Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored (Regional) Visa

The Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored (Regional) visa allows employers in Australian regions to sponsor skilled workers for positions where there is a shortage in the Australian labour market.

The 494 visa was introduced in November 2019 and replaces the 187 (RSMS) visa. The 494 visa has a limited number of awards each year, currently set at 10,000. To be eligible, applicants must be sponsored by a regional employer for a job which must be proven to be sufficiently long-term i.e. at least 5 years. They must also be aged under 45 (exemptions apply), be able to demonstrate they have a competent level of English, meet the minimum salary requirements of the AMSR and have had their associated position signed off by a Regional Certifying Body. They will also be required to supply evidence of a recent skills assessment and have a minimum fo 3 years’ relevant work experience.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) – Direct Entry stream

494 visas are generally valid for a period of five years, and the visa’s conditions will specify that visa holders should only live, work or study in the nominated position and in a regional area (generally any part of Australia that is not Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane). Successful applicants risk having their visa revoked if they do not begin working within 90 days of their application being granted.

NB: Following changes to the regulations intended to encourage growth, Perth and Gold Coast are now classified as regional areas

494 visa holders will generally be expected to work for at least three years in a regional area before being eligible to apply for a different skills-based visa (other than in exceptional circumstances)Holders of the new provisional visas will also be unable to apply for most other skills based visas in Australia unless they have completed at least three years in a designated regional area, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

494 visas can be a first step on the pathway to a permanent Australian visa, providing that:

If the applicant or their partner meet these requirements, they can apply for the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa.

494 visa requirements (visa applicant):
494 requirements (Employers and job offers):
  • The sponsoring employer must be in regional Australia i.e. not Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
  • Eligible regional areas include Perth, Gold Coast, Canberra, Hobart, Wollongong,Sunshine Coast, Lake Macquarie, Illawarra, Newcastle, and Geelong.
  • The position offered must be full-time and on the list of eligible occupations
  • Employers should have obtained advance approval from the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) and ensure that they are prepared to pay at least the Australian Market Salary Rate (AMSR)
Benefits of the 494 visa:
  • It opens up a pathway to permanent residence via the subclass 191 visa
  • Employers are subject to just one SAF levy stage for nominations for the subclass 494 visa (this compares to two levy stages for the subclass 482 to ENS subclass 186 permanent resident pathway)
494 visa conditions :

SAF Charges (Subclass 494 Visa)

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Sponsors can expect to pay fees as below depending on annual turnover and years elapsed:

Years elapsed Turnover less than AUD 10 million In any other case
<1 AUD 3000 AUD 5000
1-less than 2 AUD 2400 AUD 4000
2-less than 3 AUD 1800 AUD 3000
3-less than 4 AUD 1200 AUD 2000
4-less than 5 AUD 600 AUD 1000

Book your no-obligation consultation today with our Registered Migration Agents in Melbourne, and find out the right visa options for your unique circumstances.