On Saturday 16 November, two new visas were officially launched:
Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa
Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional Visa
This follows the closure of the 489 and 187 visa categories. In a change in policy, all areas outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are now considered regional areas of Australia.
What is the Subclass 494 Visa?
The subclass 494 visa is an employer sponsored regional visa that can be valid for up to 5 years. Employers can sponsor more occupations under the subclass 494 visa than under the current TSS visa program. There is a pathway to permanent residence for these visa holders after 3 years.
What is the Subclass 491 Visa?
The subclass 491 visa is a state/territory nominated regional visa that can be valid for up to 5 years. This means that applicants must be nominated by a state/territory government agency or an eligible relative. Applicants are also required to satisfy points test requirements. Like the 494 visa, there is also a pathway to permanent residence for these visa holders after 3 years.
With effect from 16 November 2019, the SkillSelect Points Test has been updated to include Partner Points.
The Points Test is used to rank applicants for the following visas:
Subclass 189 Skilled Independent
Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated
Subclass 491 Regional Provisional
The new addition to the Points Test is the update of the Partner Skills Points category.
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and meet age, English and skill criteria
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen. Additionally, you will need to provide evidence that when you were invited to apply for this visa that they:
were under 45 years old
had competent English
had nominated a skilled occupation that is on the same skilled occupation list as your nominated skilled occupation
had a suitable skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for their nominated skilled occupation, and the assessment wasn’t for a Subclass 485 visa.
Your spouse or de facto partner must also be an applicant for this visa and has competent English
For you to be eligible for the award of these points your partner must be an applicant for the same visa subclass and must not be an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen.
You are single or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident
As of 17 April 2019, the Australian Government has introduced a new Subclass 870 Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa. The visa allows parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens to come to Australia for long-term stays for a selected 3 or 5 years. The visa can be renewed to allow a stay of a maximum of 10 years.