New Skilled Visa to be Introduced in 2019
The imbalance between the number of population in capital cities against rural area in Australia leads to Australian immigration possibly introducing a new Skilled Visa this year.
According to national census by the ABS, in 2017, two thirds of the Australian population resided in greater capital cities whilst only one third resided in the rest of Australia, across regional, rural, and remote Australia.
Whilst there are many benefits to migrating to regional areas including housing and renting affordability and quick access to green open space and amenity, population growth in these areas remains low.
To boost population as well as regional economy, few new visas will be introduced near the end of 2019. During the time of writing, there are 3 visa subclasses specifically assigned to regional or designated areas a.k.a. areas with low population density. These include the subclass 489 and its PR pathway subclass 887, and the employer sponsored permanent visa, subclass 187.
The new batch of regional visas, officially amended on the 4th April 2019, listed three new visas, subclass 491, 494, and 191. While information released are limited for the time being, further updates are expected to be revealed in the months leading to the commencement date. We outline what we know so far below:
1. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)
As of 16th of November 2019 the immigration department will introduce Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491), a new and enhanced points-tested visa to assist migration to regional Australia, both for applicants nominated by a state or territory government agency and sponsored by an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area.
This subclass is expected to replace the current Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 489) as the First Provisional Visa stream.
Why it is enhanced, you may be wondering, because it could give you the extra points to get you through the line, without taking any away from you.
The revised point system in Schedule 6D of the Migration Regulations 1994 is as follows:
- Points for nomination by a State/Territory government agency or sponsorship by eligible family member residing in regional Australia to be increased from 10 to 15 points
- Points for a skilled spouse or de facto partner to increase from 5 to 10.
- New category of points for a spouse or de facto partner with ‘competent English’ to add 5 points.
- New category for certain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) qualifications to add 10 points
- Points for applicants without a spouse or de facto partner is 10 points
Extra points if you have a spouse with ‘competent English’ or relevant skill, extra points if you are single and ready to mingle, doesn’t that sound like a dream come true?
2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494)
The second visa to be introduced, also as of 16th of November 2019, is a new and enhanced employer-sponsored visa to assist regional Australia, replacing the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187).
The new subclass 494 comes with two different streams: Employer Sponsored and Labour Agreement.
New replacement visa means that the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) will cease before 16th of November 2019.
However, there may be exception to the rules for certain transitional cohorts including Temporary Work (Skilled) visa Subclass 457 and Temporary Skill Shortage visa Subclass 482 holders.
3. Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Subclass 191
Last but not least, as per the Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) 2019, Schedule 3 to the Regulations, will be introduced from 16th November 2022, as the PR extension of Subclass 491 or Subclass 494 to eligible visa holders.
In general, to be eligible for Subclass 191 the primary visa applicant must have:
- Currently holds a regional provisional visa, such as subclass 491, when applying for the subclass 191 visa
- Held the aforementioned visa for at least three years whilst working and living in a designated regional area of Australia.
- Earned a minimum income for at least three years as a holder of a regional provisional visa
- Have complied with the remaining conditions of the regional provisional visa.
The delayed start date for subclass 191 is in relation to regional provisional visa requirements, dictating that the primary applicant must have hold a valid regional provisional visa for at least three years before applying for the 191.
Subclass 489 visa holders will still be able to apply for the Skilled – Regional visa (Subclass 887), which is the PR pathway visa for this program, as long as they have meet the remaining conditions.
In addition to that, the revised point-test system as outlined in Point 1, will apply to both new applicants apply under the Subclass 491 visa, as well as applicants for all skilled visas (Subclass 189, 190 and 489) who are not yet assessed under the Points Test.
Again, the new points test would be beneficial and no applicant with a pending application will be impacted negatively through point reductions.
Keep in mind that the changes listed above would not apply to visa applications that have already been lodged at the time of commencement. As there are still some time before the actual commencement date, further updates may be available at a later day. Watch this space!
Have any unanswered queries on Australian working and skilled visas? Look no further than our website.
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