The Australian government has introduced three new visas to push migrants into regional areas. The ‘Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019‘has been introduced subclass 491, 494 and 191 visas with a revised points system to ‘assist regional Australia’. The new points system will award 10 points for those applicants who do not have spouses or partners.
Subclass 491: a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa which is a points-tested visa and to apply this applicant need to be nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area. This subclass visa will replace the current subclass 489 visa.
Subclass 494: a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa for this visa applicant needs to be sponsored by an employer who is running a business in regional Australia. This visa comes with two streams: Employer-Sponsored and Labour Agreement. This allows employers to employ foreign workers under the sponsorship regime. This visa subclass will replace Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa. Still, there are some exceptions for a transitional setting.
Subclass 191: This is a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa for those who hold Subclass 491 or Subclass 494 visa and fulfill the requirements to apply for permanent residency in Australia. To be eligible for this Subclass 191 permanent residency visa, the primary applicant must on and have held a regional provisional visa for at least three years; earned minimum income for at least three years and fulfilled the conditions of the regional provisional visa.
The two visas 491 and 494 will commence on 16 November 2019 whereas subclass 191 will commence on 16 November 2022. As the visa has the requirement to have held a regional provisional visa for three years.
The Explanatory Statement Issued by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs states, ‘At the commencement of the new regional provisional visas, it is intended that the designated regional areas, to be identified in a legislative instrument, will include all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast.’ The statement further reads, ‘The Regulations operate prospectively, except for changes to the points test that apply to existing applications, but only do so in a way that is beneficial for applicants, by providing additional points. With that exception, the amendments do not apply to applications that have already been made, but not yet decided, at the time the Regulations commence. The Regulations make provision for nominations relating to a Subclass 187 visa where the proposed visa applicant has not made an application before the visa closes to new applications, and cannot make an application after that date. In addition, the Regulations make provision for refunds of the nomination training contribution charge in some circumstances.’
You can get whole EXPLANATORY STATEMENT from here