Changes to regional visa effective from 16 November 2019

As of 16 November this year the visa subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) will no longer be in effect. This visa is being replaced by a 2 step visa process. 9,000 places have been allocated to this visa subclass.

 From 16 November, applicants living in regional areas of Australia who wish to apply for permanent residence sponsored by their employer will be able to apply for the following 2 step visa process which will lead to permanent residence:-

Step 1 - Subclass 494 - Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Employer requirements

Nomination, application processes and sponsorship obligations largely mirror those applicable to Subclasses 457 and 482 sponsorship

  • Position must genuine, full time and likely to exist for five years
  • Annual earnings must not be less than TSMIT $53,900 unless nominated under the Labour Agreement stream; and terms and conditions no less favourable than for Australian employees must be provided 
  • The RCB (Regional Certifying Body) must confirm the salary is acceptable 
  • If nominating an existing Subclass 494 visa holder, the new sponsor is expected to assume the sponsorship obligations for family members who already hold a Subclass 494 as they do now with the 482 visa
  • Subclass 494 visa holders will be provided with 90 days to find another employer, if they cease employment with their sponsor
  • Visa can be cancelled if sponsor provides false and misleading information, fails to meet sponsorship obligations, is cancelled or barred from being a sponsor or where a party to a labour agreement, it is terminated, suspended or ceased


Applicant requirements

  • Age limit of up to 45 years of age at time of application
  • Employer sponsored stream - must have skilled occupation on an applicable list and have valid, suitable skills assessment; Labour agreement stream - may be required to demonstrate has necessary skills to perform tasks of nominated occupation
  • Nominated occupation to be specified by corresponding 6-digit ANZSCO code
  • Must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least three years on a full-time basis and at level of skill required for the occupation; Labour agreement stream - unless Minister considers it reasonable not to require this
  • Employer sponsored stream - applicant must have competent English at time of application, unless specified in a legislative instrument by the Minister; Labour agreement stream - English language skills suitable to perform the nominated occupation
  • Each applicant must be of good character 
  • May apply and be granted inside or outside Australia
  • Must be holder of substantive visa or BVA, BVB or BVC to apply onshore
  • Temporary visa - five years validity
  • Visa can be cancelled if the visa holder did not have a genuine intention at the time of grant to perform the nominated occupation or ceased to have a genuine intention to perform that occupation or the position was not genuine
  • Visa Application Charge - Base application charge: primary applicant $3,755, additional applicant over 18 years: $1,875, under 18 years: $940 (*Minister of Religion or member of their family unit VAC: nil). Applicable SAF.
  • Second VAC instalment if required - Primary applicant less than functional English over 18 years: $9,800; secondary applicants over 18 years $4,890; any other applicant: nil


Step 2 - Subclass 191 - Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa

  • Commences 16 November 2022
  • Only Subclasses 491 and 494 visa holders are eligible to apply for this visa
  • Must have held the Subclass 491 or 494 for at least three years
  • Must have met a minimum threshold taxable income level for at least three years while holding the Subclass 491 or 494 
  • Dependent children included as members of family unit for the Subclass 491 or 494 visas, may be included in Subclass 191 application, even if no longer able to meet the definition of dependency
  • All applicants must be of good health and character
  • May apply and be granted inside or outside Australia,
  • Visa Application Charge - Base application charge: primary applicant $385; additional applicant over 18 years: $195, under 18 years: $100 
  • Permanent visa allowing holder to travel to and enter Australia for a period of 5 years from grant date


What happens to applicants who have lodged or are intending to lodge a 187

  • Subclass 187 RSMS applications lodged before 16 November 2019 will not be impacted by these changes


Transitional Subclass 457 visa holders

Holders of Subclass 457 visas on 18 April 2017, or applicants for a Subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 that was subsequently granted, are exempt from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Subclass 187 RSMS visa 

Transitional Subclass 482 visa holders

Holders of Subclass 482 visas in the medium-term stream on 20 March 2019 or applicants for a Subclass 482 visa in the medium term stream on 20 March 2019, that was subsequently granted, are exempt from the closure on 16 November 2019 of the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Subclass 187 RSMS visa.


New Skilled Regional Visas - features

Designated Regional Areas

  • At commencement of the new regional visas, it is intended that any area excluding Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth will be designated as a regional area
  • Regional visa holders may live in any designated regional area and can move between designated regional areas

Restricted from applying for other visas

Holders of Subclass 494 visas or who last held these visas, are restricted from applying for the following visas, unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist:

  • Subclass 124/858 - Distinguished Talent
  • Subclass 132 - Business Talent
  • Subclass 186 - Employer Nomination Scheme
  • Subclass 188 - Business Innovation and Investment 
  • Subclass 189 - Skilled - Independent
  • Subclass 190 - Skilled - Nominated
  • Subclass 820 - Partner (Temporary)


Very Important to note - New Schedule 8 Conditions

Condition 8578

  • Notify Department within 14 days of changes to visa holder's residential address, contact details, passport details, employer address, location of position

Condition 8579

  • Requires applicant to live, work and study (where relevant) in designated regional area
  • Permits visa holder to move between designated regional areas
  • Prevents visa holder from accessing any other skilled migration visa for at least three years
  • Cancellation provisions may apply if not compliant with Condition 8579


Condition 8580

  • Requires within 28 days, if requested in writing by the Minister, the visa holder's residential address, address of employer, address of location of position employed in, address of any educational institution attended by visa holder 


Condition 8581

  • Requires visa holder, if requested in writing by the Minister to attend an interview which may be undertaken face to face or by video conferencing applications


Condition 8608

  • The holder must work only in the nominated occupation identified in the application for the most recent Subclass 494 visa granted to the holder, must only work in position in nominating business or associated entity, unless occupation specified by the Minister or to fulfil a legal requirement after giving notice; commence work within 90 days of arriving in Australia; not cease work employment for more than 90 days; continue to hold license or registration                      


Why Visa Executive

At Visa Executive, we provide our clients with:

  • An efficient and transparent service
  • One point of contact for both the client and employee throughout the whole visa process
  • A unique on-line system that enables clients to track the progress of applications
  • A flat structured fee for each visa category
  • Updates on frequently changing immigration laws
Complete an online initiation form

Subscribe to Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest developments.