Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored (Regional) visa enables regional employers to address identified labour shortages within their region by sponsoring skilled workers where employers can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker.
The 494 visa replaced the 187 (RSMS) visa and commenced November 16, 2019. The 494 visa has 10,000 places allocated per year. It requires employer sponsorship from a regional employer and the position must be likely to exist for 5 years. It has a 45 year age limit (exemptions apply), competent English, RCB advice and must meet the AMSR. Visa applicants must have a suitable skills assessment and at least 3 years’ skilled employment.
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 only in the nominated position. Visa holders must commence work within 90 days of the visa being granted and must only work in your nominated occupation and only work for the nominating employer in regional Australia. If you do not, your visa may be cancelled.
Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas.
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 permanent visa pathway is:
- 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. You must show earnings of at least $53,900 per annum for three years. Your partner can also be the main applicant for the 191 visa if they can demonstrate this criteria.
Effect on current 187 RSMS regional visa:
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (subclass 187) will close to new applicants from November 16, 2019. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for applicants who have lodged both the Nomination and Visa and are undecided at that time.
494 visa requirements (visa applicant):
- Age under 45 at time of application (exemptions apply)
- Competent English at time of application
- You must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least 3 years on a full-time basis and at the skill level required for the nominated occupation. Generally, you should have gained your experience within the last 5 years. The period does not need to be continuous. Equivalent part-time work may be considered. DHA does not consider casual work.
- GTE requirement does not apply
- If in Australia, hold a substantive or Bridging Visa A, B or C
- Successful skills assessment at time of application
- Doctor registration requirement does not apply
- DoHA Fee (main applicant) $4,045 and for spouse: $2,025, children under 18 : $1010
- Second VAC: $4890 if adult applicant does not meet Functional English
494 Employer and job offer requirements:
- Employer must be located in a designated regional Australia, everywhere except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
- Regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.
- Position be on the list of eligible occupations
- Position must be full time and likely be available for 5 years
- employer will need approval from the Regional Certifying Body (RCB)
- Employer must pay the Australian Market Salary Rate (AMSR)
Benefits of the 494 visa:
- Can apply for permanent residence without a second nomination stage, if eligible, through the subclass 191 visa (commences 16 November 2022)
- Lower cost to employers with only one SAF levy stage for the subclass 494 nomination (compared to the two stages for the current subclass 482 to ENS subclass 186 permanent resident pathway)
Conditions and pathway to PR:
- Must live and work for 3 years on the 494 visa in regional areas to get Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) 191 Visa
- Can move between jobs but will have 90 days to find a new nominator
- Cannot apply for any other skilled PR or 820 partner visa for 3 years
- Eligible for Medicare on 494 visa – Health insurance not required
SAF Charges (Subclass 494 Visa)
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
The following table summarises the amount of the charge that apply:
|Years elapsed||Turnover less than AUD 10 million||In any other case|
|<1||AUD 3000||AUD 5000|
|1-less than 2||AUD 2400||AUD 4000|
|2-less than 3||AUD 1800||AUD 3000|
|3-less than 4||AUD 1200||AUD 2000|
|4-less than 5||AUD 600||AUD 1000|