Why is it such good news?
What does this visa do?
This new visa is a regional, skilled “points” tested skilled visa which provides a pathway to permanent residence.
If you are granted the visa, it lasts for 5 years. After 3 years of living and working in a “Designated Regional Area”, you can apply for a permanent residence visa – the subclass 191 visa.
The subclass 491 visa is a points tested skilled visa, so the process is the same as the other points tested skilled visas.
- Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI);
- Wait for an invitation to submit a visa application.
It is absolutely critical to be sure that you meet all the visa requirements and can back up the points you claim in your EOI with the appropriate evidence BEFORE you submit a points tested skilled visa application.
The Department of Home Affairs regularly refuses points tested applications because either the applicant hasn’t provided enough evidence to back up the points claimed or has awarded themselves points that they aren’t entitled to. It is a very expensive mistake to make and is one that can have consequences for your visa options going forward.
What are the basics?
There are two “streams” for this visa, the State or Territory Nominated stream and the Family Sponsored stream.
As an absolute minimum, before you can apply you will need the following:
Which family members can sponsor?
A family sponsor:
What does “related” mean?
“Related” means that the family sponsor must be the visa applicant’s (or if they are included in the application, the visa applicant’s spouse or defacto partner’s):
The sponsor “sponsors” each member of the family unit included in the application. All members of the family unit have to meet the health and character requirements for the application to be successful.
How long is the visa granted for?
The visa is a temporary visa which allows the visa holder to travel to, enter and remain in Australia for a period of 5 years from the date of visa grant. There are no restrictions on the visa holder’s ability to travel within that 5 year period.
Do I need to be anywhere in particular when the visa is granted?
Applicants can be in Australia or overseas when the visa is granted, but not in immigration clearance.
If a second instalment of visa application charge is payable (where an additional applicant aged 18 and over has less than functional English), the second instalment must be paid before the visa can be granted.
Are there any conditions attached to this visa?
Definitely! Key conditions are:
- All visa holders must live, work and study in a Designated Regional Area. That means not just you as the primary applicant, but everyone else included in the application as well! Your partner and children will need to work, study and live in a Designated Regional Area too!
- You’ll need to inform the Department within 14 days if certain events occur. These include moving house, getting a new email address or phone number or a new passport. This isn‘t the complete list, the full one is set out in the visa conditions attached to the visa grant letter.
A word to the wise… it has been made very clear to us that the Department of Home Affairs and the ATO will be keeping a close eye on visa holders to make sure that they comply with their visa conditions.
When you can prove that you’ve lived and worked in a Designated Regional Area for at least 3 years and you’ve complied with all your visa conditions, you can apply for permanent residence.
FYI, there are income requirements linked to the “work” side of the permanent residence requirement (currently a minimum taxable income per year of $53,900 is required), so it is important to make sure that you believe that you can meet that before you go further.
Check your eligibility first!
As always, this is a very general overview and doesn’t cover all the nitty gritty of the requirements for this visa.
If you are thinking about handling your own visa application, it’s definitely worth getting a migration professional to review your documentation first to make sure that you can claim the points that you think that you are entitled to.
As mentioned above, the Department of Home Affairs regularly refuses points tested applications because the applicant hasn’t provided enough evidence to back up the points claimed or has awarded themselves points that they aren’t entitled to.
It is a very expensive mistake to make and is one that can have consequences for your visa options going forward!