Australia has made more skilled worker visas available – here’s what you need to know

There are now an extra 2,000 visas available to skilled workers looking to live and work in regional Australia, says immigration expert at Sable International, Sam Hopwood.

Hopwood said that the regional visas have opened up to help combat the number of immigrants to popular cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

This means more companies based in regional Australia will be looking to attract skilled migrants to help boost these areas and fill skilled positions.

“Contrary to what most people believe, regional Australia is not all bush and outback. Over eight million people currently live in these regions, which are made up of towns and small cities,” Hopwood said.

“Following the increase in the regional visa cap, the government has also updated the list of areas that fall under regional Australia.”

The list of locations include:

  • South Australia;
  • Tasmania;
  • Western Australia;
  • Australian Capital Territory;
  • Victoria (except the Melbourne metropolitan);
  • Queensland (except the greater Brisbane area);
  • Northern Territory;
  • New South Wales (except Sydney).

The type of skills that are in demand vary from region to region. David Coleman, Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, said there are over 60,000 job vacancies in regional Australia.

Occupations in demand are listed on the government’s skilled occupation list.


You can move to Australia on a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) or a Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, said Hopwood.

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)

This visa lets you live and work in a designated regional area in Australia for five years. You can bring your family with you and leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want while your visa remains valid. To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • Have an occupation on the skilled occupation list;
  • Obtain sponsorship from an eligible relative or state or territory government;
  • Be under the age of 45;
  • Meet the points requirements;
  • Meet the English language requirements.

The Skilled Work Regional visa works on a points system and you’ll need to obtain the required points to qualify for a visa. You’ll receive points for meeting the following requirements:

  • 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.

This visa can lead to permanent residency once you’ve lived in Australia for the required period and met the qualifying criteria.

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

The subclass 494 visa allows you to live and work in Australia for five years. To be eligible for this visa you must be nominated by an Australian employer and work for this employer when you move to regional Australia.

You must also have an occupation that’s on the eligible skilled occupations list and satisfy the English language requirement.

Read: The best places to retire in 2020 – where couples can live comfortably for less than R25,000 a month

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Australia has made more skilled worker visas available – here’s what you need to know