Subclass 494 Regional Employer Sponsored (Provisional) visa

The Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa is a provisional (temporary residence) visa which requires holders to live, work, and study in a regional area of Australia. Once certain residence requirements have been met, holders can apply for a permanent Regional visa.

The application process for the Subclass 494 visa are very similar to those for a Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa. This consists of 3 main parts:

Sponsorship

To apply for approval as a Standard Business Sponsor, the business would need to provide evidence that it is actively and lawfully operating, and has the financial ability to meet its sponsorship obligations.

Australian businesses who have already been approved as sponsors for 457/TSS visas will be able to use the existing SBS to nominate for the Subclass 494 visa. It is not possible for overseas businesses to sponsor for the 494 visa.

Nomination

Employers then nominate a position located in regional Australia, and identifies the person they wish to sponsor for the role. To meet the nomination requirements, employers must show:

  • The nominated occupation is on the Subclass 494 Medium-Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  • Labour Market Testing has been undertaken - no exemptions apply
  • The nominee will be paid a market rate salary, which is not less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) of $53,900
  • The Regional Certifying Body for their area has certified the market rate salary
  • The role will be available for at least 5 years

Skilling Australians Fund

A Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy is payable for each nomination under the 494 program, as follows:

  • For businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10m, a one-off, upfront payment of $3,000 per nominee.
  • For businesses will an annual turnover of more than $10m, a one-off, upfront payment of $5,000 per nominee.

The revenue raised from these payments will go towards the training of Australian workers.

Visa

The employee would then apply for a visa to work in Australia to fill the nominated position. This would involve providing evidence that they:

  • Are aged between 18 and 44 inclusive*
  • Have Competent English or higher, and their dependent family members over 18 years of age have at least Functional English
  • Hold a positive skill assessment in the nominated occupation*
  • Have at least 3 years of relevant skilled work experience*
  • Meet health and character requirements
*Limited exemptions are available.

Duration and Conditions

The Subclass 494 visa is valid for 5 years from the date of grant, and requires all visa holders to live, work, and study in regional Australia. Visa holders are eligible for Australian Medicare for the life of this visa.

494 Visas are subject to a condition limiting the primary visa holder to only work for the nominating employer, and only in the occupation in which they were sponsored. If the visa holder ceases work, they have 90 days to find a new employer or the visa is liable for cancellation.

Conversion to Permanent Residency

It is possible to apply for a permanent Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after living and working in a regional area for at least 3 years. Unlike the transitional pathway for ENS or RSMS visas, the Subclass 191 visa does not require that holders have been working for the same employer for the 3-year period, and does not require nomination from an employer in order to apply for the permanent visa.

Applicants must still meet certain income requirements, and be able to prove their residence in regional Australia for the 3-year period.

Applicants should also note that there are restrictions on applying for other permanent visas, such as the 189, 190 or 820 Partner visa until they have held the 494 for the three year period.

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