Small Business Owner Comparison – 491 visa – a pathway to Australia permanent residency

The skilled migration program (SC491 visa) in Australia has been the most popular program used by migrants to obtain permanent residency status in this country. Therefore, Australia receives thousands of applications every year under the skilled migration program from people around the world, which makes the program highly competitive. For those who are in Australia and cannot meet certain requirements of the states/ territories (for instance, occupations, work experience or job offer), and wish to run a business in that state/ territory, they might consider the Small Business Owner (SBO) pathway to aim for the permanent residency.

Currently, as of July 2021, there are 3 states in Australia, which are Queensland, Tasmania and Canberra, that have in place the SBO streams for migrants. We have detailed all the requirements and application process for this stream in these states in our previous articles:

There are many requirements, and you might find it difficult to digest. Therefore, in this article, we would like to make a comparison for the SBO streams in these 3 states, so that you will have a better understanding of which state would suit you best in your situation.

Types of Eligible visa


491 (Provisional) 491 (Provisional) 190 (Permanent Resident) and 491 (Provisional)

Your Current visa
You must be on a visa that gives your full work rights (i.e student visa is not eligible) You can be on any types of visas You can be on any types of visas
Your location
You must be in Queensland for at least 6 months You must be in Tasmania for at least 6 months You must be in Canberra for at least 3 months for 491 nomination, and 6 months for 190 nomination

Types of business
Must buy an existing business. If you are buying a franchise business, it must have been operating for at least 1 year. Must establish a new business Can either buy an existing business or establish a new one
Value of the Business


At least AUD 100,000 No requirement No requirement
Ownership Percentage
100% 100% At least 51%. Your business partner must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Annual Turnover of the business


No specific requirement No specific requirement AUD 200,000 (or pro rata)
Length of Business


At least 6 months before applying At least 6 months before applying At least 6 months before applying
Number of Australian citizen/ PR Employees
You must employ at least one employee who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or subclass 444 holders for at least 20 hours/ week. No requirement You must employ at least one Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen for at least 13 weeks (minimum 20 hrs pw)
Your Salary
No specific requirement. However, you still need to meet the AUD 53,900 income requirement for 3 years in the next 5 years to be eligible for 191 permanent visa You must demonstrate that the business is able to give you a personal income of at least $53,900 for at least 3 years in the next 5 years Your salary must be at least:

·         AUD 26,000/ 6 months for 190 nomination

·         AUD 13,000/ 3 months for 491 nomination

Ineligible types of Business
·         Start-up

·         Home-based businesses

·         Part owned

·         A business that has been used to qualify for QLD SBO stream

·         Franchising

·         Part owned

·         Passive business investment

·         Service stations

·         Massage clinics

·         Taxi/Uber related business

·         Sub-tenancy

·         Ride-share, taxi

·         Courier Services

·         A business that has been used to qualify for ACT SBO stream

Recent News

Ending ‘visa hopping’ – 600 and 485 visas to student

35 Years or Under Age Limit for 485 Visa (50 for Masters by research and PhD)

Core Skills Occupations List (CSOL)

Bridging Visa R

Genuine Student (GS)