The subclass 494- Skilled Employer Regional visa enables regional employers in designed regional areas to sponsor international qualified skilled workers to address labour shortages within their region.

This assists Australian regional employer where employers can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker.

Designated regional areas are all parts of Australia outside of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The Designated regional postcodes cover all regional specified areas that enable employers to sponsor international skilled workers.

The subclass 494 also allows visa holders to work, live and study in only specific regional areas of Australia for up to 5 years. The visa holder can make an application for permanent residency after 3 years.

Do you qualify for a visa?

Eligibility criteria for visa applicants:

  • Age under 45 at time of application
  • Evidence of Competent English at time of application
  • You must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least 3 years  on a full-time basis and at the skill level required for the nominated occupation

*Equivalent part-time work may be considered, but causal work is strictly not considered by Department of Home Affairs.

Including Family members in the visa application

You can bring your family with you but you need to include them on you 494 visa application when you submit it or add a dependent child before it is granted.

All family members must also meet the character and health requirements. If any of your family members are not included on your visa application, you may need to give a valid reason.

Employer eligibility

For your employer to be eligible to nominate you for a 494 visa they must be an approved standard business sponsor in a designated regional area.

To qualify as a sponsor, the requirements your employer must meet include:

  • Paying you a salary that is in accordance with the Australian market and your contract must meet Fair Work Australia conditions.
  • Establishing and providing evidence they cannot fill the position with someone from Australia and need to employ someone from overseas.
  • Being able to demonstrate a commitment to training.
  • Being a genuine, full-time position that is likely to be ongoing for five years.
  • Showing evidence, such as financials, the business is currently operating legally in Australia.
  • Paying a Skilling Australian Fund levy at the time of nomination. The current cost is around:
    • $3,000 for a business turning over less than $10 million a year.
    • $5,000 for a business turning over more than $10 million a year.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Generally you should be under 45 years old when making an application but there are exemptions which include being nominated as a:

  • Senior academic by an Australian university.
  • Technical specialist, researcher or scientist by an Australian scientific government agency.
  • Doctor and worked for at least two years in regional Australia and hold a subclass 458 or 482 visa.

You may also be exempt if you have a New Zealand citizen’s family member subclass 461 or subclass 444 visa and worked for the nominating employer for a minimum of two years out of the last three years.

Applying for a subclass 494 visa

You can apply for the subclass 494 visa from inside or outside of Australia. For your application to be valid when you are already in Australia, you must have either a bridging visa A, B or C, or a substantive visa..

Subclass 494 visa costs

There are costs for health checks, police clearances and English language tests.

The 494 visa costs $4,045 for the main applicant and:

  • $1,010 for every dependent under 18 years old.
  • $2,025 for every dependent over 18 years old.
  • $4,890 for any dependent over 18 years old who cannot speak English competently. This is known as the second instalment.

How long does the 494 visa process take?

Processing times for the 494 visa varies and depends on a number of things, including:

  • Whether your application is complete and has all the supporting documents attached when lodging it.
  • How long it takes to check your supporting documentation.
  • How long it takes for you to supply additional documentation when it is requested.

Once a 494 visa is granted

You must start working for only your nominating employer and occupation within 90 days of entering Australia if you applied from overseas, or from the date the visa is granted if already in Australis.

Once your 494 visa is granted, you and your family must adhere to all the visa conditions and laws in Australia.

Your visa can be cancelled if you do not comply with these requirements.

Subclass 494 Visa Skills List

The following is a snapshot of the regional occupations on the 491 visa skills list.

Item Number Occupation ANZSCO Codes
1. Cotton Grower 121211
2. Horse Breeder 121316
3. Sales and Marketing Manager 131112
4. Corporate Services Manager 132111
5. Policy and Planning Manager 132411
6. Wholesaler 133312
7. Production Manager (Manufacturing) 133512
8. Procurement Manager 133612
9. Regional Education Manager 134412
10. ICT Project Manager 135112
11. Quality Assurance Manager 139914
12. Caravan Park and Camping Ground Manager 141211
13. Retirement Village Manager 141912
14. Hair or Beauty Salon Manager 142114
15. Technical Writer 212415
16. Finance Broker 222112
17. Financial Investment Adviser 222311
18. Flying Instructor 231113
19. Graphic Designer 232411
20. Dentist 252312
21. Resident Medical Officer 253112
22. Nurse Manager 254311
23. Database Administrator 262111
24. Intellectual Property Lawyer 271214
25. Rehabilitation Counsellor 272114
26. Psychotherapist 272314
27. Interpreter 272412
28. Building Inspector 312113
29 Web Administrator 313113
30. Pet Groomer 361113

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