The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494 visa allows an employer to sponsor a person from overseas to work in the business . The visa is a five year visa that allows you to live and work in regional Australia and apply for permanent residence after three years.

The purpose of the visa is to encourage new migrants to live in regional Australia and to create a pathway to permanent residence.

To apply for a Subclass 494 visa, you need an Australian employer to offer you a job and to sponsor you. Whether you have an employer who is willing to sponsor you is a practical matter and not a legal question. You are more likely to find a sponsor if you are already living in Australia.

Before you can apply for the visa, your employer must become a sponsor. It then must nominate the position it has available. Not all positions can be nominated. The position must be on a list of occupations that can be nominated, genuine, and consistent with the nature of the business. The employer must be unable to find an Australian worker, to pay a market salary rate for the position, and offer conditions equivalent to Australian workers.

You need to have three years of work experience in the nominated occupation and to have your qualifications and work experience accredited in Australia.

The process of sponsoring a person can be complex for employers. Smaller businesses are sometimes unwilling to go through the process and expense of becoming a sponsor. Employers may also need legal advice about whether they can sponsor a particular person, and the process, costs, and obligations of sponsorship.

We invite you to contact us if you need further information about sponsoring a person to apply for a Subclass 494 visa or applying for a Subclass 494 visa yourself.

Provisonal Skilled Regional
(Subclass 494)

This is a five year provisional visa that allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled overseas worker to fill a position in circumstances where they cannot find a skilled Australian to fill the position. Family members can be included in the application and can work or study in Australia while holding the visa.

To apply for the permanent visa you need to have work for your employer for three years. At the end of this perod you can apply for a permanent visa without needing the employer to formally sponsor you.

With this visa, you can

  • live, work and study in regional areas of Australia for five years;
  • travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid;
  • if eligible, apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time your visa is granted.
  • Please note that unless you have held your Subclass 494 visa for three years you cannot apply for other kinds of visas including:

    • Subclass 820 (Partner) visa; or
    • 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)

      Specified region

      You can live, work and study only in a designated regional area. Designated regional areas include all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The general requirements to apply for a Subclass 494 visa are as follows:

  • Have an occupation on the Skilled Occupations list for the Subclass 494 visa;
  • Be nominated for the position by an Australian sponsor in regional Australia;
  • Have relevant skills and qualifications for your occupation and be accredited in your occupation;
  • Have at least three (3) years of work experience in your occupation;
  • Be under 45 years old;
  • Have Comptetent English language ability; and
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Note 1: These requirements are applied strictly.
    Note 2: The employer must also meet strict rules to become a sponsor and to nominate the position.

Processing times for this visa are not currently available.

This visa costs AUD$4,045 for the main applicant, AUD$2,025 for each dependent 18 years and over, and AUD$1,010 for each dependent under 18 years.

It costs an additional AUD$4,890 if any dependent applicants who are 18 years and over do not have functional English. This extra charge is called a second instalment.

To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator. The estimator does not include the second instalment and other costs you might also have to pay such as those for police certificates, health checks, biometrics and professional fees to get assistance with the visa application process from an immigration lawyer/agent.

Employer costs

There are also fees the employer must pay.

Standard Business Sponsorship fee: $420
Nomination fee: $330
Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy

The SAF levy for small business is: $1,200 for each visa year
The SAF levy for large business is: $1,800 for each visa year

The SAF levy is paid into a Government fund used to provide training to Australian permanent residents and citizens.

Note: These fees must be paid by the employer and cannot be passed on to the visa applicant.

To discover whether you are eligible to sponsor a person for a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (Subclass 494) or to apply yourself, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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