The 498 Visa has recently been replaced by the 491 visas.
The 491 visa is similar to the 498 visas and is a points-tested visa. It is for those applicants who are sponsored by:
- A particular region that is belonging to either a state or territory of Australia, or
- A family member who is eligible and resides in the specific area in Australia.
In Australia, what exactly are the “designated regional areas”?
The designated regional area could be any part in Australia other than Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney. For this program, certain cities like Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, and Gold Coast considered being regional areas.
How are the points going to be allocated to the 491 Visa?
For this visa, the points system has been revised and there are a lot of new ways of earning points.
- i) You get 15 points if you are nominated by any family member or any designated regional part
- ii) You will get 10 points for either a Masters’s degree or an Australian qualification equivalent to Ph.D. in particular areas like Engineering, Science, Mathematics, Technology.
iii) You can also earn 10 partner points in case of the following:
- If you have a partner who is skilled – the partner must be below 45 years, have a positive assessment in skills in a job which is in the same list shortlisted just as yours and also is competent in English; or
- You should be single; or
- You must have an Australian citizen or permanent resident as a partner
- You will get 5 points in case your partner can exhibit competency in English. There is no compulsion that the partner has be a skilled worker and can be more than 45 years.
Points will also be applicable depending on the applicant’s qualification, age, English skills, a study in Australia, years of experience in Australia or overseas, which is quite similar to that of 489 visas. The revised system will be applicable to every skilled migration visa.
Why is there a change in partner points?
The Productivity Commission has identified that there should be an assessment of the partners of the skilled migrant or secondary applicants as they also contribute to the Australian economy, community, and workforce. At present, the point system the skills of the partner are not given proper weightage.
When can I apply for the 491 visas?
In order to apply for this visa, the invitation to apply has a ranking system which is as follows:
- Equal first: The Applicant who has a skilled partner or the applicant is single.
- Second: The applicant has a partner who is competent in English but not a skilled worker.
- Third: The Applicant has a partner who cannot demonstrate competency in English and does not have skilled partner points as well.
Can a holder of the 491 visa lodge other visas?
Those who hold a 491 visa are not able to lodge specific visas till they hold the 491 visas for about 3 years and meet all its conditions.
This is inclusive of skilled PR visas which are 189 and 190, the business visas (i.e.124, 132 as well as 188), the PR visa nominated by the employer (i.e.186) and the visa 820 which is the onshore partner visa.
Do the 491 visas finally lead to permanent residency? If yes, how?
This visa is for 5 years. You could get permanent residence visa Subclass 191 in case you meet the following:
- You have either lived, studied or worked for a minimum of 3 years in a designated regional area while holding the 491 visa, and
- You can exhibit annual earnings of a minimum of $53,900 for three years. If, in case, you have a partner who is part of the 491 visa application, either of you will have to exhibit the annual salary for 3 years via tax returns (which must be $53,900 or above).
What will happen to those who are holding the 489 visas right now and those who will lodge the 489 visa before the implementation of the change?
The Current holders of 489 visa (inclusive of those who lodge this visa before 16 November 2019) will have the PR pathway via the 887 visas.