Apply for the 491 Visa to Australia
The General Skilled Migration (GSM) 491 visa is a pathway for skilled professionals to migrate to Australia and settle in regional areas. The GSM program is designed to address skill shortages in regional areas of Australia and the subclass 491 is an important part of this program.
Key Features of the 491 Visa
The 491 visa is a points based visa that allows skilled professionals to live and work in designated regional areas of Australia for up to five years. After three years these visa holders can then apply for permanent residency through the 191 visa.
The 491 visa is designed to attract skilled professionals to regional areas of Australia that have identified shortages in certain occupations. To be eligible for the 491 visa applicants must have an occupation that is on the relevant skilled occupation list, have a suitable skills assessment for that occupation, be of good character, be nominated by a State or Territory and meet the minimum points score on the Points test. Applicants may also be nominated by an eligible family member who is living in a designated regional area of Australia.
Eligibility Requirements for the subclass 491
- Age: Applicants must be under 45 years of age at the time of 491 application.
- Skilled Occupation: Applicants must have a skilled occupation that is on the relevant skilled occupation list. The skilled occupation must also be in demand in regional areas of Australia.
- Skills Assessment: Applicants must have a positive skills assessment for their nominated occupation.
- Points test: Applicants must score a minimum of 65 points on the Points test.
- Health and Character: Applicants must meet health and character requirements.
- Nomination: Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member who is living in a designated regional area of Australia.
Designated Regional Areas
To be eligible for the subclass 491 applicants must agree to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia. Designated regional areas include all areas of Australia except for the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.
The designated regional areas are divided into three categories:
- Cities and Major Regional Centers: This category includes cities with a population of over 250,000 and their surrounding areas as well as other regional centers with a population of over 30,000.
- Regional Centers and Other Regional Areas: This category includes regional centers with a population of less than 30,000, as well as other regional areas.
- Remote and Very Remote Areas: This category includes areas that are classified as remote or very remote under the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.
491 visa application process
- Skills Assessment: Before applying for the visa applicants must have their skills assessed by a relevant assessing authority.
- Expression of Interest (EOI): Applicants must submit an EOI through the Department of Home Affairs SkillSelect system.
- State Nomination or Family Sponsorship: Applicants must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member who is living in a designated regional area of Australia.
- Visa Application: Applicants must submit their visa application within 60 days of receiving their invitation to apply (ITA).
- Visa Decision: The Department of Home Affairs will assess the visa application and make a decision. Processing times depend on the complexity of the application and the workload of the department.
- Visa Conditions: If the visa is granted there will be conditions attached including requirements to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia.