482 and 494 Visa Explained:Unraveling the Differences

Understanding 482 and 494 visas:Which to choose? 

The Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa (‘482 visa’) and the subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (‘494 visa’) are both employer sponsored visas.

The 494 visa is intended for visa applicants who wish to live, work and study in a designated regional area in Australia (excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) whereas the 482 visa is not restricted to a particular location within Australia.

The 482 and 494 visas differ significantly in occupation eligibility, pathways to residency, duration, costs for employers, and visa conditions.

Breaking down the difference between 482 and 494 visa

Occupation eligibility

An applicant is eligible for the 482 visa if their occupation falls on the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or 482 Regional Occupations List (ROL).

Occupations that are on the 482 STSOL do not offer a pathway to permanent residency.

An applicant may be eligible for the 494 visa if their occupation falls on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the 494 ROL. The 494 ROL encompasses a broader range of occupations and also includes occupations that are on the 482 STSOL.

Pathways to permanent residency

For the 482 visa, there are pathways to permanent residency through the Subclass 186 visa after either:

(a) completing 3 years’ full time employment with the sponsor or

(b) obtaining a positive skills assessment and providing evidence of 3 years’ work experience. Both ways require the employer’s support.

For the 494 visa, after 3 years’ full time employment the visa holder can apply for access to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 without employer support.

There are restrictions for 494 visa holders in applying for other permanent visas (such as the Subclass 820, 124, 132, 186, 188, 189, 190 and 858 visas) unless they have held the 494 visa for at least 3 years. However, there are no restrictions for 482 visa holders to access other permanent visas.

Differences in visa length

The 482 visa can be granted for a period of up to 4 years (for occupations that are on the MLTSSL) or 2 years (for occupations on the STSOL) while the 494 visa is a provisional visa that is granted for up to 5 years.

Costs involved for employers

The 482 nomination attracts a fee of $330 while there is no nomination fee for the 494 visa.

The Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) levy payable by an employer varies depending on the turnover of the business in the most recent completed financial year and the proposed period of employment.

Sponsor turnover <$10M

482 $1200 per year 
494 $3000 one-off 

Sponsor turnover >$10M

482  $1800 per year
494  $5000 one off

The process

Both 482 and 494 visas operate in a similar way and both use the same ‘Standard Business Sponsorship’ to access the visa program.

The two visas have distinct but similar Nomination and Visa requirements.

1. Standard Business Sponsorship relates to the sponsoring business
2. Both 482 Nomination and 494 Nomination relate to the position to be filled
3. Both Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa and Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) relate to the person to be employed.

As the 494 visa provides a more streamlined pathway to permanent residency, the requirements to obtain the visa are higher.

Requirement 482 and 494 visas

  • Occupation on relevant list
  • Labour Market Testing – for 482 with certain exemptions, for 494 no applicable exemptions
  • Market Salary Rates Yes (must be at least the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold of $53,900)
  • Genuine Position
  • Regional Certifying Body advice required for 494
  • Skill Qualification (Cert III / Dip / Bachelor)* Qualification + Skills Assessment**
  • Experience Min 2 years’ full time post qualification for 482, 3 years’ full time post qualification for 494
  • No age limit for 482,  Applicant must be under 45 years old at time of application for 494
  • English IELTS Minimum 5.0 in each band for 482, Competent English i.e. IELTS Minimum 6.0 in each band for 494

* A limited number of occupations require a Skills Assessment for 482

**Exemptions are available for academic applicants, subclass 444/461 visa holders or those who have had a previous skills assessment for a 457 or 482 visa for the same occupation

Visa conditions

The 482 visa has less stringent conditions than the 494 visa which has additional conditions which the primary visa holder must abide with.

  • Condition 8607: must only work in the visa holder’s nominated occupation and for the approved sponsor only. Must not cease employment for more than 60 days
  • Condition 8501: maintain health insurance while in Australia.
  • Condition 8608: must work only in the visa holder’s nominated occupation and for the approved sponsor only. Must not cease employment for more than 90 days
  • Condition 8578: Visa holder must notify DHA of any changes in residential address, email address, phone number, passport details, address of employer, address of location where person is employed within 14 days after the change occurs.
  • Condition 8579: must live, work and study in a designated regional area
  • Condition 8580: must provide evidence of visa holder’s residential address, address of each employer, address of location where person is employed, address of education institution attended within 28 days if requested by Minister in writing
  • Condition 8581: must attend an interview if requested by the Minister

The pros and cons of each visa

The 482 visa offers an easier pathway to permanent residency.

However, depending on your personal circumstances, the 494 might be the more appropriate choice.

TSS 482 Visa

  • Greater control over visa holders access to PR
  • Ability to tailor the visa length based on anticipated pathway to Permanent Residency
  • Lower threshold for entry (2 years’ experience)
  • More expensive when considering PR stage
  • Higher employer cost than 494 if selecting a longer duration

SESR 494 Visa 

  • Lower employer costs
  • Lower employer cost when considering PR stage
  • Automatic 5 year nomination period
  • Broader range of occupations
  • Higher threshold for entry (Positive Skills Assessment + 3 years’ experience)
  • Higher English Threshold (IELTS 6.0 in each band)
  • Higher visa cost
  • Visa conditions are more stringent

The choice between 482 and 494 visas depends on individual circumstances, offering varied pathways, costs, and visa conditions tailored to different needs.

482 and 494 Visa Key Takeaway

  • 482 visa is location-flexible, while 494 is for designated regional areas.
  • 482 requires STSOL/MLTSSL/ROL occupations; 494 accepts MLTSSL/494 ROL.
  • 482 has pathways to PR after 3 years; 494 offers PR via Subclass 191 without employer support after 3 years.
  • 482 can be up to 4 years (MLTSSL) or 2 years (STSOL); 494 is a provisional visa for up to 5 years.
  • Employer costs vary: 482 nomination fee is $330 plus SAF levy, while 494 has no nomination fee only SAF levy based on turnover.

The above information on TSS 482 and 494 visas is not intended to be legal advice but merely offers a brief summary of the differences between the 482 and 494 visas.

If you would like to speak with an Immigration Specialist about your eligibility to apply for a 482 or 494 visa, please contact Visa Lounge at info@visalounge.com.au 

Published by Maddie Phillips

Australian Immigration Law Specialist with over 12 years experience, I provide high touch immigration solutions for businesses and individuals, all aspects of Australian immigration law. OMARA Licenced, Member Migration Institute of Australia and Australian Human Resources Institute.