Subclass 494 Visa Program – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) visa  

From 16 November 2019, Regional Employers will be able to access an additional employer sponsorship program under the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa Program.

The Subclass 494 visa program will be in addition to existing options to sponsor employees under the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visas. Unlike existing sponsorship options, the Subclass 494 Skilled Regional Visa will offer substantial benefits to Regional employers.

Do I qualify as a Regional Employer?  Regional employers will be those located outside of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

How to become a Regional Employer Sponsor – Application Process

The Regional Employer Sponsored process will involve three applications as follows:

1. Sponsorship Application by the Regional Business

Regional employers will apply to become an approved Standard Business Sponsor (SBS)  under existing arrangements in place for the previous Subclass 457 visa and currently in place for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage program.

Regional employers who may wish to sponsor overseas employees for the new Subclass 494 visa can use their existing SBS approval or apply now to become an approved sponsor in readiness for the introduction of the Subclass 494 visa.

Standard Business Sponsors are approved for a period of 5 years during which time they can lodge a Nomination Application to sponsor overseas employees.

Contact us for more information about becoming an approved Regional Business Sponsor under the Subclass 494 Visa Program.

2. Nomination Application by the Regional Business

Where a regional employer is approved as a Standard Business Sponsor and has established a genuine need exists for a position which cannot be filled from the Australian Labour Market, they will be able to nominate a position for approval by the Department of Home Affairs to be filled by an overseas employee.

The Nomination Application process for the Subclass 494 Skilled Regional work visa will enable regional employers to select from an extensive Skilled Occupation List which will provide for 673 eligible occupations which can be sponsored (over 450 more occupations than closest non-regional equivalent visa).  All listed occupations will be able to be nominated for a period of 5 years and provide a pathway to Australian permanent residence for the nominee.

There will still be a training levy payable to nominate a position, however, the Skilling Australians Fund Charge will be a one off fee of $3,000.00 for businesses with turnover of less than $10M per annum for the 5 year period.

3. Subclass 494 Visa Application 

The visa applicant will be required to demonstrate they satisfy Age, English, Qualifications and Employment experience requirements to be approved for the 494  Visa.

All applicants, including family members, must also meet Health and Character requirements.

Subclass 494 Regional visas will be granted subject to very strict conditions, which if breached, may result in the person being ineligible to apply for Australian permanent residence in the future.

Applicable conditions will be as follows:

  • Regional work visa condition 8578 – notify the Department of Home Affairs of any changes within 14 days
  • Regional work visa condition 8579 – live, work and study only in a designated regional area
  • Regional work visa condition 8580 – if requested to do so, provide evidence within 28 days
  • Regional work visa condition 8581 – if requested to do so, attend an interview

Once an employee has worked in the position for at least 3 years, they will be eligible to apply for Australian permanent residence under the new Subclass 191 Skilled Regional Migrant visa which will commence in 2022.