Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa
The legislation for the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, subclass 494, has recently been released and while there are a still some unknown elements (such as what occupations will be on the list), we now have a much better idea on what to expect when they are introduced on 16 November 2019.
There will be two streams of the visa:
- Employer sponsored for employers who hold Standard Business Sponsorships (except if they are an overseas business sponsor)
- Labour Agreement for employers who are party to a work agreement, negotiated between the company, government and other stakeholders
Regardless of the stream, the position that will be filled has to be located in a designated regional area of Australia. It appears that this will be all of Australia outside of the metropolitan areas of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth. The position also has to be genuine, full time and available for at least 5 years. There are new cancellation provisions allowing the cancellation of these visas at any time if the position is found to be not genuine.
For the employer sponsored stream, the nomination of the position must include a contract that is signed by both the applicant and sponsor, with a salary that is shown to be the market rate for that occupation. Regional Certifying Bodies will need to confirm that the salary is market rate.
The associated visa application requires that the applicant has undertaken a skills assessment and has 3 years of relevant work experience (unless they are exempt, but we do not have details on what this might include). The visa application in this stream includes an ability for the health requirement to be waived.
The visa if granted will be valid for 5 years with a number of reporting conditions attached.
There will be transitional arrangements in place for applicants that held or had applied for a subclass 457 visa before 17 April 2017, or a subclass 482 visa before 20 March 2019, but it not clear what these will be as yet.
After holding a subclass 494 visa for 3 years, applicant can apply for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional), subclass 191, visa, without needing to have the employer sponsor them, provided they have complied with all the conditions on the visa and have a salary over the 3 income years at least equal to a certain amount (however, this amount is not yet set).
As more information becomes available, we will get a better idea on some of the areas that are still unclear. What is very apparent however is that employers and temporary visa holders will need to plan for the change.