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Australia Replaces Subclass 489 Visa With Subclass 491 – Much Awaited Details Released

Posted On: 07-Oct-2019
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Australia Replaces Subclass 489 Visa With Subclass 491 – Much Awaited Details Released

During the first half of the year, the Australia Immigration Department sent out information that it will replace the existing subclass 489 and subclass 187. These are known as subclass 491 and subclass 191. However, the complete information about these visas was not yet released.

This news caused a great anticipation among the candidates who were planning to apply for the regional visas.

Now, the Australia Immigration Department has made it official that these new visas will come into effect from 16 November, 2019. These visas will allow nearly 23,000 candidates to migrate to Australia under a condition that they stay and work in the designated regional area until become eligible for Australian PR.

“It is a much-awaited work visa that will offer skilled workers a chance to live and work in regional Australia for up to 5 years.” “They can apply for permanent residency after three years of stay and paid-work in a designated regional area,”says Ranbir Singh, a Melbourne based migration agent.

The existing 489 visa will cease from 16th of November with the invitations from States and Territories already closed from the 11th of September 2019, he adds further.

What is the 491 visa and how different is it from subclass 489?

The subclass 491 visa is a replacement to the existing subclass 489 visa (Regional Provisional Visa Program). It is a points-based visa where an applicant has to score eligible points and obtain either a state nomination or sponsorship from an eligible family member residing in a designated regional area.

Salient Features of the new subclass 491 visa:

  • Allots a quota of 14,000 candidates.
  • Over 500 occupations are eligible.
  • Accepts candidates below the age of 45.
  • 5 year visa that can be extended to PR (subclass 191 visa) after 3 years stay and work in the regional area.
  • Regional area is anywhere except metropolitans like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.
  • Minimum wage required to extend for PR after years is $53,900 per annum (concessions may apply).
  • Visa holder can move from one regional area to another (but not work in other areas).
  • Applicant is required to pay an application fee of $4,045. Married applicants are required to pay a partner fee of $2,025.

How is the new subclass 491 visa different from the existing subclass 489?

  • The major difference that will be witnessed with the replacement 489 visa with subclass 491 is the waiting time for PR. Under the subclass 489 scheme, candidates are required to wait for 2 years to get PR whereas under the subclass 491 scheme, they must wait for 3 years.
  • Another difference is that the new visa covers more regional areas in comparison to the 489 visa. Newcastle, Wollongong and NSW Central coats have been added to the list (whereas they are excluded for subclass 489 applicants).
  • Single applicants will get extra points. Similarly, more points will be granted for having eligible relative sponsors and skilled partners will competent English.

“It is going to be very competitive so we would suggest that the prospective applicants should immediately get ready with their applications.” says Rohit Mohan, a migration agent of Australia, ‘

“’Utmost’ priority will be given to an applicant having a skilled partner or applicants.”

“The second on the list are the applicants with partners who have competent English, normally IELTS score of 6 each or above, but do not have skilled assessed hence having no skilled partner points”, he adds.

Difference in points structure

Mr. Singh terms that the new points system to be more “generous and lenient”with a “tough” competition due to limited quota.

New Points (subclass 491 visa) Old Points (subclass 489 visa)
10 Points for Skilled Partner/Spouse 5 Points for Skilled Partner/Spouse
5 Points for Applicants with a Spouse/Partner with competent English No Points for Applicants with a Spouse/Partner with competent English
10 Points for Single/Unmarried Applicants No Points for Single/Unmarried Applicants
15 Points for State/Territory Nomination Less than 10 points for State/Territory Nomination
15 Points for having an eligible family/relative sponsor 10 Points for having an eligible family/relative sponsor
10 Points for STEM qualification (in specific cases) No points for STEM qualification

About Subclass 191 Visa:

After completing a stay of 3 years on the subclass 491 visa, the visa holder can apply for a PR under the subclass 191 visa (PR Skilled Regional). To apply for this visa, these conditions are mandatory:

  • You are a visa holder of subclass 491.
  • You have earned a minimum income (as stated above) in a regional area for about 3 years.
  • You must meet the requirements of regional provisional visa.

Important Note:

Mr. Singh advised that all conditions would be monitored closely before granting the visa. Any non-compliance may result in immediate visa cancellations.

“For some of the prospective migrants, this visa could be their last opportunity for permanent residency. So they should be extra careful with their approach.”

Mr. Mohan said that applicants should not ‘cross the limits’ or apply any ‘shortcuts’ to claim extra points.

“There is a possibility that some dodgy applicants may try to cheat the system by divorcing or separating from their partners to gain extra 10 points,”

“Your whole profile and motive will be under scrutiny again when you lodge your PR under subclass 191. So better stick to all the conditions applicable to the visa or get ready to face the consequences.”

Source: SBS News, Australia.


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