The NSW 491 Visa Skilled Work Regional visa is one of the most popular skilled regional visa for migration to New South Wales, Australia.
As a result of the higher number of places in the 2022-2023 Migration Program, there has been an increased demand from skilled people to move outside metropolitan areas and fill in skill shortages throughout a variety of regional areas.
The state of New South Wales receives an annual quota from the Australian government based on industry needs. The skilled migration program is highly competitive and the skilled work experience requirements are reviewed periodically to ensure that the program delivers the skill needs of NSW.
In applying for NSW 491 Visa Skilled Work Regional Visa, it is first important to examine which of the two pathways NSW 491 visa nomination are more beneficial:
- Pathway 1 – Apply directly to a Regional Development Australia (RDA) office
- Pathway 2 – Be invited to apply by Investment NSW
There are two nomination streams under Pathway 1, these are:
- Stream A – Established work history with a regional NSW-based employer
- Stream B – My skills are required in regional NSW
Pathway 1 – Apply directly to a Regional Development Australia (RDA) office
For the first stream, if an applicant is choosing to apply for a subclass 491, they must apply directly to the Regional Development Australia office.
This is an initiative put in place by the government to support the growing development of all regions across Australia, uniting all levels of government in being able to fulfill the needs of the local state or territories workforce and economic development.
There are around 14 Regional Development of Australia committee’s that are presently available within New South Wales, and further information can be found on their website.
Before an applicant can apply to the Regional Development Australia, however, it is first necessary to ensure that the applicant does meet all of the necessary requirements for the nomination pathway of the NSW 491 Visa Skilled Work Regional. They must also lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect.
Stream A – Established work history with a regional NSW-based employer
Under the Stream A of the Pathway 1 Regional Development Australia (RDA) office, the applicant must be already living and working within a designated regional area of New South Wales. They must also have been living and working within this area for a period of twelve months prior to applying for the nomination under this stream.
To prove the residency, you must provide:
- bank statements for a minimum of six months from your main transaction account showing your salary and everyday transactions
In addition to the following documents (as applicable to you):
- rental or lease agreements
- utility bills, e.g. gas, water etc
- other bills, e.g. phone, internet etc
- driver’s licenses or proof of age cards
In order to qualify for skilled employment, the applicant must have been working previously in the nominated occupation or have been employed in an occupation that is closely related to the one that was nominated.
NSW defines ‘skilled employment’ as employment that is:
- after the date the applicant is deemed skilled in your nominated occupation, AND
- in the nominated (or closely related) occupation, AND
- for remuneration of at least 20 hours per week
They must also be working for the same regional New South Wales employer with whom they are currently employed for. The applicant must be deemed appropriately skilled to be eligible for the position, proving that they have the capabilities to fulfill the position that is currently be filled by them.
One of the most important aspects of applying for this stream is that the applicant is required to be paid the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT), A$53,900 minimum.
Stream B – My skills are required in regional NSW
The second stream of Pathway 1 which an applicant can pursue an NSW 491 Visa is if they manage to fulfill the necessary requirements for being a required skill. This skilled occupation list can be found on the New South Wales government website or follow this link here.
The proving ones skill level is the most important qualifying step to being able to be eligible for this particular chosen stream,meaning must be able to demonstrate that is skilled in an occupation that is within an ANZSCO unit group identified on the Stream B Skills list.
The next step that the applicant must undertake in order to be eligible for this chosen stream is that they must meet the minimum point scores and years of skilled work experience to be able to qualify. The years of skilled work experience vary usually between 1 and 2 years, but may vary depending on the position being applied for.
The applicant can be outside Australia, or if onshore, the applicant must be able to demonstrate a minimum period of residency in regional NSW of three months.
Regional NSW Study Exemption under Pathway 1 Stream B
The points test is a cumulative total of various aspects of the applicant from education, years of work experience to language skills proficiency in English. The applicant must meet the minimum number of point scores for their chosen occupation in order to be eligible for the visa under this pathway. However, there are certain exceptions that do exist depending on if the applicant has completed eligible education while they have been in Australia.
The minimum work experience requirement can be waived in the event that the applicant has completed study within the regional New South Wales area in the past 24 months before applying for the NSW 491 visa. The study must meet the Australian study requirement as defined by the Department of Home Affairs.
However, one of the overarching conditions of this is that the course of study must have been related to the occupation that the applicant is applying for. This means that an applicant cannot use this in place of work experience if they were applying for an Electrical Engineer after studying International Relations, for example.
The completion of education in regional Australia may also be able to grant the applicant claims for points in the points test, which can help improve their chances of being approved for the nomination under this pathway and stream.
One final important criteria of the subclass that does need to be mentioned is the amount of time that an applicant must have spent living in the regional area.
Unlike the stream A under pathway 1, discussed in the previous paragraph, the applicant that is applying under stream B needs to have only been living within a regional NSW area for a period of three months minimum.
Provided that they meet the other requirements, the applicant maybe able to successfully lodge for a NSW 491 visa nomination application with exemption.
This does still require lodgement through the RDA offices and ensuring that the criteria of the subclass 491 is met before applying.
Pathway 2 – Be invited by Investment NSW
An application for NSW nomination under pathway 2 requires the applicant to meet the criteria for the NSW 491 Visa and apply under a skilled occupation listed on the Pathway 2 skills list, being a skilled occupation that is currently in demand.
The applicant needs to also be residing offshore or within New South Wales for a period of at-least three months prior to lodging of the expression of interest. In the event that the occupant is selected, they will be contacted during the invitation rounds that will be released during the year.
There is no set date for these invitation rounds, but they run throughout the course of the year.
If you plan to apply for the NSW 491 visa in the near future or would like more information on this visa process, please contact VISA LOUNGE AUSTRALIA to arrange a free initial assessment with one of our migration specialists.
Simply dial 07 3040 8444 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you get your Australian visa.