The 191 visa allows people who have lived and worked for at least three years in a designated regional area to reside permanently in Australia. Applicants must have held an eligible visa during that time. The minimum requirements for the 191 visa are set out below.
With this visa you can:
- stay permanently
- work and study anywhere in Australia
- Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
- apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible.
Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must:
- hold a regional provisional visa subclass 491 or 494 visa when they apply for the Subclass 191 visa, and have held that visa for at least three years;
- have earned the minimum income for at least three years as the holder of a regional provisional visa; and
- have complied with the conditions of the regional provisional visa.
Related: 191 visa income requirements
The visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas (condition 8579) and if employer sponsored, only in the nominated position. Visa holders can move between regional areas. Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.
Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist. Additionally, similar to current arrangements for the subclass 457 and 482 visa program, holders of the new provisional visas can be negatively impacted by sponsor non-compliance.
The new permanent visa will be:
- Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements.
Effect on current regional visas:
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (subclass 187) and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489) have been closed to new applicants since November 16, 2019. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for applications which have been lodged and are undecided at that time, as well as applicants whose pathway currently targets the permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887).
Skilled Migration Changes:
The skilled migration points test changed on November 16, 2019. The changes affected subclass 491 applicants as well as applications for other skilled migration visas that have not been assessed at that time (but only in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points). The new points details are:
– 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 (Skills assessment and Competent English); OR
– 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’;
– 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
– 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.
Additionally, the raking order for invitations will change. The new ranking order will be as follows:
– First – primary applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner;
– Equal First – primary applicants without a spouse or de facto partner;
– Second – Primary applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who can demonstrate competent English, but does not have the skills for skilled partner points (age and skills);
– Third – Primary applicants with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points. These applicants will be ranked below all other cohorts, if all other points claims are equal.
How long you can stay
This is a permanent visa. It lets you stay in Australia indefinitely.
The visa has a travel component that expires 5 years after the date of visa grant.
For citizenship purposes, your permanent residence starts on the day we grant the visa if you are in Australia.