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New Skilled Regional Visas - Subclass 491, 494, 191


The Australian Government has announced that the target ceiling for the migration program in the next financial year (2019 -2020), will be 160,000 visas. While the overall skilled figures have been reduced, they are pretty constant with the actual numbers from the 2017/18 year (162,417 visas against a planned level of 190,000).

The information included in this Instrument is extensive.  The following article provides a summary of the new legislation to be introduced, associated provisions and amendments to the Migration Act and Migration Regulations.

These include the introduction of the new Skilled Regional Visas, the criteria and requirements for the new visas, closure of the visa Subclasses 489 and 187, and amendments to the Schedule 6D Points Test.

Schedule 1 of the Instrument 

  • Introduces the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Closes the Subclass 489 Skilled - Regional (Provisional) subclass

  • Amends the Schedule 6D Points Test for applicants sponsored by State/Territory Governments or family members residing in designated regional areas

  • Commences 16 November 2019

  • (14,000 places have been allocated to this visa subclass)

Schedule 2 of the Instrument

  • Introduces the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Closes the Subclass 187 - Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass
  • Brings employers seeking to sponsor overseas workers under Div 3 of Part 2 of the Migration Act and Part 2A of the Migration Regulations
  • Commences 16 November 2019
  • (9,000 places have been allocated to this visa subclass)

Schedule 3 of the Instrument

  • Introduces the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa

  • Details eligibility criteria for this visa, including pre qualifying visas, minimum taxable income for three years and compliance with regional visa conditions

  • Commences 16 November 2022

Point Test changes

Schedule 6D to the Migration Regulations is amended to award:

  • 15 points for nomination 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 for a skilled spouse or de facto partner

  • 10 points for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications

  • 5 points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’

  • 10 points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner

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