Good news for South Africans interested in emigrating to Australia

 ·24 May 2019

The Australian government will be launching two new skilled regional visa routes this year, opening the door to more South Africans who want to make the move.

According to Sable International’s Sam Hopwood, there are currently over 600 eligible occupations available to migrants willing to work in regional Australia.

These occupations are consistent with skills needed in regional areas, including agricultural, trade and professional occupations, he said.

“Once the new regional visas are introduced later this year, skilled migration visas sponsored by regional employers or state and territory governments will receive priority processing.

“These visas allow you to bring your family with you, where they’ll enjoy the same rights as you.”

‘Regional Australia’

Hopwood explained that the Australian government currently defines regional Australia by a postcode listing.

“From November this year, regional Australia will be defined as all of Australia except for the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth,” he said.

“The new definition will form single continuous borders, as defined by postcodes, around these metropolitan areas.

“Regional Australia is home to 8.8 million Aussies and contributes to one-third of the country’s national output.”

How to move to Australia on a skilled migration visa

From November 2019, the Australian government will be introducing the following visas to help address skill shortages in regional areas.

They also aim to encourage a more balanced settlement of Australia’s skilled migrant intake, Hopwood said.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

This is a points-based visa for people who want to live and work in designated regional areas in Australia.

To qualify for this visa, you must have obtained sponsorship from an eligible relative or state or territory government, be under the age of 45 and competent in English.

This Skilled Work Regional visa will allow you to live and work in Australia for up to five years.

You can bring your family with you and leave and enter Australia as often as you like while your visa is valid.

This visa will replace the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489), which is quite popular with skilled workers who wish to move to regional Australia. This change also introduces the new points system for this visa.

Points will be awarded as follows:

  • 10 points for having a skilled spouse/defacto partner;
  • 15 points if you’re nominated by a state or territory, or sponsored by a family member that resides in regional Australia;
  • 10 points if you have certain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
  • 10 points if you do not have a spouse/defacto partner;
  • 5 points if you have a spouse/defacto partner who meets the English language requirement.

After three years of holding the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa and meeting the requirements, you can apply for a permanent residence visa.

Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

This visa will replace the current subclass 187 visa. It allows skilled workers, who are nominated by an employer, to live and work in Australia permanently.

To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • Be nominated by an Australian employer;
  • Work for your nominating employer in regional Australia;
  • Have an occupation on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations;
  • Meet the English language requirement.

Permanent Residence Skilled Regional visa (subclass 191)

The new permanent residence visa is available to skilled migrants that have lived and worked in Australia for three years on one of the two new provisional regional visas. To qualify for this visa and permanent residence in Australia, you must:

  • Have held a valid regional provisional visa for at least three years prior to making your application;
  • Earned a minimum income for three years on a valid regional provisional visa;
  • Meet the requirements of the regional provisional visa.

“This visa will only be open for applications from 16 November 2022,” said Hopwood.

“This is because applicants will need to have held one of the new regional provisional visas for three years before they can be eligible to apply.”

Read: New Zealand has a massive job shortage in this one area – and South Africans can help

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