The 491 visa will replace the 489 visa on 16 November 2019.
The Department of Home Affairs has allocated 14,000 places to this visa subclass.
Like the 489 visa, the 491 is a points-tested visa for applicants sponsored by:
It is intended to be any part of Australia excluding Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne. Unlike the 489 visa, the regions of Newcastle, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast will be designated regional areas.
There is a revised points system for the 491 visa so you have new ways to earn points towards your score. You will get:
Points will still apply based on your age, qualification, years of overseas and/or Australian skilled work experience, Australian study and English skills, as they do under the 489 visa and other skilled visas.
The revised points system will apply to all skilled migration visas.
The Productivity Commission found that secondary applicants (partners of skilled migrants) should also be assessed, given their contribution to the Australian community, workforce and economy. The current point system does not allocate appropriate weight to the skill of a partner.
There is a ranking system for an invitation to apply for a 491 visa. The rankings are:
491 visa holders cannot lodge certain visas until they have held a 491 visa (and met its conditions) for three years. This includes skilled PR visas (189 visa and 190 visa), business visas (124 visa, 132 visa and 188 visa), employer nominated PR 186 visa and the onshore partner visa (820 visa).
This requirement to reside and work in a designated regional area is underpinned by the need to support economic development and population growth in regional areas.
The 491 is a five-year visa. You can access permanent residence through the Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional)) visa when the following is met:
What happens to current 489 visa holders and those who lodge a 489 visa before the change?
Current 489 visa holders (and those who lodge a 489 visa prior to 16 November 2019) will continue to have a PR pathway through the 887 visa.