16 November 2019 – New Subclass 491, 494 and 191 visas to replace subclass 489 and 187 visas announced.


Applications lodged prior should not be effected.

The new 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa carries hallmarks of the current 489 visa such as:

  • state and family sponsorship,
  • positive skills assessment within 3 years,
  • competent English,
  • under age of 45,

with some significant differences:

  • Visa is for 5 years instead of 4
  • New points by amend the points test in Schedule 6D to the Migration Regulations to award:
    • 15 points for nomination by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;
    • 10 points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner;
    • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
    • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’;
    • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner;

(These points will have effect on 189 and 190 visas. The new points will benefit regional state and family sponsored visas over 189 and 190 visas. There will be no advantage and only disadvantage for applicant with partners, where Singles and Skilled partner will gain 5 extra points over partners with competent English, and none competent English speaking partner will loose 5 or 10 points comparatively)

  • It is mandatory for visa holders to holder the 491 visas for 3 years before they can move to other skills visas such as 189 and 190 skilled visas or 132 and 188 business visas or the 186 employed sponsored visas.
  • New definition of Regional areas to exclude Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane Gold Coast, Perth. Inclusive of Canberra, Wollongong and Newcastle, Central Coast where previously excluded under the 489 program.
  • Additional occupations may be available to more than 500.
  • 4 new and mandatory visa conditions such as
    • notify department within 14 days of changes of contact or passport or employer’s details,
    • or provide the information within 28 days at the request of the department including educational institution’s details,
    • must live and work in Regional areas,
    • and may be asked to attend interviews.

The new 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visas bears the hallmark of the currently 482 TSS (or the old 457) visas where:

  • must be sponsored by an approved sponsor
  • employer nomination is required
  • nominating an occupation
  • pay the relevant SAF Fees of about $600 per year for business with turnover of $10 million or $1000 over $ 10million.
  • Market salary and TSMIT
  • Nomination validity of 1 year from date of approval

It also bears some hallmarks of the 187 visa where the nomination occupation must be

  • In regional areas
  • Must be certified by an approved Regional Certifying Body

For the visa applicants:

  • Must be under 45
  • Positive skills assessment is required and no more than 3 years, or if 457/482 visa holders an positive skills assessment was done for the purposes of the two visas.
  • Have competent English or waiver specified by the minister,
  • Have 3 years full time work experience at the ‘skilled level’.
  • For labour agreement stream only level of English suitable for the occupation is required and the (primary applicant who does not have functional English are required to pay $9800 English language tuition fee), 3 years experience requirement may also be waived by the minister

191 permanent visa is assessed based on a minimum income for 3 income years rather than the 887 1 year full time and 2 year residence requirements. This will be significantly more difficult to achieve for some 491 visa holders compared to the 494 visa holders.

For more information on how the news can effect you or for other updates please do visit www.lmpi.com.au or contact our Principal Lawyer Jia (Jack) Li at LMP Immigration on (+612) 90869186 or info@lmpi.com.au.