State requirements for 491 visa

Below is a summary of the state opening dates for the 491 visa and further detailed information.

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa allows points-tested skilled workers and their families to live, study and work in designated regional areas for a period of 5 years. If you are granted a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa, you may be eligible to apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (subclass 191) visa, which provides permanent residence and the right to live and work anywhere in Australia.

The subclass 491 is a provisional points-tested visa to assist regional Australia to access the people and skills it needs to grow and thrive. This visa is for people who wish to settle in regional Australia who have skills that are in high demand in Australia’s labour market. This visa is administered by the Department of Home Affairs.

It is worth noting that besides the minimum requirements from the Department of Home Affairs, each state/ territory government has their own set of requirements that all applicants who want to be nominated must meet. Navigating the state/ territory requirements is often complicated.

Understanding these difficulties, we have compiled the basic requirements of all states/ territories in this article so you can have a better idea of what need to be met to increase your chance of getting invitations.

State and Territory nominated visa allocations (2021 – 2022)

The allocations show the maximum number of visas each state/ territory is allocated each year.

State Skilled nominated (SC 190) Visa Skilled Work Regional (SC 491) Visa Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP)
ACT 600 1,400 30
NSW 4,000 3,640 2,200
VIC 3,500 500 1,750
QLD 1,000 1,250 1,400
NT 500 500 75
WA 1,100 340 360
SA 2,600 2,600 1,000
TAS 1,100 2,200 45
Total 14,400 12,430 6,860

Key summary

Residence Reside in NSW Reside in regional Victoria for at least 3 months Reside in Canberra for at least 6 months No Yes Closed Reside in Tasmania Reside in SA
Local Employment Not required No (from 7 July 2021)) Yes – at least 6 months Yes Must show good job prospect Closed Yes if not apply under Graduates category Yes
Offshore invite No No No No No Closed Yes – if have job offer No
Fees (AUD) $300 Nil $300 $200 $300 $200 $220 $330

Victoria 491 visa criteria

 Victoria’s Skilled Migration Program for 2021-22 will open to new Registrations of Interest (ROIs) on 7 July 2021. The Department of Home Affairs has provided Victoria with 3,500 subclass 190 places, and 500 subclass 491 places.

This year we will be selecting candidates who are currently living and working in Victoria, using their STEMM skills in a target sector. For further information on eligibility requirements, please see:

The major changes to the 2021-22 program are:

  • The removal of the minimum experience and hours worked requirement.
  • An increase in the number of target sectors.
  • Applicants must have STEMM skills and have a Skill Level 1 or 2 occupation.  Applicants for subclass 491 nomination may also have a Skill Level 3 occupation using their STEMM skills.

If you submitted a ROI for the 2020-21 program and were not selected, you must submit a new ROI in 2021-22.

Previously the requirements were:

  • Already be living in regional Victoria
  • Already be working in regional Victoria (minimum 3 months employment)
  • Work in a highly skilled occupation in health, medical research, life sciences, agri-food or digital sectors which supports Victoria’s economic recovery and/or health response.
  • See Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) for further information.


ACT 491 nomination criteria:

The Australian government has directed ACT to nominate those who can support the economic recovery post-COVID. As such, you must meet the following criteria before you apply for the nomination:

  • Resided in Canberra for at least 3 months
  • One of the following:
    • Nominated occupation is on the ACT Critical Skills List (July 2021), OR
    • A primary holder of a subclass 457/482 visa sponsored by an ACT employer:
      • You have worked in Canberra for the sponsor for at least 3 months
      • The visa must have a minimum of 12 months validity at time of nomination application.
    • Must be working for an ACT employer in Canberra for at least 3 months (must be paid employment, and for a minimum of 20 hours per week).

You can find the ACT Critical Skills List  here, July 2021).


WA State nomination under 491 visa

WA state nomination for 491 visa is currently open.

There are two streams under which WA state nominations are issues: General Stream and Graduate Stream. Depending on which lists your occupation falls into, you must apply under the suitable stream.

General Stream Eligibility

  • Occupation must be in the General Stream occupational list.
  • Must be residing in Australia;
  • Meet language requirement. This requirement depends on of occupation group.
  • Must have at least one year of Australian work experience in the nominated (or closely related) occupation over the last 10 years or at least three years of overseas work experience in the nominated (or closely related) occupation over the last 10 years.
  • Must have a genuine full-time job offer in Western Australia in your nominated occupation for at least 12 months.
  • Have sufficient settlement funds if you are not residing in Western Australia.

Graduate Stream Eligibility

  • Occupation must be in the Graduate Stream occupational list.
  • Must be residing in Australia;
  • Meet language requirement. This requirement depends on of occupation group.
  • At least two years study in Western Australia.
  • Must have at least 06 months works experience in the nominated occupation or have a six month contract of employment in your nominated (or closely related) occupation in Western Australia.
  • Have sufficient settlement funds if you are not residing in Western Australia.


NT 491 nomination criteria

Onshore applications for Northern Territory nomination under the General Skilled Migration program can now be lodged through the online application system. Offshore applications remain closed while the national border restrictions stay in place.


QLD 491 nomination criteria

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) is CLOSED.

EOI’s for the 491 from 1–7 February 2021 and 19 – 25 April 2021, are currently being processed.

Queensland 491-SBO (Small Business Owners) Pathway is OPEN.  QLD Subclass 491 SBO Pathway, this stream is basically for migrants who are willing to invest a minimum of $100,000 in a business located in QLD regional area.

BSMQ will also prioritise businesses which create jobs, OR support COVID recovery industries, OR are located in a regional area.

QLD are unable to process applicants who are s48 barred.


NSW 491 nomination criteria

Stream 1 — I am living and working in Regional NSW

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on the Stream 1 Combined Occupation List.
  • have been living in a designated regional area of NSW for at least the previous twelve months; and
  • have been working in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, in a designated regional area of NSW, for at least the previous twelve months

Stream 2 — I have recently completed study in Regional NSW

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region’s occupation list
  • have completed study or education with an education provider, where:
    • the study was completed within the previous 24 months
    • the education provider is in a designated regional area in NSW
    • the study meets the Australian study requirement (as determined by Home Affairs); and
    • the qualification obtained from this study was assessed as closely related to your nominated occupation by the relevant assessing authority; and
  • have lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study

Stream 3 — I am skilled in an occupation required in Regional NSW

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region’s occupation list
  • Be currently residing in an Australian state or territory
  • Offshore candidates are now eligible to submit an ROI under Stream 3. Note: the likelihood of being invited to apply is very low. We strongly recommend all prospective offshore candidates explore all other migration pathways available. Please book an appointment to discuss your options and pathways.


TAS 491 nomination criteria

Tasmania has now received its full nomination quota for the 2020 – 21 program year. The full allocation is made up of:

  • Subclass 491 – 1400 places
  • Subclass 190 – 1000 places
  • Business migration – 45 places

Approximately 25% of skilled visa nomination places have been used.

This includes:

  • individual providing critical or specialist medical services, or
  • individual with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services, or
  • individual who are involved in delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery.

International graduates who do not work in the critical area would be unlikely to receive a nomination at this stage.


SA 491 nomination criteria

South Australia will open its skilled migration program on 20 July 2021 for this financial year. With a total of 5,200 places allocated for both 190 and 491 nominations, South Australia has announce its changes to the migration program with the following key points:

  • Applicants residing in Australia but not in South Australia now are eligible for the South Australia under Talent and Innovator Employment Stream
  • Offshore applicants are eligible for South Australia state nomination, depending on their nominated occupations.
  • There are 3 main streams: Talent and Innovators Program, Currently living and working in South Australia, and International Graduates stream.
  • For some instances, applicants do not need to work in their nominated occupation to apply for the state nomination.

The South Australian program is focused on:

  1. Talent and Innovators Program

This program is intended for skilled migrants who can contribute to South Australia’s priority sectors. It is divided into four streams:

  • Employment stream
  • Start-up and small business stream
  • Independent talent stream
  1. Currently working in South Australia

This program is accessible for applicants who are:

  • Currently living and working in South Australia
  • Living and working in regional South Australia
  • Living and working in South Australia as a long-term resident
  1. International Graduate of South Australia

Students who complete their studies in South Australia can access additional waivers and concessions. There are various requirements to meet before the applicant can apply for this stream. Some of the requirements include:

  • The course must be CRICOS registered with a minimum of 46 weeks.
  • A minimum of 50 % of the qualification must be completed in South Australia.
  • The applicant must reside in South Australia for at least one year during his/her studies.
  • The applicant must continue to reside in South Australia post-study.
  • For subclass 190 or 491 nominations, the applicant must be working in South Australia in his/her nominated occupation.


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