New regional skilled employment visas with a pathway to permanent residency
Applications available from the 16th November 2019
The Australian government has released the regulations relating to 2 new regional visas which will be available from November 2019. This update provides a short summary of the key points. These new visas may be useful for employers in regional areas of Australia as well as prospective visa applicants who may settle in regional areas.
The two new regional (provisional) visas are:
Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: Superseding the current 489 visa and commencing November 16, 2019 this visa has 14,000 places allocated per year. This is a skilled migration visa (points tested) and requires either state government nomination, or sponsorship by an eligible family member who is resides in a designated regional area. The age limit for this visa is 45 and the applicant must have a positive skills assessment.
Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored: Superseding the current 187 (Regional Skilled Migration Sponsorship) visa and also commencing November 16, 2019 this visa will offer 9,000 places per year. It requires employer sponsorship and the position must be likely to exist for 5 years. It has a 45 year age limit, competent English, RCB advice and must meet the AMSR. Visa applicants must have a suitable skills assessment and at least 3 years’ skilled employment (unless exempt).
The visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas. For employer sponsored applicants they will only have been employed in the nominated position. Visa holders can move between regional areas. Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas.
Regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.
Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist. Additionally, similar to current arrangements for the subclass 457 and 482 visa program, holders of the new provisional visas can be negatively impacted by sponsor non-compliance.
The new permanent visa will be:
Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional): To meet the requirements of the permanent visa (from November 2022) applicants must have held a subclass 491 or 494 visa for at least 3 years, have complied with the conditions on that visa and have met minimum taxable income requirements.
What happens to the current Regional Visas?
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa (subclass 187) and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489) will not be available to new applicants from November 16, 2019. Transitional arrangements will be put in place for applicate who have lodged for these visas and whose applications are undecided at that time, as well as applicants whose pathway currently targets the permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887).
Changes will affect the Points test for General Skilled Migration: (apply to 189, 190, 489, and 491) from 16 November 2019
The general skilled migration (GSM) points test will also change on November 16, 2019. The changes will affect 491 visa subclass applicants as well as applications for other skilled migration visas that have not been assessed at that time (but only in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points). The new point’s details will be as follows:
- 15 points if nominated by a State or Territory government agency or sponsorship by a family member residing in regional Australia, to live and work in regional Australia;
- 10 points the primary applicants spouse or de facto partner has a (Skills assessment and Competent English); OR
- 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’;
- 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
- 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner.
Current 457 and TSS 482 visa holders and will not be disadvantaged by the new changes. Transitional arrangements will be available:
Original 457 worker means a person who on 18 April 2017 either held a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa, or was an applicant for a Subclass 457 visa that was subsequently granted. This cohort is referred to subsequently for the purpose of exempting them from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream in the Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa.
Current 482 worker means a person who on 20 March 2019 either held a Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa in the Medium-term stream, or was an applicant for a Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa in the Medium-term stream that was subsequently granted. This cohort is referred to subsequently for the purpose of exempting them from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream in the Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) visa.
For information regarding your options contact Australian Business Migration Group