Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored (Regional)

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.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) – Direct Entry stream

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:

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):
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:

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

The 494 visa provides a pathway to apply for permanent residence in Australia through the 191 visa.

The Regional 494 Visa provides a direct pathway to Permanent Residence (PR) through the Subclass 191 Visa after 3 years of regional work. This is a key benefit compared to the limited PR pathways available through the 482 TSS Visa program. There are however changes planned for TSS 482 visas and additional PR pathways

You can access permanent residence through the Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa when the following is met: You have worked in the designated regional area for at least three years, whilst holding a 494 visa. 191 visa income requirements can be seen here.

The 494 visa occupation list has over 630 occupations, all of which provide a PR pathway. However, only the occupations on the medium-term list for the 482 visa have a PR pathway under the ENS (subclass 186) after completing 3 years’ full-time employment with the sponsor.

Yes, all temporary visa applicants, including 494 visa holders, require approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy property anywhere in Australia.

You must generally be under 45 years of age unless exempt.

If you are a holder of a subclass 491 or 494 you must have held that visa for at least 3 years before you can lodge an application for a subclass 189 or 190. You will have to meet all criteria of that visa subclass in order to be granted the new visa.
The 491 visa requires state or territory nomination or sponsorship by an eligible family member, while the 494 visa requires employer sponsorship.
494 visa holders cannot change their employer before a nomination by the new employer is approved, unless they are in a specified occupation.