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On the 16th of November 2019 two new Regional Visas were introduced by the Department of Home Affairs. Together with this the Department added more regions to what is considered a Regional Area and they also announced changes to the Points Test.

There is one of the new Regional Visas that is what we call a “Points-tested visa” so the changes in the points test affect them, but it is important to remember that the “old” Permanent Skilled Visas Subclass 189 (Independent) and Subclass 190 (State-Nominated) are also subject to points test and have been impacted by these changes.

First, let’s talk about the 2 new Regional Visas. It’s important to note the following:

  • They are both temporary visas which will be granted for 5 years;
  • You can’t simply go to a regional area and apply for one of the new visas, as it was the case with the “old” visas the 2 new ones have replaced. You can only apply for these 2 new visas if you obtain one of the following:
    • State Nomination: where you meet certain occupations, work and study requirements, which will vary from state to state;
    • Family Nomination: where you have a family member who lives in a regional area and will nominate you; or
    • Sponsorship and Job offer by a Regional employer


The 2 new Regional Visas are:


  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa, which has replaced the Subclass 489 visa;
  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Visa, which has replaced the Subclass 187 RSMS visa.

The main blow for applicants has been the loss of the 187 RSMS Visa, which was a permanent visa. The visa that replaced it (the 494) is a temporary visa.

The best feature of the new visas is that they will open a unique pathway to permanent residence via the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa after 3 years of holding either the 491 or the 494 visas.

The 191 permanent visa doesn’t exist yet so we can’t tell you exactly what the requirements are now, but what we know so far is that:

– The 191 visa will be introduced by 16/11/2022

– To qualify for this visa applicants will have to live and work in a regional area for a period of no less than 3 years (after the 491 or 494 visas are granted) before being able to apply for a permanent visa 191;

– Applicants will have to earn an annual level of income of at least AU$ 53,900 for each of the 3 financial years before they are able to apply for permanent residency via the 191 visa.

But the question everyone is asking is:

What do I need to do to apply for one of these visas?

In a nutshell, the answer is: you will need to find a job in one of the Regional Areas, or spend some time living, studying and in some cases, working, in one of the Regional Areas.

For the Subclass 494 you will need to find a job offer in your field, in a Regional Area, and your employer must be willing to sponsor you and go through a lot of paperwork.

For the Subclass 491 you will need to be nominated by a State or Territory and most of them require you to have been living there for a minimum period of time, studying on a Student Visa, working part-time on a Student Visa or even in some cases working full time on a temporary visa that gives you work rights. Unless if you are being nominated by a relative who lives in a Regional Area.

So if you want to have a chance at any of these visas, you most likely should move to a Regional Area (if you are not there already) and start working and studying there.

Please don’t go crazy and move cities before speaking to a Registered Migration Agent!

Every state has different requirements and you need to find out if you can and want to meet those requirements, as well as find out if you meet the requirements of the 491 or 494 visa.

The requirements for the visas are:

  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa:
    • You must be under 45 years of age;
    • You must nominate a Skilled Occupation in the relevant State or Territory List for this Visa – another advantage is that the 491 has way more occupations available than the 189 and 190 Permanent Skilled Visas
    • You must obtain a positive Skills Assessment in your occupation from the relevant assessing authority;
    • You must meet a minimum of 65 points in the Points Test;
    • You must meet State Nomination criteria or be sponsored by a family member residing in a regional area;


  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Visa
    • You must have a full time job offer in your field, in a regional area
    • The occupation must be in the right list for this visa
    • You must obtain a positive Skills Assessment in your occupation from the relevant assessing authority
    • The business offering you the job and the position offered must be approved by Immigration as in a Sponsorship 482 TSS Visa (they will look at salary level, genuineness of position, require payment to the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) among other
    • You must have at least 3 years of full-time work experience in the same type of occupation;
    • You must be under 45

Both visas require Competent English, which is equivalent to 6 in each component of the IELTS General Exam.

Some important things to know:

  • Both the 491 and the 494 are temporary visas that will be valid for a period of 5 years (giving the applicant a buffer to meet requirements for permanent residency);
  • The new visas will receive priority processing over other visa categories;
  • For the subclass 491 visa there will be 504 eligible occupations – 77 more occupations that previous list for the 489 visa;
  • For the subclass 494 visa there will be 673 eligible occupations – 450 more occupations than the non-regional list;
  • Both 491 and 494 (while provisional visas) will grant access to Medicare to its visa holders!
  • All members of the family will be required to live, work and study in regional area for 3 years to be eligible for PR.

And what are the Regional Areas now?


new regional areas 2019

There is a simplified new definition to “regional”, which means  “all of Australia”, except:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane

This means that the Gold Coast and Perth became Regional Centres – What does it mean?

That means that applicants living in such areas will be able to apply for the 491 and 494 visas (if they meet state requirements or find a job in these regions) and:

  • Students applying for graduate skilled visas (subclass 485) will be eligible for an additional year in the visa, in case they have completed either a Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree or Doctorate in University in those areas
  • Students graduating in these regions can now claim 5 extra points in the Points Test, which before was not possible.

    What other changes happened to the Points Test?


  • Remember, the points test is only applicable to the subclass 491 when it comes to the new regional visas, but it also applies to the “old” Permanent Skilled Visas 189 and 190.
  • The minimum points have remained at 65
  • State nomination points for the 491 visa went up from 10 to 15 points;
  • Specialist Education Qualification – Masters Degree by research or Doctorate in Australia will now give 10 extra points if conducted for at least 2 years in a relevant STEM field;
  • Skilled Partners:
    • Skilled Partners will now add 10 points, up from 5 (skills assessment + Competent English);
    • Partner with Competent English only will add 5 points;
    • Single applicants and applicants with Australian resident or citizen partners can claim 10 points.


In sum, these visas are a great new way of qualifying for permanent residence in Australia but as we said above, don’t go moving cities before:

– you check if you have or will soon have an occupation in the right list for the right visa (each state has their own list)

– if you would qualify for a positive Skills Assessment

– if you would meet the State Nomination requirements, when you would meet them and if it’s worth making the move

– if you could score the minimum required on the Points Test

– and most importantly, if you have a plan B in case legislation changes again.

We at Bravo can assess if you meet all requirements, discuss the best state/city to move to and help you plan the right strategy (together with a plan B).

You get all that in our Strategic Sessions and you can book them online

Just go to: https://www.bravomigration.com.au/book-online/