A 491 visa is issued to highly skilled workers who want to migrate to Australia for some time. You can apply for this visa if you meet all the eligibility requirements. However, for this visa, you must live and work in regional Australia.
In most cases, regional Australia includes all the states and territories except for Syndey, Melbourne and Brisbane.
What Are the 491 Visa Requirements?
Here are the requirements for a 491 visa:
- Your visa application is invalid without an actual passport, so make sure that your passport is up to date and you can use it for your visa application.
- Identification certificates. You should also submit other identification documents such as your identity card, certificates showing your name change, driver’s license and so on.
- Documents for the character condition. For your character documents, you must submit several certificates showing that you are not under investigation or that you are not convicted of any crimes. You must also attach form 1221 and form 80.
- English language documents. You must have a competent level of English language to get this visa.
- Documents for your skills assessment. You must submit a skill assessment report at the time of application. You can get the skill assessment by contacting the eligible persons that can conduct the assessment for your profession- these persons are listed in the skilled occupation list (see below).
- Sponsor form. In case you are being sponsored, then submit this form completed by your sponsor.
- Proof of sponsor eligibility. You have to submit evidence that your supporter is an eligible sponsor. You can include evidence that they are your family member (if your sponsor is a relative), evidence that they have turned 18, that they are an Australian citizen or that they are a permanent resident.
- Expression of interest documents. When you submit your expression of interest you fill in the information regarding your qualifications, work experience, and responsibilities you have or had. For your visa application, you have to submit documents that support your claims such as your CV, letters of recommendation, graduation certificates, awards and so on.
- Documents for your spouse. If you are bringing your spouse or your de facto partner with you on a visa 491, then you must submit a copy of their identification documents, proof of relationship, character documents, language documents and similar requirements.
- Documents for other family members. If you are taking your minor children with you, or your adult dependent children, you have to provide a copy of their identification documents, a copy of their birth certificate, parental consent form, or a statutory declaration. You should also submit proof of dependency along with form 47a.
- Assistance documents. Submit form 956 and form 956a.
Eligibility Criteria for a 491 Visa
You qualify for a visa 491 if:
- You are under 45 years of age.
- You are nominated for the visa.
- You are invited to apply.
- You have a positive skill assessment.
- You have scored at least 65 points on the score table.
- Your occupation is listed in the skills occupation list.
If you turn 45 before you are invited to apply for the visa, you cannot apply for a 491 visa.
Points Required for a Visa 491
You must have at least 65 points based on these criteria below:
|You are between 18-25 years old||25 points|
|You are between 25-35 years old||30 points|
|You are between 33-40 years old||25 points|
|You are between 40-45 years old||15 points|
|You have a Competent English level||0 points|
|You have a Proficient English level||10 points|
|You have a Superior English level||20 points|
|You have 3 years of work experience (overseas)||0 points|
|You have 3-5 years of work experience (overseas)||5 points|
|You have 5-8 years of work experience (overseas)||10 points|
|You have 8 years and more of work experience (overseas)||15 points|
|You have 1 year of work experience (in Australia)||0 points|
|You have 3 years of work experience (in Australia)||5 points|
|You have 3-5 years of work experience (in Australia)||10 points|
|You have 5-8 years of work experience (in Australia)||15 points|
|You have 8 years and more of work experience (in Australia)||20 points|
|Level of Education|
|You have a PhD from a recognized institution||20 points|
|You have a BA from a recognized institution||15 points|
|You have a Masters by research from a recognized institution||10 points|
|Diploma or trade certification|
|Qualification or award for your relevant occupation||10 points|
|A doctorate with two years of academic study (by an Australian institution)||10 points|
|You meet the Australian study requirement (you have at least 1 degree, diploma or trade certificate from an Australian institution that meets the study requirements)||5 points|
|You completed a professional year in Australia||5 points|
|You have a recognised qualification in a credentialled community language||5 points|
|You have studied for your degree, diploma or certificate in regional Australia for at least a year||5 points|
|Your partner is under 45 years old, they have a competent level of English, have relevant skills, and are nominated in a profession registered in the skilled occupation list.||10 points|
|Your partner has a competent level of English||5 points|
|You are either single or if you are not your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident||10 points|
You can also see here, on the points calculator, how much you may score.
491 Visa Occupation List
To get a nomination for your 491 visa, you must have a profession that belongs to the skilled occupation list- here. In this list, you’ll also find who can perform your skills assessment according to your occupation.
If your occupation does not belong to this list, you are not eligible for a 491 visa.
Application Process for a 491 Visa
You can apply for a visa 491 by:
- Submitting an EOI.
- Getting a nomination.
- Being sponsored.
- Getting an invitation.
- Submitting an application.
Submitting an EOI
Before you can apply for your 491 visa, you have to submit an expression of interest. For your EOI, you have to log in or open a new account in SkillSelect and fill in the EOI. Once you finish putting down all your information, you will see an overall score you gained based on your qualifications and experience.
Your EOI will be saved in SkillSelect for at least two years, and prospective nominators can see your information and they may choose to invite you.
Getting a Nomination
You have to have at least 65 points to get a nomination for visa 491. You must be nominated by an Australian state, territory or government agency, you can contact the territories to see what their criteria are when they decide to issue a nomination.
For a 491 visa, you can also be sponsored by a relative who is:
- 18 years or older.
- A resident in designated territories in Australia.
- An Australian citizen
- An eligible New Zealand citizen
- An eligible relative or your partner’s relative
You must state in your EOI that you are being sponsored by someone for your visa 491 and the Department of Home Affairs may issue you an invitation immediately. However, the department must approve your sponsorship before they can grant you a visa 491.
Getting an Invitation
After you are nominated, or after your sponsor is verified, the Department of Home Affairs will invite you to apply for a 491 visa.
Submitting an Application
After your invitation has been issued, you have only 60 days to lodge your application. You have to apply online for a 491 visa by logging into your SkillSelect account that will redirect you to the ImmiAccount. There you can begin your application process.
You must attach scanned copies of the relevant documents– make sure you submit the visa payment to finalise your application.
491 Visa Application Fees
For a 491 visa you may be required to pay two types of fees:
- AUD4,115 for the application fee.
- AUD4,890 a second instalment fee for family members who fail the language requirement.
You may also be required to pay an additional fee for every family member that applies with you- this fee varies whether the family member is 18 or under 18 years old.
Processing Times for Visa 491
The processing time for visa 491 can last anywhere from 11 months up to 14 months. The time it takes to review your application will depend on whether you have submitted everything that is required, and whether you answer the Department’s questions (if they have any).
How Long Can I Stay With a 491 Visa?
A 491 visa is temporary, and you can stay in Australia only for five years. You cannot extend this visa, but you may apply for a permanent visa.
How Can I Get Permanent Residence After 491 Visa?
You can get a permanent resident visa 191 after you’ve held your 491 visa for at least three years. Currently, visa 191 is not open yet- it will become available on November 16 of 2022.
491 Visa Conditions
You can check the full details of your visa conditions on VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online), but it’s important you know that you must live, work and study in an area that belongs to the designated regions in Australia.
Can My Family Members Apply With Me for a 491 Visa?
Yes, you can include your family members when you apply for the visa or you may add them later on. However, your family members must meet the health and character requirements.
Subsequent Entry Pathway for Visa 491
This visa 491 pathway is available for your family members who want to enter Australia after you’ve been granted the visa. They are required to apply for the visa via ImmIAccount and pay a fee of AUD4,115. Your family members can also stay only for 5 years if they are granted the subsequent entry visa 491.
You must have declared your family members in your initial application so they can be eligible for a subsequent entry.