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Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491)

A provisional visa for skilled workers. The NSW Government can nominate eligible skilled applicants who will commit to working in critical sectors in regional New South Wales.

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Nomination criteria

You must meet all criteria in one of the following three streams to be eligible for NSW nomination.

Applicants who do not meet the criteria in one of these three streams may be refused unless otherwise agreed with NSW Treasury.

Closely related occupations are defined as those having the same first four digits of a ANZSCO unit group.

A list of NSW regional postcodes is available on the Home Affairs website

Stream 1: Living and working in regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this stream you must: 

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region's occupation list

  • have been living in a designated regional area of NSW for at least the previous 12 months; and 

  • have been working in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, in a designated regional area of NSW, for at least the previous 12 months. 

Stream 2: Recently completed study in regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this stream you must: 

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region's occupation list; 
  • have completed study or education with an education provider, where: 
    • the study was completed within the previous 24 months; 
    • the education provider is in a designated regional area in NSW; 
    • the study meets the Australian study requirement (as determined by Home Affairs); and 
    • the qualification obtained from this study was assessed as closely related to your nominated occupation by the relevant assessing authority; and 
  • have lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study. 

Stream 3: Living and working outside of regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this stream you must meet all the criteria for at least one of the following categories: 

a. Job offer in regional NSW 

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this category you must: 

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region's occupation list

  • have an offer for ongoing employment that is:  

    • in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation; and 

    • for a minimum term of 12 months and at least 35 hours of work per week; 

  • have an offer for ongoing employment from an employer that is: 

    • located in a designated regional area in NSW; and 

    • registered in Australia. 

b. At least five years skilled employment experience (offshore applicants) 

If you reside outside of Australia, you must: 

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region's occupation list; and 

  • have at least five years of skilled employment in such nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation. 

c. Family ties in regional NSW 

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this category you must: 

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region's occupation list; and
  • have an immediate family member in a designated regional area in NSW who satisfies all of the criteria below:
    • is either your grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother or sister (including by virtue of a step or adoptive relationship)
    • at least 18 years of age
    • either an Australian Permanent Resident, an Australian Citizen or a NSW nominated provisional visa holder (489)
    • currently residing in a designated regional area in NSW; and
    • has been residing in a designated regional area in NSW for at least the previous 24 months
    • and you must ensure that your family member has completed a statutory declaration to confirm that they satisfy each of the above chain migration requirements.

Participating regions 

From February 2021, Regional Development Australia (RDA) offices will assist NSW Treasury to manage the subclass 491 visa.

Each RDA office will accept and assess applications, and determine eligible occupations for their respective regions. Nomination criteria is consistent across all regions. 

Information about how to apply will be made available on RDA websites as soon as possible. Links to participating region websites are below.

RDA offices will focus on nominating applicants who are undertaking skilled work in critical sectors. These applicants are a priority for NSW Government in supporting economic recovery following the impacts of COVID-19.

*Designated regional postcodes within the RDA Sydney area are on the Home Affairs website. 

Alternative migration options 

NSW nomination for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) is just one of a number of visa options for prospective skilled migrants. There is a range of visas offered by Home Affairs, including both temporary and permanent employer nominated visas. 

You may also wish to seek advice from a registered migration agent. A list of registered migration agents is available on the Migration Agents Registration Authority website. 

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