191 Visa Australia – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa overview
The Subclass 191 Visa Australia – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa is the top permanent visa for designated regional area Australia.
The 191 visa australia is available for people who have lived, worked, and studied in designated regional area Australia on a previous, eligible visa such as the provisional 494 or 491 visa. With 191 visa Australia you can stay permanently, work and study anywhere in Australia and apply for Australian citizenship.
The Subclass 191 Visa Australia – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa has come into effect in November 2022 and is valid for five years. It has two streams that are utilised:
- The Regional Provisional Stream and
- the Hong Kong stream,
both of which contain different requirements that need to be met in order to be eligible.
However, before one can apply to be a permanent resident, they do need to have held a previous visa for a period of around three years in order to first be eligible. These visa subclasses differ slightly depending on which stream is applied for.
Subclass 491 or 494 visa holders can move between regional areas. There is no need for you to stay in the same state or regional area that you apply.
Regional areas are defined as any area excluding Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne. Regional areas include Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Canberra.
191 Visa Australia – Regional Provisional Stream
For the Regional Provisional stream, there is some key requirements that need to be met firstly before an applicant can be considered eligible for the stream and visa. The Regional Provisional stream of the Subclass 191 visa commenced on 16 November 2022 and is the permanent pathway for Skilled Regional Provisional (Subclass 491 and 494) visa holders.
The primary step in managing to get into the provisional stream is that the applicant must first have been on one of the approved visa subclasses necessary to be eligible for the stream. These visas are the subclass 491 skilled work regional (Provisional) and 494 skilled Employer Sponsor Regional (Provisional), which are a necessary steppingstone to be eligible for this stream.
As mentioned previously, this also requires that the applicant have held these visa subclasses for a period of three years prior to lodging for the permanent residence subclass 191 first due to the conditions surrounding permanent residency applications.
The applicant must have also complied with all previous conditions on the 491 and 494 subclasses.
The other important aspect of being a successful applicant for the 191 visa Australia – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa is that it requires notice of assessments issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for three income years out of the five years of the eligible visa.
NOTE: There is no minimum income requirement.
The applicant must have complied with the conditions of your eligible visa when in Australia. This requirement applies for the whole period the applicant holds the visa(s).
The applicant is also required to meet necessary health requirements, along with also ensuring that they are not required to pay back any money to the Australian government.
All current debts to the Australian government must either be paid back, or the applicant must have made some manner of arrangement to be able to successfully pay it back over a period.
Finally, the applicant must sign the Australian Values statement which outlines that they understand the Australian Values expected by members of the community and read the “Life in Australia” booklet. Furthermore, this values statement being signed means that the applicant will follow all laws and regulations of the Australian community.
191 Visa Australia – Hong Kong stream
The Hong Kong stream has come into effect on 5 March 2022, and it is available to applicants that have spent three years on one of the following three visas: Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa, Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa or a Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa. As with the previous stream, the applicant must have complied with the previous temporary visa conditions.
The name of the stream itself comes from the origin of the applicants that are eligible for it. In order to apply for the Hong Kong stream, an applicant must first ensure that they are holders of a particular set of passports to make them able to successfully apply.
As can be expected, the passport options are Hong-Kong but also include British National (Overseas) for potential applicants as well. This is how the stream gets its name, but as mentioned above it also does include other conditions that are not present or as heavily emphasized as the previous stream.
The applicant must have had continuous residence within a designated regional area for a period of three years prior to applying for the visa subclass. This means that the applicant must be ‘usually resident’ within the designated area. Meaning they must usually eat, sleep, and have a home within a designated regional area.
At the same time, the applicant must also prove they have an intention to remain in this area. They must also have worked or studied within a designated regional area for a period of three years prior to applying for a visa within this stream.
Additionally, an applicant must also pass a language test to ensure that they have a suitable level of English appropriate for conducting themselves with Australia. The level of English required for qualifying for the Hong Kong stream is Functional level.
One other aspect that was not previously mentioned has to do with the provisional regional visas that the visa applicants hold when they apply for the Hong Kong stream.
If an applicant has been granted an eligible visa (aka the visa that is held by the applicant to be necessary to qualify for the 191) after the 9th of July 2020 the visa must be valid for 5 years.
Otherwise, conditions that exist for the other stream are still the same for this stream: An applicant must have a valid health check, they must pass the character requirement that has been placed, they must have signed the values statement and proven that they understand the values necessary to live within Australia.
And, finally, any outstanding debts to the government must have been paid or have an agreement in place for how it is to be paid back over the course of their time in Australia.
One other important factor of applying for a subclass 191 Visa Australia – Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa is that you are allowed to include additional applicants. This means that if the applicant has a spouse or dependants such as children, they can add them to the application as secondary applicants.
It is important to consider, however, the additional applicants are still subject to similar conditions for being eligible for approval including character, health, compliance with previous visa conditions and even English language ability.
Top 10 key facts you need to know to successfully apply for 191 visa
So to be successful with your 191 visa Australia application and obtain your hard-earned permanent residency, make sure that the most important requirements are met:
- When the 191 visa Australia is granted, may be in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance.
- An application by a primary Regional Provisional applicant or a secondary Regional Provisional applicant must be made on or after 16 November 2022.
- An application by a primary HK applicant or a secondary HK applicant:
(i) must be made on or after 5 March 2022; and
(ii) must not nominate the Regional Provisional Visas stream.
- A primary Regional Provisional applicant:
(i) must hold a regional provisional visa; and
(ii) must have held that regional provisional visa for at least 3 years.
- A primary HK applicant:
(i) must hold a Hong Kong passport or a British National (Overseas) passport; and
(ii) must hold an eligible visa; and
(iii) must have held that visa for at least 3 years.
- Meet residence requirements for the Hong Kong stream
- Have Functional English for the Hong Kong stream
- Must be able to demonstrate required taxable income for the Regional Provisional Visas stream
- Meet health and character requirements
- To avoid refusal of an 191 visa application, it is important that all necessary documents are attached to your application.
The Subclass 191 Visa Australia – 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa permits the holder to travel to and enter Australia for 5 years from the date of grant.
If you are not sure where to start or you need a personalised migration plan, then send your message to one of our experienced registered migration specialists here.