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Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 Visa

May 27, 2024
By MaxiMax

What is a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 Visa?

The Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa is a temporary residency option for skilled workers who are willing to live and work in regional Australia. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to five years and may provide a pathway to permanent residency. To be eligible, you must nominate an occupation on Australia's Skilled Occupation List and express your interest through SkillSelect. If you receive an invitation to apply, you can then submit a formal visa application.

Benefits of the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 Visa

  • Living, working, and attending school in Australia for a duration of up to five years
  • Including close family members in the visa request
  • Pursuing educational prospects in Australia
  • Having the potential to move to permanent residency if all requirements are satisfied
  • Being nominated or sponsored is mandatory for securing this visa. Candidates need an endorsement from an Australian state or territory government agency or support from an eligible relative.

State Nomination and Eligibility

  • Be invited to apply: To be eligible to apply for the Subclass 491 visa, you need to first receive an invitation from the Australian government. You can start by submitting an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect and indicating if you have a qualifying relative sponsoring you or if you are seeking nomination from a state or territory government agency.
  • Be nominated or sponsored: You also need to either be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or have a qualifying relative willing to sponsor you in order to meet the eligibility criteria for the Subclass 491 visa. When submitting your EOI, your points score will be estimated, and if it meets the requirement, state and territory government agencies may consider nominating you based on your EOI. Alternatively, if your EOI indicates that you have a qualifying relative sponsoring you, then the Department may invite you during one of its invitation rounds.
  • Be of eligible age: Applicants must be under 45 years old when they receive an invitation in order to proceed with their application for this visa. However, applicants who turn 45 after receiving the invitation can still complete their application process. It's important to note that those who turn 45 before receiving an invitation will not be able to apply for this visa.
  • Have a skills assessment: To ensure your application is valid, you must have a suitable skills assessment at the time of invitation. The assessment should be obtained within three years prior to the invitation date and within the 60-day invitation period. If it was based on an Australian qualification from a CRICOS-registered course obtained while holding a student visa, make sure that the qualification has not expired.
  • Get a score of 65 points or more: Candidates for the Subclass 491 visa need to go through a points-based system. Upon submitting an Expression of Interest via SkillSelect, they will receive an indicative score derived from their information. A minimum point level of 65 is required to qualify for an invitation to apply; however, in some cases, higher points may be needed based on what was declared in one's EOI. Therefore, it's crucial to submit all supporting evidence with your application papers.
  • Meet English language requirements: To qualify for an invitation, you need to have at least a Competent level of English proficiency. If any family member aged 18 years or older is applying with you, they must also show functional English proficiency or pay an additional visa application charge.
  • Meet the skills requirement: Your occupation must be on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations for a Skilled Regional (subclass 491) visa.
  • Meet health requirements: You and any family members applying for the visa must meet health requirements. Family members not accompanying you to Australia may also need to meet these requirements if requested.
  • Meet character requirements: Additionally, all family members aged 16 years and over must meet the character requirements, regardless of whether they are traveling with you or not.
  • Be free of debt: It is important that any debts owed to the Australian government have been paid back or arrangements made for repayment.
  • The applicant's immigration history will be considered during the visa application assessment. It is crucial to understand that eligibility for the visa could be impacted by a record of previous visa cancellations or refusals.

Points Test and Skill Assessment

Points Test:

Australia uses a point-based system to assess candidates. This system considers factors like age, English proficiency, education, work experience, and other relevant criteria to gauge an individual's potential contribution to the local economy and adjustment in non-metropolitan areas. You'll need to achieve at least 65 points to be eligible for the visa, although invitations are often issued to candidates with higher point scores.

Skill Assessment:

Obtaining a positive skills assessment is a crucial step for the Subclass 491 visa. This assessment, conducted by the relevant authority for your chosen occupation, verifies your qualifications, expertise, and experience to meet Australian employment standards in your field. Each profession has its designated assessing body that evaluates your credentials against industry benchmarks. Remember, these skills assessments have an expiration date, so ensure yours is current when applying for the Subclass 491 visa.

Application Process for Visa Subclass 491

Step 1: Before applying

You need to lodge an expression of interest via SkillSelect.

Step 2: Gathering documents

You must submit documentation to back up the statements in your EOI and demonstrate that you meet the visa requirements.

  • Present accurate information
  • Proof of identity
  • Evidence of relationships
  • Character references
  • Documentation for English proficiency
  • Records relating to partners, dependants under 18, and those over 18
  • Skills evaluation papers
  • Materials related to your Expression of Interest
  • Sponsorship documents
  • Nomination records

Step 3: Applying for the visa

Once you receive your invitation, you have the option to submit your application online. Whether you are located within or outside of Australia, you will be given a 60-day window from the date of your invitation to complete the visa application process.

  • Ensure all information provided is precise
  • Utilize ImmiAccount for submitting the visa application

Step 4: After applying

Applicants will be informed by the Department of Home Affairs once their application has been received. If a bridging visa is approved, applicants will receive an official notification about the visa grant. Updates on the status of the application and any additional information required will be given to keep applicants informed throughout the process. For travel plans after submitting the application, it is recommended that applicants review any specific instructions or restrictions through their ImmiAccount.

Step 5: Visa outcome

If the visa application is approved, the applicant will be given:

  • Visa Grant Number: A unique identification number assigned to the approved visa.
  • Visa Start Date: The date when the visa becomes valid for use by the applicant.
  • Visa Conditions (if applicable): Any specific terms or limitations associated with the approved visa that must be followed by the holder.

In case of a refusal, the Department will provide:

  • Reason for Refusal: A detailed explanation of why the visa was not granted.
  • Review Rights: Information on whether there are options available to request a review of this decision.

Please note that if a visa application is denied, no refund will be provided for any application charges.

Visa Conditions and Duration

The Subclass 491 visa offers temporary residency in Australia for up to five years for you and your family. While this visa cannot be directly extended, it can serve as a stepping stone to permanent residency. After meeting residency requirements and other criteria for three years, you can apply for a Permanent Residency (PR) visa. This PR visa pathway involves maintaining residence in a regional area, reaching specific income thresholds, and adhering to visa conditions. Fulfilling these requirements allows you to pursue permanent residency and build a long-term future in Australia.

Pathway to Permanent Residency

The Subclass 491 visa grants successful applicants and their eligible family members the chance to live, work, and study in regional Australia for up to five years. This visa serves as a pathway to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 visa, which became available in November 2022. By fulfilling specific requirements for regional residence, income thresholds, and visa conditions over three years, you can transition to permanent residency and build a long-term life in Australia.


To qualify for the Subclass 191 visa, individuals must fulfill specific criteria including:

  • Maintenance of a valid Subclass 491 visa for at least three years.
  • Meeting an established minimum taxable income requirement over three years while holding the Subclass 491 visa.
  • Adherence to all conditions of the Subclass 491 visa such as living, working, and studying in a regional area.
  • If these requirements for the Subclass 191 visas are satisfied, then applicants can seek permanent residency in Australia along with their families. This type of visa presents an opportunity for skilled workers and their families to establish themselves within regional areas; subsequently contributing towards economic growth and development within those regions.


The Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa targets skilled workers seeking temporary residency in regional Australia. It tackles skill shortages and boosts regional growth by enabling visa holders and their families to live, work, and study in designated areas for up to five years. After meeting specific criteria over three years, applicants can pursue Permanent Residency. While factors like occupation nomination, skills assessment, and state/territory nomination require attention, this visa pathway allows individuals to contribute to regional development and enjoy the benefits of temporary residency in Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Subclass 491 visa is designed for skilled workers and their families to reside and work in specified regional areas of Australia.

State nomination involves a state or territory government agency nominating skilled workers for the Subclass 491 visa depending on their occupation and their willingness to reside and work in a particular regional area.

The Subclass 491 visa requires applicants to have a suitable occupation listed in the skilled occupation list, receive a favorable skill assessment, satisfy the minimum points needed on the points test, obtain state nomination, and be within the age limit.

The points-based system allocates points depending on factors such as age, proficiency in English, work history, qualifications, and other pertinent criteria. To qualify for the Subclass 491 visa, candidates need to obtain at least 65 points.

The Subclass 491 visa includes requirements for visa holders to reside, work, and attend school in a specified regional area for at least three years. Visa holders must also adhere to all relevant Australian regulations and visa terms.

The Subclass 491 visa offers a route to permanent residency via the Subclass 191 visa. Upon holding the Subclass 491 visa for at least three years and fulfilling certain criteria, like achieving a minimum taxable income and abiding by visa terms, individuals can seek permanent residency.

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