Are you reviewing your options to live and work in Australia and are you open to working in smaller cities and/or rural or remote areas? Or are you a business that has regional operations or labour needs in Australian cities other than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane? You may be interested to know that Australia’s Regional Visas are generally available for use in most locations outside the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Some Regional Visas also provide Permanent Residence options, enabling businesses to retain global talent, and providing visa applicants greater certainty of staying in Australia.
A Regional Visa may be suitable for individuals who want to live and work in remote or rural areas – but also for metropolitan areas. For example, under the Government’s current classification of a Designated Regional Area for visa and migration purposes, cities like Perth are eligible areas for the regional migration program. Here’s a summary of some of Australia’s Regional Visas below.
Provisional Skilled Regional Visas – 494 Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa and 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa
The 494 Regional Visa allows skilled workers to be sponsored by an employer in designated regional areas of Australia. It provides a 5 year visa period with provisional access to Permanent Residence. 494 visa holders have a direct pathway to apply for the 191 Permanent Visa after meeting specific requirements.
The 491 Visa is another regional provisional visa. It does not require an employer-sponsor and also provides a 5 year visa period. The visa allows people to be nominated by a State or Territory Government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia. Similar to the 494 Visa, the 491 Visa also provides provisional access to Permanent Residence.
Permanent Skilled Regional Visas – 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa, 191 Visa from November 2022 and the 887 Skilled Regional Visa
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) 187 Visa requires the applicant to be sponsored by their employer. This visa is currently closed to new applications, however, the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the RSMS visa is still open to transitional 457 or Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) workers.
The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) 191 Visa may be available to holders of the 494 and 491 provisional visas, and they will need to show they have lived and worked in regional Australia for 3 years.
The 887 Skilled Regional Visa is a Permanent Residence visa option for people who have lived and worked in a regional area on a previous, eligible visa such as a 489, 495, 496, 475 or 487 Visa or some Bridging Visas.
Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA’s)
A DAMA is an agreement negotiated between the Department of Home Affairs for the Commonwealth and a regional state or territory authority, such as a local council, to cover a specific regional area. It is usually available for a period of 5 years. It allows regional employers to sponsor employees in different occupations than standard skilled visa programs. This includes semi-skilled occupations or skills not classified under ANZSCO. DAMA’s can also provide concessions or exemptions – for example on an applicant’s level of English or on the minimum salary level required for an occupation. DAMA arrangements are designed to provide businesses greater access to visa sponsorship for the particular skills needed in regional areas.
Working Holiday Maker Visas and Pacific and Seasonal Work Visas – Work and Holiday 462 Visa, Working Holiday 417 Visa, Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) – Pacific Labour scheme and the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) – Seasonal Worker Program, Agriculture Visa (to be established)
These visas are not specifically regional visas but they are designed to allow young people from certain countries to do short-term work in Australia, which may include work in the agricultural or hospitality industries. Different visas may be available to you based on your country of citizenship. Some visa holders may be eligible to extend their stay by applying for further seasonal work visas if they meet the requirements to do so. While these visas may not be limited to work in specific areas, they are commonly used for seasonal work in rural and remote areas.
Temporary Graduate 485 Visa – Post Study Work Stream
This visa is available to people who hold a first Temporary Graduate 489 Post-Study Work Stream Visa and who have graduated from a CRICOS registered education provider in a designated regional area and wish to continue living in a designated regional area.
Understanding which Regional Visa is most suitable for your migration needs can be difficult when engaging overseas skilled employees or if you are intending to travel or migrate to Australia. We would usually recommend a consultation in the first instance so that our migration agent can assess your circumstances and eligibility and advise which pathway may be most suitable. This would involve an assessment of the applicant’s skills and experience and the nature of the required work.
You may wish to seek the expert advice of Migration Agents in Australia. Get in touch with Interstaff’s team of registered and experienced Migration Agents by completing the form below. Interstaff has helped thousands of individuals and families migrate to Australia since 1988. We can help applicants successfully come to Australia under a Regional Visa and assist businesses with their migration needs. Simply contact our team or call us on 1800 449 858.
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Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA’s) are agreements between the Department of Home Affairs and a Regional State or Territory authority that provide an alternative option to sponsor overseas workers to work in regional Australia for up to 5 years. Employers must apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a Labour Agreement under the terms of the DAMA and make a request for the particular occupations they need and the concessions they wish to take advantage of.
If you are a business that needs to engage overseas employees, here’s a 4-minute explainer video on how you may be able to benefit from a DAMA.
The Regional 494 Visa Australia provides businesses in Perth, the Gold Coast and regional/remote areas greater flexibility to sponsor overseas skilled employees with a direct pathway to Permanent Residence. The application process for 494 Visa Australia requires mandatory Skills Assessment and Regional Certifying Body (RCB) approval in addition to the 494 visa nomination and visa sponsorship. Here’s what you need to know about the new Regional 494 Visa in a 5-minute explainer video.
The 494 Regional Visa Australia provides businesses in Perth, the Gold Coast and regional/remote areas greater flexibility to sponsor overseas talent and retain future employees. How does the 494 Visa Australia compare to the commonly used 482 Visa? Which is more advantageous? Here are our insights in a 5-minute explainer video.
Sheila Woods is the Managing Director of Interstaff and a Registered Migration Agent with more than 15 years of experience in the migration industry. With an extensive understanding of the Australian immigration system, Sheila partners with employers to advise on global mobility matters for corporate migration projects, complex case work and labour agreement negotiations.
Interstaff is an established migration consultancy specialising in skilled migration matters and has been operating for over 30 years since 1988. MARN: 0533879.
Please note, this content is intended to provide general information only – current at the time of first publication. The contents do not constitute migration advice. Migration advice should be sought for your particular matters so that your personal circumstances can be considered. In Australia, Registered Migration Agents must operate under the Code of Conduct.
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