What is this new visa all about?
This new regional points tested skilled visa is very cool little beastie and provides a fantastic springboard to permanent residence.
The visa is granted for 5 years, but once you’ve lived and worked in the designated regional area for at least 3 years, you can apply for the subclass 191 visa, which is a permanent residence visa. Oh yes, and your kids have to study in the designated regional area too!
The subclass 491 visa is a points tested skilled visa. You’ll need to submit and Expression of Interest (EOI) first (like you do now) and then wait for an invitation to submit a visa application. It’s really important to makes sure that you can meet all the visa requirements and support your points claim (with documents) before you lodge any type of skilled visa.
If you plan to deal with your own visa application, it’s often worth getting a migration professional to review your visa documents to make sure you have the points you think you have. Getting a skilled visa application refused because the Department of Home Affairs case officer doesn’t believe that you have the points claimed in your EOI can be a very expensive mistake. It’s a common mistake that can have serious repercussions!
How will it work?
Well, at the time of invitation to apply for the visa, an applicant must have the following:
- a suitable skills assessment
- competent English
- the points claimed (and be able to prove it!!!)
- a valid/current State or Territory government nomination OR
- a family sponsor who:
- has turned 18;
- is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen;
- is usually resident in a designated regional area;
- is related to the applicant, OR
- if the applicant’s spouse or defacto partner is included in the application, the sponsor is related or the applicant’s spouse or de facto partner
- Good health
- Good character (one or two minor convictions may not be an issue)
As always, there’s a bit more to it than that … if only visas were that easy!
What does “related” mean as far as this visa is concerned? It means:
- a parent; or
- a child or step-child; or
- a brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, step-brother or step-sister; or
- an aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle; or
- a nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step-nephew or step-niece; or
- a grandparent; or
- a first cousin;
It’s important to understand that the sponsor “sponsors” each member of the family unit included in the application and that all members of the family unit will need to meet the health and character requirements.
Do I need to be anywhere in particular when the visa is granted?
Applicants can be in Australia or overseas when the visa is granted, but not in immigration clearance.
If a second instalment of visa application charge is payable (this only applies to secondary applicants aged 18 and over with less than functional English), the second instalment must be paid before the visa can be granted.
How long is the visa granted for?
5 years! It’s a temporary visa permitting the holder to travel to, enter and remain in Australia for 5 years from the date of visa grant and there are no restrictions on travel rights.
Are there any conditions attached to this visa?
You betcha! Two of the conditions include the following:
- You’ve got to tell the Department within 14 days if you move house, get a new email address or phone number or if you get a new passport. There are other things you must report as well. It’s all on the visa grant letter
- You’ve got to live, work and study in the designated regional area
… and it seems likely that the Department of Home Affairs and ATO will be keeping tabs on you to make sure you don’t breach your visa conditions.
Once you can prove that you’ve lived, worked and studied in the designated regional area for at least 3 years and complied with all your visa conditions, you’ll be able to apply for permanent residence. Now that’s cool!
Phone: +61 8 9429 8860