Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491)

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Applications closed

RDA offices will begin accepting applications under Pathway 1 and invitation rounds for Pathway 2 will commence shortly after the NSW Skills list is finalised. We cannot provide a timeframe when this will occur at this time.  

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) allows skilled migrants to live, study and work in designated regional areas for a period of 5 years. 

Basic Eligibility

To be eligible for NSW nomination, you must meet the basic criteria outlined below:

Visa

You must meet all requirements set by Home Affairs for this visa subclass.

Skills

Be skilled in an occupation that is:

  • within an ANZSCO unit group identified on the NSW Skilled Work Regional Skills List; AND
  • is eligible for the Skilled Work visa (subclass 491)

Residency

You must be either currently residing in NSW or offshore, and have continuously done so for a minimum period of three months. 

Work experience and point score

You must meet the minimum skilled work experience and point score for your unit group. These are identified on the NSW Skilled Nominated Skills List next to the name of your unit group. 

Nomination Pathways

There are two pathways to NSW nomination for the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491):

Pathway 1 – Apply directly to an RDA office

To apply under this pathway, you must:

  1. Ensure you are eligible for this visa subclass on the Home Affairs website
  2. Confirm you meet the NSW basic eligibility criteria outlined above 
  3. Complete an EOI in SkillSelect and ensure that:
    • all information is accurate
    • your EOI seeks nomination for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 491) and NSW only
  4. Apply directly to the RDA office in the region you wish to live and work in for the first three years after being granted your visa by Home Affairs
  5. Provide evidence for all points claims in your SkillSelect EOI, and where you currently reside, with your application. You must also provide a copy of your SkillSelect EOI

Regional NSW study exemption

You are exempt from the minimum work experience requirement under Pathway 1 if you have completed study in regional NSW within the most recent 24 months before applying to an RDA office; AND your study is related to your nominated (or closely related) occupation; AND your study in regional NSW makes you eligible to claim points for Study in regional Australia.

Pathway 2 – Be invited by Investment NSW

To be considered under this pathway, you must:

  1. Ensure you are eligible for this visa subclass on the Home Affairs website
  2. Confirm you meet the NSW basic eligibility criteria outlined above 
  3. Complete an EOI in SkillSelect and ensure that:
    • all information is accurate
    • your EOI seeks nomination for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 491) and NSW only. 
  4. Be invited to apply during an invitation round. NSW will not issue an invitation to apply for any reason outside the normal functioning of an invitation round. Do not contact our office requesting to be invited
  5. Apply to Investment NSW within 14 days of being invited
  6. Provide evidence for all points claims in your SkillSelect EOI and where you currently reside

Important information about invitation rounds

Invitation rounds occur ongoing throughout the financial year. There are no set dates, and rounds are not announced beforehand. 

We cannot advise the date of upcoming NSW invitation rounds or the likelihood your SkillSelect EOI will be invited by contacting our office. 

Meeting the minimum nomination outlined above in no way guarantees you will be invited to apply for NSW nomination. 

Because being invited to apply is exceptionally competitive, we strongly encourage anyone seeking NSW nomination to explore all other migration pathways and do not wait to be invited by NSW.  

See our Common questions about skilled visas page for answers to a full list of our most commonly received questions. 

Common reasons applications are declined 

Common reasons why applications are declined include where an applicant:

Wasn't eligible to claim all the points in their EOI

It is the responsibility of the EOI owner to ensure they can provide evidence for all the claims in their SkillSelect EOI. Common causes for being declined for this include:

  • Claiming credentialled community language points when your qualification has expired. Your CCL certificate must be valid on the day you are invited to apply by NSW to claim these points
  • Claiming professional year points when you are not eligible. Your professional year must be in your nominated (or closely related) occupation  to claim these points
  • Claiming points for skilled employment before the date you are deemed skilled in your occupation (see below) 

Does not meet the residency requirement

You must be either currently residing in NSW or offshore, and have done so for a minimum period of three months. 

Over-claimed points for employment

If your skills assessment displays a date you have been deemed skilled in your occupation, you cannot claim points for skilled employment before this date. This particularly applies to ACS and most VETASSESS assessments.

If your assessment does not display this date, you cannot claim points for skilled employment before you completed your qualification. 

To ensure you are eligible to accept your NSW invitation, we strongly recommend you confirm you are eligible to claim all the points in your SkillSelect EOI, and that you have only claimed eligible skilled employment. 

If you have claimed points in error, you are not eligible to accept your NSW invitation if invited. There are no exceptions for any reason. 

Important information about providing false documents

NSW participates in the 491 visa program to support its regional economies and communities through the settlement of highly skilled migrants who are committed to living and working in regional NSW long term.

Providing falsified or misleading information to NSW in support of your claims against our nomination criteria is taken very seriously.

Any instances of fraudulent activity will be reported to Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs and/or NSW Police and may result in any nomination being withdrawn and/or visa cancelled. 

Alternative migration pathways

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 are 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

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