The new Skilled Work Regional (subclass 491) visa enables skilled workers and their families to live, work and/or study in regional areas of Australia for up to five years. The visa provides pathways to permanent residency after three years.
There are two streams: family sponsored and state nominated. The family sponsored visa requires that you have a relative living in a regional area of Australia who is willing to sponsor you and that you have an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Skilled Shortage List (MLTSSL). It also requires that you lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) and are invited in the monthly invitation rounds which are competitive and based on the points you achieve in the points test.
The state nominated visa is considered to be easier as there is a longer list of occupations available and you only often only need to achieve the minimum points to get an invitation. To apply for a visa in this stream, you still need to lodge an EOI but the invitations are sent as soon as the state or territory approves the nomination .
When deciding whether to nominate an applicant, state or territory nominating agencies refer to their own criteria, which vary from state to state. As a starting point, all applicants must show they have an occupation on the relevant state or territory occupation list, and that they have a genuine intention to reside in that state or territory.
State and territory agencies offer a number of different ‘streams’ and generally cater to onshore skilled applicants, offshore skilled applicants, and recent tertiary graduates. Some states also provide options for small business owners, or applicants with family living in the state or territory.
Please note, the below is information on general requirements and does not take into account any of your personal circumstances. You must check the State/Territory information carefully to ensure you can meet all the requirements for nomination.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY (ACT)
The ACT uses their own points matrix to select applicants for nomination. If you are onshore and reside in Canberra, you must have been residing in Canberra for at least three months immediately before your application, and working for an ACT employer in Canberra for at least three months.
The ACT will only nominate offshore applicants who have not resided in another Australian state or territory within the last 12 months. If you are offshore, you must also have at least 12 months of continuous experience within the last three years in the nominated occupation, and demonstrate employability in Canberra.
You can access the ACT’s occupation lists here.
NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW)
If you are onshore and seeking nomination from NSW, you will need to show that you have been working in the nominated occupation (or a closely related occupation) and living in regional NSW for at least the last 12 months.
If you are offshore, you may be nominated by NSW if:
- You have an offer for full-time employment in a regional area of NSW; OR
- You have five years’ skilled employment in your nominated occupation; OR
- You have an immediate family member living in a regional area.
NSW may nominate tertiary graduates who recently completed study at an institution in regional NSW.
The NSW occupation lists can be found here.
NORTHERN TERRITORY (NT)
The NT may nominate onshore applicants who have lived in the NT for at least 6 months, and worked full-time in their nominated occupation (or a closely related occupation). You will also need to show you have ongoing prospects of employment in your nominated occupation.
If you are offshore, you will need to demonstrate that:
- You have worked in your nominated occupation for at least 12 months of the last 24 months; OR
- you have Australian qualifications.
You will also need to demonstrate that you have strong prospects of employment in the NT.
Graduates may be nominated if they have completed at least two years of full-time study at a college or university in the NT.
The NT occupation lists are accessible here.
If you are onshore and wish to be nominated by QLD, you need to show that you have lived and worked full-time in the nominated occupation in regional QLD for at least three months, and that you will have ongoing employment in regional QLD for the next 12 months.
Offshore applicants need to demonstrate at least two years’ post-qualification work experience in the nominated occupation.
QLD nominates recent Masters and PhD graduates. Graduates need to show that they completed their Degree at a QLD-based institution. Masters graduates must provide evidence of full-time employment with a QLD employer and a job offer for ongoing employment. PhD graduates are not generally required to provide evidence of a job offer, unless otherwise stated.
QLD may also nominate you if you are a small business owner. You will need to show that you have purchased and been operating an existing business in regional QLD, and that you have prior experience or the qualifications necessary to successfully run the business.
The QLD occupation lists are here.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (SA)
SA may nominate you if you have at least one year of skilled work experience in the last three years. This experience does not necessarily have to be in your nominated occupation. You will need to show that you have worked in regional SA for the last six months, or in Greater Adelaide for the last 12 months.
SA also caters to graduates who recently completed a qualification while residing in SA. Graduates must demonstrate that they meet the work experience requirements, or they are eligible for a work experience waiver.
The SA occupation lists are accessible here.
TAS may nominate onshore skilled workers who have been living and working full-time in TAS for at least the six months preceding the application. You must be employed by an established business, with a genuine need for your position.
TAS will only nominate offshore applicants who have not lived in another Australian state or territory in the last 12 months. If you are offshore, you can show either:
- There are sufficient employment opportunities in your nominated occupation; OR
- You have a job offer for a job based in TAS, and your proposed employer is a well-established business with a genuine need for the position.
Graduates of TAS tertiary institutions may be nominated provided they lived in TAS for at least one year while studying, and currently reside in Tasmania.
TAS also provides options for applicants with an immediate family member in TAS, or small business owners. If you are a small business owner, you must demonstrate that your business has been established and operating in TAS for at least six months, and that it is likely the business will generate a personal income that meets the income threshold set by the Department of Home Affairs (currently $53,900).
The TAS occupation list is accessible here. We note that this list is mainly used to assess offshore applicants.
VIC offers nominations to onshore and offshore skilled applicants. You may be eligible if you have an offer for full-time employment in a regional area for at least 12 months. The employer must be an established business with genuine need for the position.
VIC uses Immigration’s skilled occupation list, which is available here.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA (WA)
If you are either onshore or offshore, you may be nominated by WA if you have at least one year of work experience in Australia, or three years’ experience overseas in your nominated occupation. You will need to have a contract for employment in WA for a duration of at least 12 months.
Graduates from a WA tertiary institution may be eligible if they meet the work experience criteria. You will need to show either:
- You have at least six months’ paid Australian work experience in your nominated occupation; OR
- You can provide a full-time employment contract for at least six months in the nominated occupation, for a position based in WA.
Masters and PhD graduates do not need to meet the work experience criteria.
The WA skilled occupation lists are accessible here.