From 16 November 2019 the Migration Amendment 2019 amends the Migration Regulations from 1994 to introduce three new immigration visas with the aim of bringing more skilled workers to the regional areas of Australia.
New skilled regional visas are:
1. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa – visa for applicants sponsored by a State or Territory government agency or a family member residing in a designated regional area of Australia.
2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional subclass 494 visa – visa that helps employers in Australia’s regional areas to employ skilled foreign workers through Employer-Sponsored and Labour agreement.
3. Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191
Provisional visas of subclass 494 and subclass 491 will enter into force on 16 November 2019 and will replace existing visas of subclass 187 and subclass 489.
A permanent visa of subclass 191 will enter into force on 16 November 2022 and it is for applicants who hold visas of subclass 491 or subclass 494 at the time of lodging the application.
We will focus in this article on the visa 491.
New Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa
New Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa replaces the existing Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.
This visa, as well as the visa subclass 489, is for applicants sponsored by a State or Territory government agency or a family member who resides in a designated regional area. Also, applicants will still need to meet the requirements concerning the test of points, age, English, skills assessment, character and health requirements applicable to a visa 489.
What are the changes introduced by the new law compared to the visa 489?
The major change that is being introduced is a change in point test counts that will bring an increase in the points awarded and include the following:
• 15 points for applicants nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by a family member residing in regional Australia, instead of current 10 points
• 10 points for having a skilled spouse or de facto partner who has certain qualifications;
• 10 points for having certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) qualifications
• 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner who has competent English ( all 6 in the IELTS test minimum);
• 10 points for applicants who do not have a spouse or de facto partner
New rules of race – visa 491
The new law introduces new rules of race between candidates by introducing such a rule that priority will be given to candidates in the following order:
1. Applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who is eligible as the applicant (has positive Skills assessment, required occupation, age, competent English…)
2. Applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.
3. Applicants with a spouse of de facto partner who has competent English no matter whether they meet the other requirements or not, as long as they have this level of English
4. Applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who is not eligible for either competent English or immigration.
It should be noted that this amendment of the law introduces a revised points system applied not only for the visa subclass 491 but also for the existing visas of subclasses 189, 190 and 489 for applicants who need to be assessed at a points test. The awarding of additional points is positive and designed to contribute to the improvement of regional economic development.
New period of visa validity – visa 491
Also, the another change is that the time required to live and work in regional Australia in order to be eligible for permanent residency and visa will increase from 2 years to 3 years. Accordingly, visa validity period will also increase from 4 years to 5 years. This change aims to ensure that those who apply for this visa stay in a particular regional area, rather than move to an urban center.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 visa allows family members to apply for a visa at the same time as the primary applicant. They may also apply for a visa after the primary applicant lodge application, provided that the application for a primary applicant’s visa has not been rejected.
Visa applications may also be submitted after the visa subclass 491 has been issued to the primary applicant, provided that that person continues to have subclass 491. This allows family members of a skilled primary applicant to migrate to Australia at the same time or to join the primary applicant during the period of validity of the visa.
Conditions of visa 491
Below are the new conditions applicable to this visa:
• The holders of this visa must live, work and study exclusively in certain regional areas of Australia in order to support population growth and economic development in regional communities. Under a certain regional area is considered any part of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.
• The holders of this visa must notify the Australian Immigration Department of any change in the residence address, contact information, passport information, address or address of the employer and the address of the place where is employed;
• The holders of this visa must provide information and evidence relating to their location, if requested;
• The holders of this visa must, if requested by the Ministry, attend an interview in the manner specified in the request.
More about the new law that was introduced on 08.04.2019 and which enters into force on 16.11.2019. you can read on the following link.
Please keep in mind that these are the latest information we currently have. Follow our blog to be informed and updated on the changes related to these visas.
For any additional information regarding immigration and other visas, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a consultation.
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