The Australian 489 Visa

The Australian 489 visa, known as the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa, is designed to encourage skilled workers to live and work in regional or low population growth areas of Australia. This visa offers a pathway to permanent residency through the Skilled Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887) after meeting certain requirements.

Here is our guide to understanding the benefits, requirements, and application process for the 489 visa.

Key Benefits of the 489 Visa

With the 489 visa, you can:

Stay in Australia for 4 years: The visa allows you to reside in Australia for four years from the date it is granted.

Live, work, and study in specified regions: You are required to live, work, and study in designated regional areas or low population growth metropolitan areas as specified by your nomination.

Unlimited travel: You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you wish while your visa is valid.

Pathway to permanent residence: If eligible, you can apply for permanent residence through the Skilled Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887) after fulfilling the necessary conditions.

Specified Regions and Nomination Requirements

Applicants Nominated by a State or Territory Government Agency:

If your visa was granted before 16 November 2019, you must live, work, and study in regional and low population growth metropolitan areas.

If granted on or after 16 November 2019, you must reside in designated regional areas.

Your nomination must not be withdrawn, or you will not be granted the visa.

Applicants Sponsored by an Eligible Relative:

Regardless of when your visa was granted, you must live, work, and study in a specified area of Australia as listed in the designated regional area postcode list.

Your sponsorship must be accepted by the Minister, or you will not be granted the visa.

Duration of Stay

The 489 visa is a temporary visa, allowing you to stay in Australia for four years from the date it is granted. It cannot be extended, so it is important to explore other visa options if you wish to stay longer.

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Including Family Members

You can include members of your family unit in your visa application. Family members must meet health and character requirements. If your partner or dependent children are not included in the application, you must provide reasons, such as their holding Australian citizenship or permanent residency.

Costs

The visa application fee starts from AUD4,640 for the main applicant, with additional charges for each accompanying family member. An extra charge, known as the second instalment fee (AUD4,890), applies to applicants over 18 with less than functional English. Other potential costs include health checks, police certificates, and biometrics.

Application Process

You can apply for the 489 visa from inside or outside Australia, provided you are not in immigration clearance at the time of application or decision. If applying from within Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a bridging visa (subclass 010, 020, or 030).

Processing Times

Visa processing times vary based on individual circumstances. Factors affecting processing times include the completeness of your application, responsiveness to additional information requests, and the time required for health, character, and security checks.

Your Obligations

You and your family members must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws. This includes living, working, and studying in the specified regional areas.

Health Insurance

While not mandatory, it is recommended to take out health insurance to cover unforeseen medical treatment costs. Australia has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some countries, but these may not cover all medical expenses.

Travel

You can travel in and out of Australia as often as you like while the visa is valid. However, time spent outside Australia does not extend the visa’s validity.

Invitation to Apply

You can only apply for the 489 visa if invited. To be considered, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in SkillSelect, indicating whether you will be sponsored by an eligible relative or nominated by a state or territory government agency.

Nomination by State or Territory Government Agency

Each state and territory has its criteria for nomination. Contact the relevant agency for detailed information about their nomination process. States and territories that participate include New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.

Sponsorship by an Eligible Relative

Your sponsor must be:

18 years or older

Usually resident in a designated area of Australia

An Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen

Your eligible relative or your partner’s eligible relative

Eligible relatives include parents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and first cousins. Sponsorship must be approved before the visa is granted.

Age and Skills Requirements

You must be under 45 years of age to be invited to apply for the visa. A suitable skills assessment must be provided with your application. This assessment must have been obtained within three years before the date of invitation and is mandatory for your application to be valid.

Points Test

The subclass 489 is a points-tested visa. You must score at least 65 points to be invited to apply. Points are awarded based on various factors, including age, English language proficiency, skilled employment experience, educational qualifications, and more. Ensure you provide evidence supporting your claims when lodging your application.

Eligible Occupations

Your occupation must be on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations for the subclass 489 visa. This list varies depending on whether you are nominated by a state or territory or sponsored by an eligible relative.

Conclusion

The 489 visa offers a valuable opportunity for skilled workers to live and work in regional Australia, with a clear pathway to permanent residency. Given the specific requirements and competitive nature of the visa, it is essential to prepare a strong application and act promptly. Contact us today for expert guidance on navigating the 489 visa process and securing your future in Australia.

The Skills Points Test

Australia awards points to determine the suitability of potential skilled migrants.

The minimum required to apply to emigrate is 65 points.

Age

18-24 years = 25 points

25-32 years = 30 points

33-39 years = 25 points

40-44 years = 15 points

English Language Skills

Competent = 0

Proficient = 10

Superior = 20

British & Irish citizens are considered competent

Skilled Employment

Less than 3 years = 0 points

3-5 years = 5 points

5-8 years = 10 points

8+ years = 15 points

Education

Doctorate = 20 points

Bachelors Degree = 15 points

Diploma or Apprenticeship = 10 points

Partners Skills

Qualified with skills in demand and under 45 years  = 10 Points

Competent English = 5 points

You are single = 10 points

Miscellaneous Points

Studied in Australia = 5 points

Completed a professional year in Australia = 5 points

Qualified in a community language = 5 points

Additional Points by Visa Stream

189 Visa

No extra points available

190 Visa

5 extra points

For those nominated by a State Government 

491 Visa

15 extra points

For those nominated by a state government and willing to live in that state for three years

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