The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494 visa) is designed to respond to the needs of regional Australian employers. This visa enables regional employers to address identified labour shortages within their region by sponsoring skilled workers where employers cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian worker.
The sponsoring business must be located in a designated regional area which includes all of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494) may be applied for inside or outside Australia and all applicants must meet health and character criteria. Certain work visa applicants will also need to meet the English language requirement.
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494) has two steams under which an applicant can apply:
a. The Employer Sponsored stream is for applicants who have an employer in a designed regional area willing to sponsor them in a skills occupation.
b. The Labour Agreement stream is for applicants whose employers wish to sponsor them through a Labour Agreement.
How does this visa work?
Step 1: The employer has to apply to become an approved Standard Business Sponsor. Once approved, the business sponsorship is valid for five years and the business can nominate as many people as it wants to sponsor during this period. A business that is operating for less than 12 months or an overseas business can also be approved sponsorship for a 5-year period.
Step 2: The employer must lodge an application with the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) in their local area. The RCB will assess the application against the region’s requirements and then provide advice to the Department.
Step 3: The employer must nominate an occupation in their business to be approved from the 494 Skilled Occupation List and identify in the application who the visa applicant will be. As part of the Nomination application the company must provide evidence that there is a genuine need for the position & that the position has not been created to just help the nominee stay in Australia/migrate to Australia.
Step 4: A visa application must be lodged. The visa applicant must meet certain requirements for the approval of the visa, such as English fluency, work experience, skills, health, and character to meet the requirements of the nominated occupation.
- Lawfully and actively operating business operating in Australia
- Be located in a regional area under the Regional Certifying Body’s jurisdiction
- Have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill the position AND unable to fill the position with local labour
- Direct employer of the employee
- Good business record and abide by immigration laws.
Am I eligible for a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494 visa) Employer Sponsored stream?
- I am either inside or outside Australia
- I have not turned 45 years of age
- I have a Competent level of English
- I have 3 years full-time post qualification work experience
- I have a positive skills assessment for my nominated skilled occupation OR am eligible to apply for a skills assessment
- I meet the health and character requirements
- I have been offered a 5-year contract
- I am being offered the Market Salary rate for my nominated occupation.
Am I eligible for a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (494 visa) Labour Agreement stream?
Labour Agreements are formal arrangements between an employer and the Commonwealth which allow for the recruitment of an agreed number of overseas skilled workers.
A Regional Migration Agreement is an agreement between the Australian Government and a state or territory government, local council, or another local stakeholder. The program will facilitate increased labour flows to regional areas experiencing acute labour shortages, in particular, regions that are isolated from large populations and do not have Australian skills and labour available.
Regional Migration Agreements will specify the occupations, numbers and visa requirements for the sponsorship of workers from outside Australia to certain regional locations.
- I meet the age, English, skills, experience and any other requirements as stated in the Labour Agreement or Regional Migration Agreement
- I am either inside or outside Australia
- I meet the health and character requirements.
What does this visa allow me to do?
- Reside and work in a designated regional area of Australia for 5 years
- Travel in and out of Australia during the life of my visa
- Include dependent family members so they can reside in Australia with me
- Enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
- Apply for permanent residency after at least 3 years (provided I meet specific criteria).