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Migration Update: Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) Visa

When an employer intends to sponsor an employee and wishes for the employee to commence work as soon as possible, a Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) Visa (482 visa) may not be the most ideal pathway as the current processing time for the 482 visa applications is between 7 to 11 months.

Overview of the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) Visa

If the employee is working at a regional area, another possible pathway is the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (subclass 494) Visa (494 visa). The current processing time for the 494 visa is approximately 3 to 6 weeks.

The 494 visa validity period is 5 years. Conditions will be imposed which will enforce the government’s intentions that visa holders live, work and study only in regional areas, and only in the nominated position. If granted, the employee must commence work within 90 days of the 494 visa being granted and must only work in the nominated occupation and only work for the nominating employer in regional Australia.

Eligibility Requirements for the 494 Visa

  • Applicant’s occupation must be on the 494 visa Skilled Occupation List;

  • Age under 45 at time of application;

  • Competent English at time of application - IELTS 6 or PTE 50, dependent applicants must also meet this requirement;

  • Applicant must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least 3 years on a full-time basis and at the skill level required for the nominated occupation. Generally, the applicant should have gained the experience within the last 5 years (The period does not need to be continuous. Equivalent part-time work may be considered);

  • Successful skills assessment at time of application;

  • Job position offered must be full time and likely be available for 5 years;

  • Sponsor will need approval from the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) – in which the sponsor must provide evidences to show genuine need and that position cannot be filled locally;

  • Sponsor must pay the Australian Market Salary Rate (AMSR) – meaning the applicant’s salary level must be market rate as certified by a RCB, and at least $53,900 per annum.

Other Points to Note for the 494 Visa

  • All family members of the applicant must live, work and study in the designated regional area as stated in the nomination approval;

  • Applicant is restricted from applying for any other skilled PR or 820 partner visa within 3 years of grant of the 494 visa;

  • Applicant must live and work for 3 years on the 494 visa in regional areas to become eligible for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (subclass 191) Visa (191 visa) as the pathway to obtaining PR.

Advantages of the 494 Visa Compared to 482/Employer Nomination Scheme 186 Visa

  • Applicant may apply for permanent residence without a second nomination stage, if eligible, through the 191 visa;

  • Lower cost to the sponsor with only one SAF levy stage for the 494 visa nomination (compared to the two stages for the 482 visa to the 186 Visa permanent resident pathway);

  • The 191 visa that follows 494 visa does not have an age requirement (while the 186 visa requires the applicant to be under 45 years old);

  • For some occupations, such as Marketing Specialist or Sales and Marketing Manager, there are caveats attached to a 482 visa, in that the business sponsoring must not have an annual turnover of less than AUD1M, and the salary must not be less than AUD65,000.

Please contact our office if you are interested in checking your eligibility for the 494 visa.

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