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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Heathcote

New Regional Visas and New points test

Updated: Apr 14, 2019


The new skilled regional provisional visas will be for skilled migrants, and dependent family members, who want to live and work in Australia.

New Skilled Regional Visas

There will be two new skilled regional provisional visas to be introduced on 16 November 2019.

Although the actual occupation lists have not been defined employers in regional Australia, as well as State and Territory governments, who sponsor regional skilled migrants will have access to more occupations than non-regional visas.

These new visas although effectively replacing two other regional visas appear to be quite generous and may present a good migration pathway for many.

The two visas are:-

  • Subclass 494 - Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia.

  • Subclass 491 - Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.

Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to live and work in regional Australia. There is also to be a new definition of the areas that are defined as regional. The area is defined as all of Australia outside the metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The boundaries or specific post codes of what is defined as metropolitan is likely to be made available in the future.

Changes to the points test

There are some generous changes for all points-tested Skilled visa applications. New points will be available from from 16 November 2019 as follows:

  • If you have a partner who is skilled with competent English (current requirement) there will be 10 points rather than 5

  • If you do not have a partner or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will also get 10 points

  • If you have a partner who has competent English only, there will be 5 points to be gained

  • Specialist education points for those who study a Masters or PhD course in Australia will increase from 5 to 10 points

  • Designated regional nomination or sponsorship points will also increase from 10 to 15 points

Visas will be granted with a validity period of up to five years and after 3 years holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas can look to apply for permanent residence via a Subclass 191. The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa will commence in November 2022.


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