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    Australia Immigration Update! The Introduction of New Regional Visa That Offers a Route to Permanent Residency

    There have been recent changes to the Australian immigration policies. One of them is the introduction of two new regional visas which will replace existing ones from November 2019.

    The update will be very instrumental to employers and existing or prospective immigrants who want to settle in regions within the country.

    These new regional visas will act as a route to permanent residency after the immigrants have resided in the region for at least three years.  The two new regional permits are as follows:

    1: Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa: this will replace the ongoing 489 class as from the 16th of November 2019. It has a regulated intake of about 14,000 immigrants each year. It falls under the skilled category, and applicants will be accessed based on a point system.

    To be eligible for this category, you must have been nominated by the state government or by a relative who is a permanent resident of that particular region in Australia. Also, you must be at least 45 years of age with a positive skill assessment result.

    2: Subclass 494 Skilled Employer-Sponsored: this will replace the 187 subclasses starting from the 16th of November, 2019. One of the vital criteria is for the applicant to be at least 45 years of age and should be sponsored by an employer.

    Other relevant requirements include a skill assessment result, minimum of 3 years of skilled work experience and proficiency in the English language. The total intake per year is set at 9,000.

    These new visa programs will confer on successful applicants, a permit that is valid for five years. The government has also made necessary regulations that will ensure that visa holders live, work, and study within the designated region (condition 8579).

    Also, if an employer sponsors the applicant, he or she will only be eligible to work in the specified job role.

    However, beneficiaries of the new provisional visas can move within regional areas except for Sydney, Melbourne, Gold coast, Brisbane, and Perth.

    Moreover, for the temporary visa holders to apply for other skilled immigration programs in Australia, they must have stayed for at least three years in the assigned region.

    Hence, the new permanent residency visa will be the Subclass 191 (skilled regional). However, to secure the PR, from November 2022, the applicant must be an existing holder of the subclass 491 or 494 for a minimum of three years and satisfy other required conditions.

    What are the repercussions of these changes on existing regional Visas?

    Sequel to this development, the subclass 187 and 489 will no longer be available after the 15th of November, 2019. Nevertheless, the government will put necessary measures in place regarding existing applications under the current visa class that has not been decided as at the commencement of the new program.

    Also, they will create a synergy of application for candidates who are aiming for the Permanent Skilled Regional Visa (PSRV 887).

    Our Analysis:

    Although the new changes will not commence until November, relevant applicants and sponsors can make their applications without further delay, especially subclass 187. This is because of the time frame and the necessary RCB processing.

    The new visa classes are a significant improvement to the current ones. Besides, it will help employers in a specific region of Australia to invite and hold-on to skilled employees for a longer duration.

    Aside from that, employers must be willing to abide by the provisions of this visa, since they will act as sponsors for these skilled migrants.

    We, however, are always available to guide candidates who are willing to migrate to Australia from Qatar with up-to-date policies.

    The Department have also revealed the timeline for the end of the Regional provisional Subclass 489 visa. Below is the scheduled timeline:

    Processing for applications that were made before the 16th November 2019 benchmark date will continue.

    If you require additional information regarding the latest skilled occupations list or you want to assess the appropriate visa subclass for you, please send an email to [email protected] or speak with a certified Australian immigration consultant in Doha.