Visa 494 is a type of sponsored work visa for overseas employees. This visa allows Australian businesses to sponsor skilled employees to fill in a labour shortage within their specific region. For your 494 visa, you must be eligible to work, highly skilled and the nominated position cannot be filled by an Australian worker.
Employer Sponsored Regional Visa 494 Streams
Visa 494 has three streams available depending on what type of visa suits you the best:
- Employer Sponsored Stream. For this stream, your employer can nominate you for any type of work as long as it’s listed in the skilled occupation list. You can find the full list here.
- Labour Agreement Stream. A labour agreement stream is suitable for you if your employer is a part of the labour agreements. These agreements are arrangements between the Australian government and employers that make it easier for overseas workers to get a visa for Australia when visa options are limited.
- Subsequent Entrant. This stream is not for you, but for your family members who apply for the visa after you’ve been granted a visa 494. Your family members can apply to join later in Australia with a subsequent entrant stream.
Visa 494 Document Checklist
Submit these documents when you want to apply for a visa 494:
- Identification Card.
- Skill Assessment and Qualifications.
- Proof of Competent Level of the English Language.
- Documents Proving Your Good Character.
- If you are bringing your partner or spouse with you:
- Their identity documents
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce papers (if applicable)
- Proof of registered relationship
- Proof that they have a functional level of English
- If you are bringing other family members with you:
- Identity documents
- Character documents
- Proof of other relationships (if applicable)
- Proof of dependency (if applicable)
- Form 47a
- Helping forms:
494 Visa Employer Document Checklist
To nominate you for visa 494, your employer must submit a number of documents:
- Your identity documents. Your employer must provide your full name, date of birth, transaction reference number, visa grant number for any visa that you have or held, and any similar relevant documents.
- Your employment contract. Your contract must be signed by both you and the employer- unless exemptions apply.
- Proof of labour market testing. Labour market testing has to do with testing whether the position cannot truly be field by an Australian citizen. Your employer is obligated to submit proof that they have tested the market by advertising the open position- if they don’t submit labour market proof their nomination will not be accepted.
- Evidence that the position is genuine. Your employer should submit proof that the nominated position exists and they must clearly state the duties and responsibilities you will be doing.
- Labour agreement documents. These documents will be required if your employer is a part of the labour agreements and you are applying for the labour agreement stream.
Visa 494 Eligibility Criteria
For a visa 494 you must:
- Be under 45 years of age at the time of application. You may be exempt from this requirement in some circumstances.
- Be nominated by an eligible employer. Your employer must have a legitimate business in Australia to nominate you for visa 494.
- Have related skills and experience. You must show that you have the required skills and experience to work in the nominated position.
- Have a positive skills assessment. The skills assessment is conducted by qualifying individuals before your application- you may not be required to submit a skills assessment in some cases.
- Be working under a labour agreement. If you are applying for the labour agreement stream, you must be working in the position as specified by the labour agreement.
There are a few exemptions to the eligibility criteria for a 494 visa:
- You are exempt from the age requirement if:
- You were nominated for a position at an educational institution (faculty head or lecturer at an Australian university).
- You are nominated as a health care worker, and you have been working with a visa 457, or a visa 482, the same occupation for at least 3 years before your application (two years employed in regional Australia).
- You are nominated by an Australian scientific agency or university to work as a scientist, research or technical specialist with an ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2. The ANZSCO code is used to categorize eligible occupations with the skills required to work in that occupation.
- You held a special visa 444 or a visa subclass 461 for at least three years before applying for a visa 495- you worked for your employer during this period for at least two years.
- You had a visa 457 or a subclass 482 for at least three years immediately before applying for a visa 494.
- You worked in your nominated occupation for the same sponsor who nominated you for visa 457 or 482.
- During the time you worked under a visa 457 or a visa 482, you earned at least as much as AUD158,500 annually.
- You are exempt from the skills assessment if:
- You already have a visa 457 or a visa 482 and you were required to undergo a skills assessment.
- You are nominated for an academic position.
- You have a visa 444 or a visa subclass 461.
Visa 494 Sponsor Eligibility
Your sponsor must also meet several eligibility requirements to nominate you for a 494 visa:
- They are a standard business sponsor or have applied to become one (see the eligibility criteria).
- Your sponsor must provide evidence that they were unable to find an Australian employee for the position.
- Your employer must be able to pay you at least AUD250,000, if they don’t, they must be able to provide the annual salary rate.
- Your sponsor must pay the Skillings Fund Levy, the amount of which varies according to the business size and the length of employment
- Your sponsor must have a current labour agreement in place if you are applying for the labour agreement stream.
494 Visa Application Process
You apply for a 494 visa by following these steps:
- You are nominated.
- You apply for the visa.
You Are Nominated
Your sponsor must first make a valid nomination for you to be able to apply for a visa 494. They have to submit a nomination application via the ImmiAccount and they will receive a transaction reference number.
For a labour stream visa, if your sponsor is not a part of the labour agreements, they must make an application to be a part of the agreements before they can nominate you for the visa.
You Apply for the Visa
Once a nomination has been approved, you can apply for visa 494 via the ImmiAccount. When you finish attaching your documents, you must pay the application or your visa application won’t be processed. You must include the transaction reference number you receive from your sponsor in your application.
How Long Is a Visa 494 Valid for?
Visa 494 is valid only for five years. You cannot extend this visa, but you may apply for permanent residence after three years if you meet the eligibility criteria.
494 Visa Fees
A 494 visa costs AUD4,045. In addition to this fee, you are also required to pay additional fees for every applicant that applies with you- see the full fees here.
You must also pay an amount of AUD4,890 for each family member over 18 who cannot prove they have a functional English proficiency level.
Can I Bring My Family Members With a Visa 494?
You can bring your family members with a visa 494. If for some reason, your partner or children cannot apply with you at the same time you must state the reason why, when you apply for your visa. Additionally, your family members can join you at a later date by applying for a subsequent entrant visa 494.
Can I Study With a Visa 494?
You can freely study during the time your 494 visa is valid, but you can do so only in specific regional areas of Australia.
Which Areas Can I Work in With a 494 Visa?
You can only work in regional Australia- that includes all of Australia except for:
Can I Get a Permanent Residence With a Visa 494?
You may be eligible for a permanent residence visa after three years of living under visa 494 in Australia.
If you held your 494 visa for less than three years, you cannot apply for the following visas:
- Business Talent-Subclass 132
- Employer Nomination Scheme- Subclass 186
- Business Innovation and Investment Provisional- Subclass 188
- Skilled Independent- Subclass 189
- Skilled Nominated- Subclass 190
- Distinguished talent- Subclass 858
- Partner visa- Subclass 820
494 Visa Conditions
You must start working 90 days after your visa is granted or after you enter Australia (if you applied outside of the country). You can only work for the employer who nominated you only in regional Australia. Moreover, you and your family members are obligated to follow Australian laws and regulations during the time you are in Australia with a 494 visa.