The new visas will be the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional, subclass 491) visa and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional, subclass 494) visa.
The Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state. The 491 will be replacing the Skilled Regional (Provisional, subclass 489) visa. Although similar, the 491 is said to be an enhanced version of the 489 with a new and improved points test. Around 500 occupations will be eligible for the Skilled Work Regional visa.
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494) is for skilled workers who are sponsored by their employers. The 494 will be replacing the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187). Again, although similar, the 494 is said to be an enhanced version of the 187 visa. Around 700 occupations will be eligible for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa.
In November of 2022 the Government will also introduce the Permanent Residence Skilled Regional (subclass 191) visa. This visa provides a pathway to permanent residency to applicants who hold a 491 or 494 visa. To be eligible, applicants must prove they have worked and lived in regional Australia for 3 years while holding either one of the two new regional visas.
The new visas are made to assist regional Australia which is currently experiencing a major skills shortage. Regional areas are classed as all of Australia excluding Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. There is an estimated 47,000 job vacancies in regional Australia today. To help fill these vacancies quickly, priority processing arrangements will be expanded to include visa applicants who will live and work in regional Australia as well as visa applicants who are sponsored by regional employers.
More information on the regional visas will be released closer to their commencement in November.
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