Australia is one of the most popular study destinations for international students. With world-class universities, multicultural cities, and a high quality of living, it’s easy to see why. For those who want to extend their stay in the country after graduation, the 491 visa might be the perfect option. In this article, we’ll give you the 411 on this visa – what it is, who qualifies, and how to apply.
What is the 491 visa?
The 491 visa is a points-based visa that allows skilled workers and their families to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia for up to five years. It is designed to encourage migration to areas outside of major cities, where there is a shortage of skilled workers.
The visa is a provisional one, which means that you need to meet certain requirements before you can apply for permanent residency. After living and working in a regional area for at least three years, you can apply for a permanent residency visa, such as the subclass 191 visa.
Who qualifies for the 491 visa?
To be eligible for the 491 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
You must be under 45 years of age at the time of application.
2. Skills assessment
You must have a positive skills assessment for an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list. You must also have at least three years of work experience in your nominated occupation.
3. English language proficiency
You must meet the English language proficiency requirement. This can be done by providing evidence of a valid English language test score, such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE.
4. Points test
You must score at least 65 points on the points test. Points are awarded based on factors such as age, English language proficiency, work experience, education level, and other related factors.
5. Nomination by a regional government or eligible relative
Before you can apply for the 491 visa, you must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or an eligible relative who lives in a designated regional area.
6. Health and character requirements
You must meet the health and character requirements set by the Australian government. This includes a medical examination and a police clearance certificate.
What are the benefits of the 491 visa?
Living and working in regional areas can offer many benefits, including a lower cost of living, a relaxed lifestyle, and access to beautiful natural scenery. The 491 visa also offers the following benefits:
1. Priority processing
Applications for the 491 visa are given priority processing, which means that you may receive a decision faster than with other visa types.
2. Extended stay
The 491 visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to five years, giving you plenty of time to explore the country, build your career, and settle in.
3. Pathway to permanent residency
After living and working in a regional area for three years, you can apply for a permanent residency visa, such as the 191 visa. This can give you greater security and stability in your life in Australia.
How to apply for the 491 visa?
The application process for the 491 visa is as follows:
1. Check eligibility
Before you apply for the visa, make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements. You can use the Department of Home Affairs’ online tool, SkillSelect, to check your eligibility and calculate your points.
You must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or an eligible relative who lives in a designated regional area. Ensure that you have the appropriate nomination letter before you lodge your application.
3. Gather documents
Gather all the necessary documents to support your application, including your skills assessment, English language test results, work experience evidence, identification documents, and more.
4. Lodge application
Submit your application online using the Department of Home Affairs’ website. Pay the visa application fee and attach all the required documents.
5. Wait for a decision
Most applications are processed within a few months, and you will be notified of the outcome in writing.
In conclusion, the 491 visa offers a great opportunity for skilled workers and their families to live and work in regional areas of Australia. With its many benefits, such as priority processing, extended stay, and a pathway to permanent residency, it’s definitely worth considering. If you’re interested in applying for the visa, make sure to check your eligibility, gather all the required documents, and apply online through the Department of Home Affairs’ website.