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What is the Family-Sponsored Skilled Work Regional Visa – Subclass 491?

A provisional and temporary visa for interested applicants is termed as Family Sponsored Skilled Work Regional Visa Subclass 491 is. For living and working in a designated regional area in Australia. This visa is offered to those who have an eligible family member who can sponsor their visa.

Why an Australian visa is the most desired visa?

Australia is one of the most desired and beautiful immigration destinations in the world. Every year the Australian government grants a good number of visas for interested candidates.

In 2015 the number of Australian PR visa holders was about 1.9 lakh visas. The only purpose of the government for the introduction of this program is to support the growing economy of the country. Australian had introduced this program to meet their needs of labor and people who can prove to be a good workforce and help the country’s economy to expand.

The majority of people migrating to Australia have about 70% are skilled migrants and about 30% of those people are their joining relatives.

The top countries whose citizens travel frequently to Australia are

  1. India
  2. China
  3. The UK.

There are many different programs developed by the country which allow their visitors and candidates who wish to work and stay in Australia.

You can also check the list of the most popular Australian visas:

  1. Visitors visa
  • Electronic travel authority- subclass 601
  • eVisitor- subclass 651
  • transit visitor- subclass 771
  • visitor-subclass 600
  • work and holiday visas- subclass 462
  • working and holiday visas- subclass 417
  • Studying and training visas
  • Student visa-subclass 500. Student Guardian visas-subclass 590
  • Training visa-subclass 407
  • Family and partner visas
  • Adoption visa-subclass 102
  • Aged Dependent Relative visa-subclass 114
  • Aged Dependent Relative visa -subclass 838
  • Aged Parent visa -subclass 804)
  • Career visa-subclass 836
  • Career visa-subclass 116
  • Child visa -subclass 101
  • Child visa -subclass 802
  • Contributory Aged Parent visa -subclass 884
  • Contributory Aged Parent visa-subclass 864
  • Contributory Parent Temporary visa – subclass 173
  • Contributory Parent visa -subclass 143
  • Dependent Child visa -subclass 445
  • New Zealand visa for Citizen Family Relationship (temporary) – subclass 461
  • Orphan Relative -subclass 117
  • Orphan Relative -subclass 837
  • Parent visa -subclass 103
  • Partner (Provisional and Migrant) visa -subclass 309 and subclass 100
  • Partner visa -subclass 820 and subclass 801
  • Prospective Marriage visa -subclass 300
  • Remaining Relative visa- subclass 115
  • Remaining Relative visa -subclass 835
  • Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa – subclass 870


  1. Working and skilled visas
  2. Refugee and humanitarian visas
  3. Other visas
  4. Repealed visas


What are the Pros of a regional Australian visa?

  1. The Australian government has simplified the meaning of regional Australia visa. It is introduced and accepted entirely in every part of Australia, except Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. These three have been re-classed as regional for migratory purposes.
  2. According to this, all the qualified, selected and eligible migrants can come to settle in satellite cities of Australia like Wollongong, Newcastle, or Geelong. Which makes it easy for you to settle near Sydney or Melbourne. You can also consider another option, which is of a lovely city called Gold Coast. It is an hour of drive from Brisbane.
  3. All the Migrants in these regional areas are also eligible for Medicare facilities offered by the government of the country which will lower the cost of living for you and your families in Australia. You can also send you Children to the best school in the city, they will have equal access to public education.


491 Family-Sponsored Visa for Australia 

This visa is one of the most preferred visas for family-sponsored visas. This visa is an open 5-year work visa that can be converted to permanent residency.

The cons of this visa are:

  • There is a small number of these visas issued every year, which makes these visas very difficult to obtain.
  • One of the requirements of this visa is that your relatives should be living in the regional area. If your family member or relative are living in the major cities, then they cannot be your sponsor for this visa.
  • Another requirement is that you should pass one skill assessment in any occupation of your choice on the MLTSSL.


Who are the Eligible Sponsor

Your family members living in Australia can sponsor your visa and even your permanent residence i.e. your PR Australia visa for the future.

  • Your sponsor must be 18 years old and above.
  • It is preferred that the sponsor should be a resident in a designated area of Australia.
  • Your sponsor can be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident/ Australian PR holder, or can also be an eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Your sponsor can be your relative or your spouse eligible relative


What are the 491 Visa Requirements?

  • You should have a Positive Skill Assessment for any occupation mentioned on the MLTSSL
  • Age should be between 18
  • You must have a minimum of 6 in IELTS or another English assessment test
  • You must be a holder of approved passports of your country.
  • You should have an eligible relative living in a designated regional area .n Australia.
  • Health and character requirements must be met.
  • The Minimum of PR points required for an eligible candidate is 65 points in the skilled migration points test

There is a very limited number of visas available for this category 

The difficulty with this visa is just that even after having an eligible family member, who is willing to sponsor your visa, even then there is very little possibility of getting an Australian visa. This is because there is a limited number of 491 Family Sponsored visas issued every year.

This makes it tough for getting your visa sanctioned

Also, points for the 491 visa are tested and it is important to pass the skill assessment before you apply for the listed occupation. This is because 491 Australia visa is popular, to be eligible you need to have at least 90 – 95 points to get an invitation to apply and complete the procedure for the visa.

There you also see much lesser competition for applicants who apply for 491 – State Nominated Stream visas and these candidates often receive an invitation with much lesser points.

The Department of Home Affairs approves your sponsorship before you become eligible for the Australian visa.

The NSW government has completely changed and controlled the Regional Development Authorities (RDA’s) from looking after the regional family-sponsored 491 visas.

From January 2020, the New South Wales State Government will directly take care of the processing.

This is a very big change made in the last decade. This makes specific regional areas have all the control of who has sponsored a visa to the regions they take care of. Also, some regions like Orana, have become very specific in their sponsorship requirements and they are now regularly changing them without any notice.

You can get Immigration advice and assistance

If you meet all the requirements for applying for this visa then you should have a legal consultation or an immigration lawyer.

The purpose of this type of approach is to get good consultation and analyze your details and make sure you do not face any problem in the future concerning visa and then getting the Australian PR visa subsequently.

How will my 491 visas lead to permanent residency in Australia?

The 491 expires in five-year. This visa might help you to apply for the permanent residence visa through the Subclass 191, Permanent Residence, or Skilled Regional visa.

If you wish to apply for the permanent visa you should meet the following requirements:

  1. While holding a 491 visa, you must have lived, worked, or studied in the designated regional area in Australia for about three years at least.
  2. You have to show your earnings of at least $53,900 per year for the subsequent three years. If you and your spouse, anyone of you are having a 491 regional sponsored visa, then you can show your three years’ annual income through tax returns for the Australian PR visa.


Do I have to receive an invitation before I apply for the 491 visas?

Yes, you have to get your nomination approved to apply for this 491 visa. If you fail to get your nomination approved by either the state/regional area or an eligible relative, you are not eligible to apply for this visa.

If I am 45 years old or older can I apply for the Australian 491 visa?

If you 45 years old or older you cannot apply for this visa. But you can consider applying for a 482 visa or DAMA if you are looking for permanent residency.

Is the 491 Family-Sponsored Visa for Australia permanent?

The 491 visa is not a permanent one. It is rather a temporary or provisional visa which allows you to work for 5 years in the regional area of Australia. However, a candidate who has a work experience of 3 more years can be able to get transition onto the permanent 191 visas.

Am I apply eligible for another visa while holding the 491 visas?

Recently the government has made policy changes. One of which is to stop 491 visa holders from shifting to other areas in the country after receiving the 491 visas. The responsible body for immigration has placed restrictions on exactly what visas you can apply when you are holding the 491 visas.

491 visa holders cannot apply for the 189, 190, 186, or 820 visas + many more.

Also, if you do not have work experience of working in a regional area for 3 or more years than you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for the 191 Australian PR visa. You can move from one regional area to another regional area.

Can I include all my family members when I apply for the 491 regional visas?

You can include anyone from your family, on the 491 visas including your spouse/partner and dependent parents/children.

What kind of jobs can I apply for the skill assessment test on the 491 visas?

Each state or regional area has a specific list of jobs that are in demand in the country and you can only apply to those jobs for the 491 visas. You to check the individual state or regional occupation lists to find the list of occupations in demand in that area.

Top six jobs to get an Australian permanent residency?

This year for immigration planning in Australia, Over 17,000 visas are reserved for registered nurses from all around the world. Also, only 276 places are invited to apply for a PR Australian visa under the Skilled Independent category that too only until December this year. Many applicants also apply under other visa categories including – employer-sponsored category, state, and territory nominated and skilled regional category, and many more

Will I be eligible for a Medicare facility if I am a holder of a 491 visa?

If your 491 Australian sponsored visa replaces the 489 visas than under the Australian 489 visa, applicants have no access to Medicare facility offered by the government which means they will have to bear all their medical treatment charges independently. But also considering the new changes in the program for Australian 491 visa holders. They will be able to get all the hospital charges waved and hence will have some or all their expenses covered by Medicare facility of the country.

There are some most in-demand occupations for a 491 visa, where very few people have applied for a visa under these occupations and if you have these skills it would become much simpler to get a visa sectioned.

  • There are about 8,624 places for electricians,
  • About 8,052 places for secondary school teachers,
  • About 8,536 vacant places each year for carpenters and joiners,
  • About 7,007 places for metal fitters and machinists
  • And about 6,399 places for motor mechanics

Hence, mentioned above points are some of the most in-demand occupations. Only a few people are invited to apply for a visa under these occupations.


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