Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494)

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186 visa)

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa (Provisional)(Subclass 494)

The Department of Home Affairs commenced the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa (Provisional)  (Subclass 494) on 16th November 2019 with a new permanent visa pathway from November 2022. The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494) replaces the 187 RSMS visa. The 494 visa will be valid for five years and visa holders must live, study and work in a specified regional area. Additionally, eligible family members can be included in the application. A total of 9,000 places will be allocated to the 494 visa program every year. The 494 visa does not grant immediate permanent residency. You can, however, apply for the Skilled Regional Permanent Residency Visa (Subclass 191) once you meet certain eligibility criteria.

What are the requirements for the 494 visa?

The 494 visa application process is made up of three important stages:

1. Sponsorship by the employer

To sponsor someone for the 494 visa, the business must first apply and be approved as a sponsor or have a labour agreement in place. In order to, obtain sponsorship approval, the business must:

  • be actively and lawfully operating (whether in or outside of Australia)
  • if in Australia, has a commitment to employing local labour and engaging in non- discriminatory recruitment practices
  • have  no relevant adverse information against the business, or it is reasonable to disregard this information
  • agree to comply with sponsorship obligations throughout the life of its sponsorship

Sponsorships for start-up and overseas businesses are generally valid for 18 months and 5 years for established businesses in Australia. The business can sponsor overseas workers for the duration of their sponsorship.

2. Nomination by the employer

To nominate a position under the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494) the employer must:

  • nominate the overseas worker in an occupation from the relevant Skilled Occupations List
  • prove that there is a genuine need for a full-time position to be filled within the business
  • the base salary offered is not less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which is currently A$53,900 per annum
  • the nominee must be paid market rate for the role
  • the terms of employment are no less favourable than those that would apply to an equivalent Australian worker
  • if the occupation is not exempt, labour market testing has been undertaken for the nominated position.
  • Contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy. A business with a turnover less than $10 million has to pay $1,200 per nomination per year for a TSS visa. A large business with a turnover of more than $10 million will pay $1,800 per nominee per year.

3. Visa application

To apply for a  visa under the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494), the applicant must meet the requirements under either the employer sponsored stream or the labour agreement stream.

Employer sponsored stream, applicant must:

  • be under 45 years of age at the time of application
  • be nominated by an approved sponsor
  • have an employer who is willing to offer you a permanent position in a skilled occupation on the applicable occupation list
  • have a valid skills assessment in your occupation
  • have three years relevant employment experience in your nominated occupation
  • meet registration and licensing requirements
  • have competent English unless exempt
  • meet health and character requirements

Labour Agreement Stream, applicant must:

  • be under 45 years of age at the time of application
  • be nominated by an employer who has a labour agreement
  • have an employer who is willing to offer you a permanent position in an occupation specified in the work agreement
  • may be required to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills to perform tasks in your nominated occupation
  • have the necessary English language skills suitable for your occupation
  • meet health and character requirements

What obligations do you have to meet if granted the 494 visa?

If you are granted the 494 visa, you need to meet the following obligations:

  • live, work and study in the designated regional area for at least three years.

If you do not comply with the conditions of your visa:

  • your visa and those of any accompanying family members may be cancelled
  • you will not be able to apply for the Permanent Residence Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 191)

What are the costs associated with applying for the 494 visa?

We have outlined the fees that are most likely to be incurred in Australian Dollars. Fees can increase without notice, so the fees can vary at the time of application.

  • Our fees start from – $3,999 (Visa Premium Service) + GST (as applicable)
  • Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Visa Application fees – $ 4,045 (for primary applicant), $2,020 (for each secondary applicant over 18), $1,015 (for each secondary applicant under 18)
  • SAF Levy – between $3,000 – $5,000 per application
  • Skills Assessment Application fees – $300 to $1,200 for most occupations
  • IELTS or PTE Academic – IELTS $340 + $34 (GST if applicable) or PTE $340
  • Medical Examination fees – as applicable
  • Police Clearance Certificate: $ 20 per person (average)
  • Regional certifying body fees – may be applicable
  • Translations/Certifications – as applicable
  • Credit card processing fees for DHA – as applicable

How long will the 494 visa process take?

There are a range of different factor that determine how long it takes for the 494 visa to be granted. The skills assessment application process can take 10 days to a few months depending on the skills assessing authority. For visa processing times please refer to the information on the Department of Home Affairs website for

What are the benefits of the 494 visa?

The 494 visa allows you and your dependents to:

  • temporarily live, study and work in a designated regional area in Australia
  • travel in and out of Australia while the visa is valid
  • apply for permanent residence through the Permanent Residence Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 191) after certain conditions have been met.

How we can help you?

Better Life Migration can assist you with the whole process from start to finish.

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We would like to say a big thank you to all of you at Better Life Migration. You made the whole process so easy for us and we couldn’t have done it without your help. A big thanks to Preeti for all that you done for us. We are very excited and look forward to moving to Oz soon.

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