Please be aware that as of 16 November 2019, the Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa has been replaced by a new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa. This new visa has a five-year term and provides a pathway to permanent residence with a new Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, which will be introduced from 16 November 2022.

Applications under the Second Provisional Visa stream of the Subclass 489 visa continue to be accepted. To qualify under this stream, you must hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa at time of lodgement of your application. Be aware that these visa subclasses are no longer being granted by the Department of Home Affairs.

The changes also do affect the Subclass 887 Skilled (Regional) visa permanent residence visa pathway, which continues to be available to eligible subclass 489 visa holders.

For further information about these changes, please see the following articles:

New Skilled Regional Visas to be introduced

Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa

Further Regulations released for the new regional sponsored visas to commence from 16 November 2019

Why should you consider SA skilled regional sponsorship visa as a pathway to live the Australian dream 

The regional state sponsorship programme enables eligible applicants to be nominated by a state or territory government, or be sponsored by a relative who resides in a designated area, for a skilled visa to Australia. The Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 is a 4-year temporary visa which provides a pathway to permanent residence. If you meet specified requirements once 2 years have passed after grant of your subclass 489 visa, you may be eligible to apply for a Skilled Regional subclass 887 visa, a permanent residence visa. To qualify for the subclass 887 visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have lived in a specified area of Australia for 2 years and that you have worked full-time (35 hour per week) for 1 year during the period when you held your subclass 489 visa (or whilst you held a Bridging Visa (Subclass 010 or 020) that was granted when you made a valid application for the subclass 489 visa).

As a subclass 489 visa holder, you are permitted to live, work and study in a prescribed part of Australia for a period of 4 years. If you a nominated by a state or territory government, you will be restricted to a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area, whereas if you are sponsored by an eligible relative, this will be a designated area of Australia. Specific postcodes are prescribed in the migration provisions for this purpose. The entire state of South Australia is classified as both a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area and a designated area, which means that you can live in any part of the state whilst you are in Australia as the holder of a subclass 489 visa, whether you are nominated by the state or are sponsored by an eligible relative.

Eligible family members may apply to accompany you to Australia as dependent visa applicants.

New state sponsorship opportunities in South Australia have also recently been announced, which will be especially beneficial to international student graduates who have completed a qualification in South Australia.

We also point out that the discussion above is in relation to the First Provisional Visa stream (commonly referred to as the invited pathway) of the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489. There is a second stream, namely the Second Provisional Visa stream (also known as the extended stay pathway). To qualify under the Second Provisional Visa stream, you must hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa at time of lodgement of your application. Be aware that these visa subclasses are no longer being granted by the Department. In this article we focus on the First Provisional Visa stream. If you are interested in applying for a subclass 489 visa under the Second Provisional Visa stream, please seek further information and advice.

Before we continue our discussion on why you should consider South Australia as a pathway to permanent residence in Australia, it is important to note that if you are willing to commit to living in South Australia for at least 2 years, another option you could consider is a Skilled Nominated subclass 190 visa. This is a permanent residence visa which, like the subclass 489 visa discussed above, is state and territory government nominated, but it does not restrict you to living, working and studying in only regional parts of Australia.  Therefore, it is open to all participating state and territory governments in Australia. In the case of South Australia, both the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 and Skilled Nominated subclass 190 visa options are available. Nominations under this visa programme for South Australia are administered by Immigration South Australia (SA), the same state government agency which oversees the regional state sponsorship nomination approval process discussed above.

Please note that the Skilled Regional (Provisional) subclass 489 will be replaced with a Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa commencing from 16th November 2019)

Why should you consider a South Australian skilled regional sponsorship visa as a pathway to live the Australian dream?

You may ask, why choose South Australia for skilled regional sponsorship? What sets South Australia apart from other parts of Australia?

South Australia offers a mix of a relaxed lifestyle, diverse landscape and opportunities for you and your family to experience. It is a state which offers employment opportunities and highly regarded educational institutions at all levels, from primary and secondary school to universities. It is also generally more affordable to live in South Australia, especially in regional areas. Median house prices and rents are generally lower than in some other parts of Australia, allowing you to save more of your money.

South Australia offers a rich cultural experience, as a producer of premium food and wine. Unique landscapes also mean you and your family can explore the diverse sights and sounds of this unique part of the world. Playing and watching sport is a popular activity in South Australia, particularly in regional parts of the state. This provides a great opportunity to get involved in your local community. Safety is also a priority for the state, which means you can feel secure for yourself and your family.

Convenience and ease of getting around are another plus of living in South Australia, with a variety of transport options available to get you moving and to your destination as quickly as possible. A top healthcare system with superior medical professionals and facilities also means you can rest assured that if or a family member gets sick, high quality care is available.

Regional areas in South Australia add another dimension to this great state, with a combination of bush, coastal and outback areas for you to see and explore. These areas also offer diverse lifestyle options should you choose to settle in country South Australia

As a subclass 489 visa holder, you will also have access to information and support services provided by the South Australian State Government to assist you to settle and find.

How can you qualify for a South Australian Regional State Sponsorship visa?

To be eligible to apply for a Regional State Sponsorship visa in South Australia, you will need to satisfy Immigration requirements governing the lodgement and grant of the subclass 489 visa, in addition to the requirements for nomination approval, as set by Immigration SA. We recommend that you refer to our article 489 Visa SA (South Australia) for comprehensive information on the valid visa application lodgement and grant requirements as well as nomination criteria for approval by Immigration SA. We also discuss the process for how to apply, and the costs and approximate processing times for nomination approval and visa grant.

Applying for a subclass 489 visa consists of the following 3 steps:

  • The first step is to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department. An EOI is not a visa application but rather, conveys to Immigration that you would like to apply for the subclass 489 visa. It is important to be aware that submitting an EOI will not result in the grant of a Bridging Visa. Therefore, if you intend to lodge your EOI in Australia, you will need to carefully consider the timing of this to ensure that you hold a valid visa at that time. 
  • At the same time as submitting your EOI, you must also separately apply to Immigration SA for nomination approval. You will need to meet the nomination requirements as set by the South Australian government, in addition to the requirements that must be satisfied for visa approval by the Department, to receive nomination approval. Be aware that each State and Territory Government sets their own requirements for granting nomination approval, and sometimes these can be more extensive than those prescribed by the Department (for example, you may need to achieve a higher English language competency or have a certain minimum amount of skilled work experience to qualify for state nomination).
  • If your EOI and nomination applications are approved, you will be invited to apply for the subclass 489 visa, which you must lodge with Immigration within 60 days.

The requirements to be satisfied in order to qualify for a subclass 489 visa include achieving a minimum score of 65 in a prescribed points test. You must also nominate a skilled occupation on a specified skilled occupation list and obtain a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation. You may need to obtain registration, membership or licencing in your occupation before you can work in your nominating state or territory. Other requirements include meeting an English language requirement (which may require you to complete a specified English language test and achieve a minimum specified result) and an age-based limit. Health and character criteria also apply.

For South Australian nomination approval, you must also meet a financial capacity requirement, which ensures that you have sufficient funds to settle in the state. If you meet certain additional requirements, you may also have access to an expanded skilled occupation list to qualify for state sponsorship with South Australia.

What is the points test?

The points test consists of several attributes which are each awarded a specified number of points. These include your age, highest qualification held, overseas and Australian skilled employment experience (work experience gained in Australia are awarded higher points), English language and study in regional Australia. One of the added benefits of applying for regional state sponsorship is that you will receive an additional 10 points towards your points test.

Achieving the minimum base score of 65 points does not necessarily mean that you are guaranteed to receive an invitation to apply for the subclass 489 visa. The process for issuing invitations varies, depending on whether you apply for state nomination or if you are seeking to be sponsored by an eligible relative. For the state nominated option, the state or territory government to whom you apply will assess your application in accordance with their own specific nomination requirements and will issue nomination approvals to suitable applicants. Each State and Territory releases data on the number of nomination approvals granted each month. For a summary of the latest results published by the Department (for March 2019 and for the 2018/19 migration year to date) please refer to our article Skill Select Invitation Round – 10 March 2019.

For the family sponsored option, invitations are assessed by Immigration under a separate process, referred to as ‘invitation rounds’ and which occur once per month. The latest invitation round, which took place on 10 March 2019, revealed that applicants needed to achieve at least 85 points to secure an invitation to apply for a family sponsored subclass 489 visa. In addition, only 10 such invitations are being issued each month, making this a highly competitive process for EOI applicants. Further information on the results for the latest invitation round as their apply to the family sponsored option can be viewed in the article referred to above.

We also refer you to a real-life case study, where Pax Migration was able to assist John to obtain state nomination in South Australia approval in 10 days.

Australia’s migrations laws are complex, and each case is different. There are also several terms which are defined in the migration provisions (and whose meanings may differ from their ordinary usage). We recommend that you seek professional advice before you proceed with applying for any visa class, as being fully informed about the process and requirements that apply will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your application, and thus lessen the chance that it will be refused. A migration professional can help you to do this.

For up to date advice on the subclass 489 visa process and requirements, including South Australian State sponsorship, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading migration agent based in Adelaide.

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