partner – or applicants without a partner – will get 10 additional points, which can make all the difference in the world when it comes to obtaining skilled visas to Australia.

Competency in English is another factor which will influence an applicant’s visa application. Having excellent English skills will help skilled workers to lead the pool of Australian skilled migration hopefuls, while a sub-par grasp on English will only delay their dreams of moving to Australia.

In other words, the subclass 491 visa is much more points-friendly to skilled migrants than its predecessor. This can be better illustrated with the help of the following table:

Condition for applicants

Points for subclass 491 visa

Points for subclass 489 visa

Having a skilled partner or spouse

10 points

5 points

Having a partner or spouse with competent English abilities

5 points

No points

Being single

10 points

No points

Being nominated by a State or Territory

15 points

Less than 10 points

Being sponsored by a family member residing in regional Australia

15 points

10 points


Also, specific STEM qualifications will allow applicants to earn 10 more points on their points test.

The only thing where the subclass 489 visa leads the 491 is the time needed before being able to apply for permanent residency. Skilled migrants were required to wait for two years before being able to apply with the subclass 489 visa. Its successor, however, will require skilled workers to wait an extra year, for a total of three years.

Pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia

Skilled workers can apply for permanent residency in the country by meeting some qualifying conditions.

Visa holders will have to stay and work in their regional area for at least three years before being given the go-ahead to file for the permanent subclass 191 visa.

In addition, they will have to meet the minimum taxable income requirements of AUD 53,900 every year for the three years they reside in regional Australia.

Partners can also be included in the application for the permanent subclass 191 visa.

eduaid can help you proceed with the visa application!

In short, all the facts point to an indisputable fact – the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) is a worthy successor to the subclass 489 visa. It offers the same benefits – if not better – as the subclass 489 visa, and is much more points-friendly. It is destined to be a hit among skilled workers looking to move to Australia, and you should definitely consider applying for this visa if you harbor dreams of working in Australia.

For more information on this visa and how to successfully apply for it, head over to eduaid! Visit our offices, or give us a call to set up an appointment!