Australia: New regional visas announced by the Department of Home Affairs

Last Updated: 6 April 2019

The Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) has announced 2 new regional provisional visas which will lead to permanent residence as well as an extension option for 485 visa holders.

New Regional Visas

Starting in November 2019, two provisional visas will be opened for migrants who commit to living and working in a regional area. These are:

  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

Details on these new visa are scare at the moment. However, we do know:

  1. The definition of regional areas will also be simplified to mean anywhere outside of metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth;
  2. These visas will be processed as a priority by Home Affairs;
  3. Visas will be granted for a 5 years;
  4. Both provisional visas will allow applicants to apply for permanent residence; and

More details about each visa are below.

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa will allow employers in regional areas to sponsor employees to work for them. The list of eligible occupations has not been release yet however, it is expected to be one of the largest seen in recent times with almost 700 occupations on this list.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

Those applicants without an employer to sponsor them will be able to be nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia under the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa.

The occupation list of this visa will be narrower than the employer sponsored version above with over 500 eligible occupations.

Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa

After living and working in a regional area those on either the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa or Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa will be eligible for permanent residence.

Little has been released about eligibility for the new Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa which open from November 2022. Based on the timeframe of the new permanent visa opening it is likely that provisional visas holder will have to live and work in regional Australia for at least three years before becoming eligible for permanent residence.

Extension of 485 visa

Holders of 485 visas who have met the below criteria will be eligible for a one year extension of their 485 visa.

  • Graduated from the regional campus of a university or institution with a bachelor degree or higher; and
  • Maintained residence in a regional area while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa

A regional area will be anywhere outside of metropolitan, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.

Current student visa holders graduating on or after 2021 will be eligible for this visa.

The second 485 visa will come with a condition requiring the visa holder to continue ongoing residence in a regional area.

How does this impact my business?

Regional businesses will find it easier to attract and retain skilled employees. We recommend that those businesses wanting to take advantage of this new visa monitor the release of the occupation lists and speak to Hammond Taylor if you have any queries about these.

How does this impact students / skilled migrant?

Students who are graduating on or after 2021 may wish to look into swapping thier courses to providers in regional Australia to enable them to take advance of the extension to the 485 visa.

Skilled migrant should pay close attention to the state sponsorship lists in case their occupation is required by a state. The state sponsorship lists for the above new regional visas are yet to be released.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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