NSW 491 Visa Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

NSW Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491)

The 491 is a provisional points-based visa enabling skilled workers to live and work in a designated regional area of New South Wales (NSW). It is a state-sponsored visa, meaning you will be sponsored by NSW and not an individual employer. This requires you to commit to living and working in a regional area of NSW for three years before you become eligible for permanent residence.


NSW State Sponsored Skilled Work Regional visa

As the 491 visa is state-sponsored, NSW impose their own individual criteria in addition to the usual requirements of the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) for the 491 visa. These requirements will vary based on the particular occupation so it is important that you are aware of any conditions or caveats that apply to your nominated occupation before you submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).


Before you can apply for the 491 visa, you must be issued an invitation from the NSW Government who will select candidates based on the information provided in their EOI. The usual factors will continue to be assessed such as your level of English, years of experience and your qualifications.


State Sponsorship Requirements

Regional Development Australia (RDA) commenced assisting the NSW Treasury as of February 2021 in managing applications for the 494 visa. Each region of NSW will be administered by an individual RDA office who are responsible for establishing their own eligible skilled occupations for nomination and assessing applications within their respective region.


The nomination criteria, however, is generally consistent across all regions, with some additional criteria applicable to certain occupations. RDA operates within the guidelines of the Department and the NSW Treasury and will focus on nominating applicants performing skilled work in critical sectors. The NSW Government is prioritising those who will contribute to the State’s economic recovery from Covid-19, noting that demand for specific occupations is likely to vary and is subject to the number of allocations.


State Sponsorship Eligible Occupations

The list of occupations that NSW is currently nominating are contained on the NSW Government website.


Each region of NSW determines their own occupation list so you must ensure that your nominated occupation is available in your specific region of NSW. This information is available on the NSW Government website and lists the skilled occupation lists for each region of NSW.


NSW 491 Visa Streams

There are two streams currently available for 491 nomination in NSW.

These are:

Stream 1 – Living and Working in Regional NSW

Stream 2 – Recently Completed Study in Regional NSW


From 01 April 2021, NSW 491 nomination under Stream 3 – Living and Working Outside a Designated Regional Area of NSW, will no longer be available. No applications received by the NSW Government after 29 March 2021 will be considered.


NSW 491 Visa Streams Requirements

The requirements for these streams are below.


Stream 1 – Living and Working in Regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under Stream 1, you must:

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that is on your nominated region;s occupation list;
  • have been living in a designated regional of NSW for at least the previous 12 months; and
  • have been working in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, in a designated regional area of NSW, for at least the previous 12 months.


Stream 2 – Recently Completed Study in Regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under Stream 2, you must:

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region’s occupation list;
  • have completed study or education with an education provider, where:
    • the study was completed within the previous 24 months;
    • the education provider is located in a designated regional area in NSW;
    • the study meets the Australian study requirement (as determined by Home Affairs from time to time); and
    • the qualification obtained from this study has been assessed as closely related to your nominated occupation by the relevant assessing authority; and
  • have lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study.


If you are intending to apply for the 491 visa in NSW or would like more information on this process, contact No Borders Law Group to arrange a free initial assessment with one of our migration lawyers.


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