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From 16 November 2019, current international students, workers and other temporary visa holders can apply for two new skilled regional visas which may allow them to:

  • live and work in regional Australia for up to 5 years
  • apply for a permanent visa without a second nomination stage through the proposed subclass 191 visa which will commence from 16 November 2022

Eligibility Criteria

Although the eligibility criteria for the new regional visas and the proposed permanent visa are not currently available, we expect that:

the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491) will replace the existing subclass 489 provisional visa and have similar requirements
the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 494) will replace the existing subclass 187 visa in the direct entry stream and have similar requirements
the proposed permanent visa subclass 191 will (presumably) be the second stage of the new employer-sponsored visa subclass 494 which means that visa applicants will need to demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding the new regional visas

Subclasses 494 and 191 will require applicants to have the minimum taxable income of at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold which is currently $53,900 (unless concessions are agreed).

Major Benefits

Apart from providing an easier pathway to a permanent visa, the Department has confirmed that the new visas will have the following benefits:


quicker processing times
incentives for migrants to stay in regional areas longer
lower costs to an employer for the new subclass 494
more points will be given to applicants under subclass 491
more occupations will be available for applicants than the non-regional visas
there will be an expanded classification of regional areas which will encompass all areas in Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth

Next Steps

If you are:


a proposed applicant currently living outside of these major cities or are intending to move to these areas
an employer with operations outside of these major cities and looking to employ an applicant in those areas

then please contact the Migration team at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers to discuss how we can assist you with the new Skilled Regional Visas and/or any of your other migration needs.