On 16 November 2019, the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) commenced.
This visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia and is valid for five years.
People who are granted a subclass 491 visa may be able to apply for a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) once certain requirements are met.
Intending migrants can now submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the new subclass 491 visa.
Points test changes
On 16 November 2019, changes were made to the points test for General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas. These changes apply to all GSM visa applications which have not been assessed under the GSM points test prior to 16 November 2019.
Changes to Partner points
* who do not have a spouse or de facto partner are eligible to claim 10 points
* with a spouse or de facto partner who is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident are eligible to claim 10 points
* with a skilled spouse or de facto partner who:
o will be included in the visa application for the same subclass of visa as the intending migrant;
o is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident;
o is under 45 years of age;
o has nominated a skilled occupation;
o has a suitable skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority for the nominated occupation and the assessment was not for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa; and
o has at least ‘Competent English’
are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)
* with a spouse or de facto partner who has ‘Competent English’, who is not an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident and who will be included in the visa application for the same visa subclass as the intending migrant, are eligible to claim 5 points.
Other changes to the points test from 16 November 2019
* who claim a specialist education qualification are eligible to claim 10 points (increased from 5 points)
* who seek visa subclass 491 nomination from a State or Territory government agency or are sponsored by an eligible family member can claim 15 points (previously 10 points).
More information on the points test is available at: subclass 491 – points-table
New Regional Postcodes
On 16 November 2019, the Designated Regional Area instrument commenced. The instrument specifies postcodes eligible for points in Regional Study or subclass 491 nomination by a State or Territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member.
Intending migrants who had an EOI in ‘submitted’ status prior to 16 November 2019, may now be eligible for regional study points because areas regarded as regional have expanded as a result of the new Designated Regional Area definition.
EOIs submitted before 16 November 2019
SkillSelect will automatically update EOIs in ‘submitted’ status to attribute any additional points, where required information was held in SkillSelect before 16 November 2019.
This includes cases where an intending migrant indicated in their EOI, they do not have a spouse or de facto partner; or their spouse or de facto partner is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. The date of effect* will not change where points are automatically updated.
Points will also automatically update when claiming skilled partner points and/or a specialist educational qualification. The date of effect will not change.
EOIs in ‘suspended’ status
EOIs which had a ‘suspended’ status on 16 November 2019, will not have any points automatically attributed or updated.
Intending migrants can update EOIs with a ‘suspended’ status and may be required to answer new questions as a result of changes to the points test. If their points score changes, their EOI date of effect will change.
EOIs in ‘draft’ status
From 16 November 2019, intending migrants with an EOI with a ‘draft’ status can update their EOI in SkillSelect. They may be required to answer additional questions as a result of changes to the points test.
Adding subclass 491 to an existing EOI
From 16 November 2019, intending migrants can add subclass 491 to a submitted EOI. The date of effect for the subclass 491 will be the date it is added. Where this is the only change, the date of effect for previously selected subclasses will not change.
If an intending migrant updates their EOI and this changes their indicative points test score, the date of effect will change for the relevant visa subclass/es.
* Date of effect is the date and time the intending migrant submitted their EOI for the relevant visa subclass.
Paul migrated to Australia in 1999 as an international student. After completing his IT degree at the Queensland University of Technology in 2003, he began his career as an education consultant, going on to become a registered migration agent in 2007. His professional experience covers a range of visa areas, including business sponsorship, skilled migration, partner, parent and student visas.