There is now only currently only one temporary provisional regional visa for new applicants. This is the Skilled Work Regional (SWR) State and Territory nominated SC 491 visa. The previous Skilled-Regional (Provisional) SC489 visa has been discontinued and the pathway to permanent residence through this option is only open to existing SC489 visa holders.
The intention is to give intending migrants an opportunity to select prioritised visas where they agree to settle in a regional area.
In November 2019 the definition of Regional Australia for all skilled visas was simplified and expanded to include all of Australia except for the
following metropolitan areas:
• Gold Coast
There is a legislative instrument which now sets out the relevant postcodes.
1. Skilled Work Regional (SWR)(SC491) visa
Once an applicant has lodged an Expression of Interest (EOI) and been nominated by a State or territory government (either by invitation or application), met the required point score (65) and received an invitation to lodge a visa application for regional areas then this is the skilled visa.
States and Territories have separate skill lists for this category – See state and territory links below for further details. The eligibility requirements are a little less rigid. What is a regional area is defined by post code.
Unlike the Skilled Independent visa and the Skilled- Nominated visa which are permanent visas, the Skilled Work Regional visa is provisional only and can be granted for up to 5 years. This is a pathway to permanent residency through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) SC191 visa after at least three (3) years residence in a regional area and proof of taxable income (by NOA) of at least $53900 for each of those 3 years. You must also be able to satisfy the other conditions and criteria. Age is not a factor after you have completed your three years and there is no further involvement with the state nominator.
While Australian cities have high demand for labour, shortages have become critical in regional and country areas. If you are prepared to work in places other than the major population centres, a Skilled Work Regional SC491 Visa may suit.
The previous Skilled-Regional (Provisional) SC489 visa for existing visa holders, remains available through the Skilled Regional SC887 visa after 2 years of living in a regional area which includes at least 12 month work. There was the ability to seek an extension to meet these criteria.
State & Territory Migration links (including skilled occupation shortage lists and other useful information):
Family sponsorship where the nominated occupation is on the MLTSSL.
Applicants for this provisional visa may also be nominated by prescribed relatives as long as the relative is living in a designated area. The nominated occupation must be on the MLTSSL and all other requirements of the SkillSelect process must be met. This is different to State & territory nomination
This category can also be applied for on or off-shore.
2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) SC494 visa
This visa has replaced the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) SC187 visa for new applicants, except that where the RSMS visa was a permanent visa (with conditions), the SESR visa is provisional for a minimum of 3 years (in a 5 year visa) also with conditions, before permanent residency is possible.
It is a sponsored 5 year provisional visa for an ANZSCO occupation (MLTSSL occupations and occupations on the Regional Occupation List (ROL)) nominated by the proposed employer in a regional area (defined by postcode). Nomination by employers, visa application processes and sponsorship obligations of this new regional visa largely mirror those applicable to the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS)(SC 482) sponsorship program (see below).
Some criteria for visa applicants in this new regionally sponsored visa are as follows:
- Applicants must not have turned 45 at time of application (unless exempted by the Minister – limited exemptions) and must have a skilled occupation on an applicable list (TBA) and have valid, suitable skills assessment (unless exempted by the Minister);
- Labour Market Testing (LMT) will be required (similar to the TSS visa advertising requirements)
- Applicants must have been employed in the nominated occupationfor at least three years on a full-time basis and at level of skill required for the occupation;
- For the Employer sponsored stream – applicant must have Competent English at time of application and your partner must have functional English, unless specified in a legislative instrument by the Minister; and must meet health and character checks which apply to all primary applicants and members of family unit whether applicants or not;
- This is a temporary (provisional) five-year visa;
- Progression through to permanent residency is via the new Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) SC191 visa after working for a minimum 3 years in the regional area and earning a minimum taxable income of $53900 ,
- Limited exemptions are available for age, experience skill assessment and English language.
This visa can be cancelled if the visa holder did not have a genuine intention at the time of grant to perform the nominated occupation or ceased to have a genuine intention to perform that occupation or the position was not genuine. There are also extensive conditions attaching to the SESR which will be strictly enforced by the Immigration department, so that the regional flavour of the visa program is maintained..