491 visa– Queensland Small Business Owners Pathway

Queensland has a Small Business Owners pathway (491 visa) that allows the state to nominate applicants who are currently living and operating a small business in regional Queensland. To be eligible, the applicant must meet the Department of Home Affairs ‘s (DoHA) requirement and the Queensland BSMQ’s requirements. From 18 December 2020, the QLD Visa 491 – Small Business Owners Pathway is OPEN

DoHA’s requirements

  • Have at least 65 points
  • Have a positive skills assessment
  • Be under 45 years old
  • Meet the minimum English language requirement (Even if you are from an exempt country (UK, Ireland, United States, Canada and New Zealand) it is recommended you take an English test for points purposes.)

BSMQ’s requirements

  • Have an occupation that is on the skills occupation list. This can be on the short- or long-term list.
  • Have previous experience operating a successful business for at least 6 months (show BAS statements). It can include experience in running a family business.
  • Be on a visa that allows full-time work and operation of the business for a minimum of 35 hours per week. (e.g. a subclass 485 visa holder)
  • Have bought an existing business in regional Queensland. This does not include start-up, home-based business. You can buy a franchise, but it must have been operating for at least a year (Your business does not need to be related to your nominated occupation, but you still must be able to show relevant business experience or a qualification to demonstrate you will be able to successfully run the business.).
  • Invested at least $100,000 in the business (it is OK if you bring in the funds from offshore to purchase a business). You can purchase the business for market value, however you must show that a total investment (capital investment rather than operating costs) of $100,000 has been made into the business by the time you submit the EOI. It must be an pre-existing business. A start-up business is not an eligible business for this pathway.
  • Have 100% ownership of the business.
  • The business must be trading for at least 6 months before making the application.
  • Employed one employee who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or subclass 444 holders and show payslips, PAYG statements. The employee must work for at least 20 hours per week. They cannot be a family member or a subcontractor.
  • the person applying must be the one operating the business.


The application fee is $220 (including GST).

Processing times

Approximately 10 days

491 visa

The 491 visa is a 5 year provisional visa. It is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. It allows your to live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia. The 491 visa has a pathway to PR through the 191 visa.

Eligible postcodes to operate a business

4124 to 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4207 to 4275, 4280 to 4287, 4306 to 4498, 4507, 4517 to 4519, 4550 to 4575, 4580 to 4895.

Notice about the 491 – SBO (Small Business Owners) Program From 1 April 2021:
  •  the pre-existing business purchased will need to have been in operation for 2 years instead of 1 year.
  • There will also need to be a minimum purchase price of $100,000 (rather than total investment in the business).
  • Furthermore, sub-leases of franchises (such as petrol stations), and home-based businesses (such as courier and cleaning businesses) will not be considered.
  • These requirements are aimed at ensuring the program is sustainable in the long-term.

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