The Skilled visa program allows people with qualifications and work experience in demand in Australia to migrate to Australia permanently.

There are a number of different kinds of Skilled visa including the Provisional Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa.

To be eligible for a Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa you need to be over 18 and under 45 years old, have reasonable English, be accredited in an occupation in demand in Australia, have a family member living in regional Australia who is able to sponsor you, pass the visa points test, and be invited to apply under SkillSelect.

The SkillSelect system allows the Australian Government to manage who can apply for a visa. Under SkillSelect, the Australian Government periodically invites people to apply for a Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa. The higher the points you have on the visa points test, the more likely you are to be invited to apply. If you are not invited to apply for a Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa you could consider applying for a state nominated visa.

With a Subclass 491 visa you and your family are entitled to live and work in regional Australia for five years. You can work in any occupation, study at Australian schools and universities, access public hospitals and free health services, buy a house, and travel between Australia and your country. The entitlements reflect the genuine desire on the part of the Australian Government to open the benefits of citizenship to those who choose to migrate to Australia.

After living and working in regional Australia for three years and earning a minimum income of $53,900 per year, you can apply for a permanent Subclass 191 visa. After living in Australia for four years you can apply for Australian citizenship and a passport. You will not have to give up your original citizenship but can become a dual citizen of Australia and your country.

Family Sponsored Visa (Subclass 491)

The Subclass 491 visa is a points-tested provisional visa for skilled workers who have an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Occupations List and who have a family member living in regional Australia who is able to sponsor.

With this visa, you can

  • live and work in regional Australia for five years;
  • enrol in Australia’s public health care scheme, Medicare;
  • study at Australian schools and universities;
  • apply for a permanent visa after three years;
  • travel in and out of Australia without restriction.
  • Pathways to Permanent Residence

    After three years of living and working in regional Australia and earning a minimum income of $53,900 per year, you can apply for a permanent Subclass 191 visa. During the first three years you hold the Subclass 491 visa you cannot:

    • make a valid application for a subclass 820 (Partner) visa;
    • be granted one of the following visas:
    • Subclass 132 (Business Talent);
      Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme);
      Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional));
      Subclass 189 (Skilled (Independent));
      Subclass 190 (Skilled (Nominated));
      Subclass 858 (Distinguished talent).

You may be able to apply for a Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa if you meet the following requirements:

  • are under 45 years of age;
  • have a skilled occupation on the Medium and Long Term Occupations List;
  • can demonstrate ‘Competent English’;
  • have a positive skills assessment from the skills assessing authority for your nominated occupation;
  • have 65 points on the visa points test;
  • are invited to apply for the visa under SkillSelect;
  • are sponsored by an eligible relative living in regional Australia;
  • meet health and character requirements.
  • Sponsorship by an eligible relative

    To sponsor you your relative must be:

    • 18 years old or older;
    • usually resident in regional Australia;
    • an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen.

    An eligible relative can be:

    • a parent;
    • a child or step-child;
    • a brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, step-brother or step-sister;
    • an aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle;
    • a nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step-nephew or step-niece;
    • a grandparent; or
    • a first cousin.

Processing times are indicative only and may vary depending on individual circumstances or government policy. The latest processing times published by the Department of Home Affairs are as follows:

  • 75% of applications: 10 months
  • 90% of applications: 11 months

The visa costs AUD$4,115 for the main applicant. There is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you:

  • Partner/spouse or additional applicant 18 years old or older: AUD$2,055
  • Children under 18: AUD$1,030
  • To verify the cost of your visa please use the Visa Pricing Estimator.

    Adults over 18 years old who have less than functional English will need to pay an additional fee for English classes after arriving in Australia. The second instalment charge for family members is AUD$4,885.


    The Visa Pricing Estimator does not include the cost of applying for accreditation, English exams, translations, state nomination, police certificates, health checks, or professional fees associated with making your application.

To discover whether you are eligible for Family Sponsored Subclass 491 visa, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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