Regional Visa changes

Following on from pre-election announcements the Department of Home Affairs are moving forward with implementing a swag of changes to various visa programs. There is a strong focus on enticing potential migrants to a variety of regional locations across Australia, with the aim to assist in population distribution. The regional focus is evident with the recent introduction of various new DAMAs (read more here to learn about the FNQs exciting new DAMA) and great incentives for students to study in the many great regional colleges and universities. Some of the changes we will be faced with include the following.

Subclass 489 to change to 491

Currently the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 489) is in place for workers looking to relocate to regional Australia. The visa allows for a 4-year stay, the opportunity to bring family and, if the visa is granted, the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in the form of a Subclass 887. However this visa will soon cease to exist and will be replaced by the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491). September 10th marks the last day of Nominations, invitations and expressions of interest for the 489 programs, however applications will still be able to be lodged until the 16th of November. The change will enforce the Australian Governments push for migrants to put down roots and extend their stay in regional areas as the migrant will only become eligible for permanent residency (Subclass 191) 3 years after the grant date. Invitations, Expressions of Interest, Nominations and Applications for the 491 will all open on the 16th of November. Those whom currently hold a 489 will still be eligible to apply for their 887 visa (permanent residency) once they would normally be eligible.

Subclass 187 to change to 494 (provisional)

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) has been a very popular visa in regional areas across Australia with the program on average offering 10 to 20 thousand places per year out of the overall migration program. The 187 is a permanent residence visa associated with occupations in regional areas. The program has been very useful for employers and employees to assist in filling skills gaps felt across the nation. This scheme however is concluding and will be replaced with the Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 494). The 16th of November 2019 will see the end of the 187 and the dawn of the 494. The 494 Visa is a temporary visa aimed at encouraging migrants to put down roots in regional areas of Australia as a result of the increased time period before eligibility for permanent residency. Both Nominations and Applications for the 494 can be lodged on the 16th of November. Those who currently hold a 187 Visa or have their application lodged before 16th of November will not be affected by these changes. After 3 years of being on the 494 applicants will be eligible to apply for the a subclass 191 permanent visa.

Unchanged Schemes

Although changes will be occurring to these occupationally centred visas, there are those which will remain unchanged. These include the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186), the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189), and the Skilled Nominated visa (Subclass 190).

Contact the Gurus Today

Immigration Gurus specialise in creating pathway plans to get the most out of your time in Australia, whether it be for a short term stay or a long-term residency, we can assist you. Get in contact with the Gurus today for all of your visa assistance.