What Areas Are Considered Regional?
The areas were realigned on November 16th 2019 and now the whole of Australia is considered regional except Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
That means these major cities are now considered regional centres:
- Gold Coast
If you’ve never been to Australia before, or if you aren’t aware of the populations of these cities, Perth and Adelaide combined have a population of almost 3 million people!
These are major cities with good schools, economies and property markets – but not enough people to fill jobs.
Are There Any Benefits To This New Regional Program?
Yes – to entice people to choose regional cities, the DHA have added some very attractive benefits:
- Medicare access – this is Australia’s public health care system, which is free to citizens and permanent residents. They extended this to subclass 491 holders as well, which means you can go to a public hospital or clinic for free.
- Bonus points – you now get 15 points (instead of 10 points) added to your skilled points score for choosing the subclass 491.
- More cities to live in which we covered earlier
- If you studied in any of these new regional areas for 2 years, you can get 5 additional points added to your score
- This visa is fast tracked if you are selected – most skilled migration visas take 4-8 months from the time of invitation to being granted, however the subclass 491 can be granted in less than 60 days!
That Sounds Great! How Do I Qualify For This Visa?
Below we have listed the primary criteria for the grant of this visa. As normal for our in-depth articles, we have simplified the legislation to make it easier to understand.
- A positive skill assessment for an occupation that is on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), Short Term Skilled Occupation List or Regional Occupation List (ROL) – Migration Regulations 1994 (CTH) Sch 1 Item 1241 4 (4)
- Meet or surpass the minimum English language requirement – Migration Regulations 1994 (CTH) Sch 2 reg 491.215
- You must be nominated by a State or Territory government agency – Migration Regulations 1994 (CTH) Sch 1 Item 1241 4 (5)
- Receive an invitation to apply from the Department – Migration Regulations 1994 (CTH) Sch 2 reg 491.213
- Have at least 65 points in your skilled points test – Migration Regulations 1994 (CTH) Sch 2 reg 491.216 (1)
Let’s go through some of these below.
Which Occupation List Can You Be On?
We’ve gone through this before in our previous post, but in short, you can access:
Basically all 3 lists of the skilled migration program – refer to the links mentioned above and you’ll see what occupations are available.
If you are not sure how to choose your occupation, please click the previous post link above for a quick explanation.
The English Language Requirement
The English language requirement remains unchanged for this visa, which is the same requirement for the subclass 190 and 189 visas as well.
You need to have ‘competent’ English language ability which is satisfied if you have:
- An IELTS test score of at least 6 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening; or
- An OET test score of at least B in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening; or
- A TOEFL iBT test score with at least the following scores in the four test components: 18 for speaking, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 12 for listening; or
- A PTE Academic test score of at least 50 in each of the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening; or
- If you hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland of New Zealand
However it is good to get some points for your English language in the skilled points test. Proficient English for example would get you 10 points instead of 0 (that you would get for the scores listed above).
Nomination From a State or Territory Government
Just like the subclass 190, you will require a state to nominate your application before you can progress to the next stage of the process.
Every state has a different set of requirements to decide whether an applicant meets the minimum criteria.
Regardless of which state nominates you, the regions where you can stay are only the regional ones I mentioned above.
Invitation To Apply
This happens only after a state has nominated you – without the nomination you can’t proceed to this stage.
We’ll cover this a bit more later on.
Under 45 Years Old
Self explanatory – but please note that this age limit exists up to the point you receive your invitation to apply.
That means if you haven’t received an invitation to apply from the federal government by your 45th birthday, your application lapses and is removed from the pool as you no longer qualify for skilled migration.
The 65 Points Requirement
No change from the previous visas, however if you opt for the subclass 491, you get a significant 15 points boost to your total points score.
That means whatever you score from the below will now be increased by 15 points.
Notable changes to the points score that happened on November 16th 2019 include:
- 10 points for studying a masters in STEM (by research) in Australia (2 years study)
- 5 points for your partner having competent English
- 10 points for your partner’s skills (can’t combine with the point above)
- 10 points for being single
- 10 points for having an Australian citizen/ permanent resident spouse/ partner
Please see some explanatory notes below on some of the key items in the table above.