What is the new SC491 Visa?
The SC 491 is a skilled visa with duration of 5 years. This visa is points tested and requires either a state nomination or sponsorship, from an eligible family member who is settled in a designated regional area of Australia.
What is the difference between SC 489 and SC 491 Visas?
Well firstly, the 489 Visa has been discontinued since last year. The 491 that has now been introduced in its place is almost as similar but has some changes and a few restrictions.
Let us quickly break it down for you-
• A 491 visa holder will have to wait for 3 years to get a PR. Under the 489 system it used to be 2 years.
• The 491 covers more regional areas compared to 489. It covers all areas except metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth (Newcastle, Wollongong and NSW Central have been added to the list)
• A lot many more points are being allocated under the 491 compared to 489.
Here’s a list of the possible points that you could tally up-
- 10 points for unmarried migrants, which is a huge bonus if you are single.
- 15 points for eligible relative sponsorship. Previously, was just 10 under the 489
- 10 points for spouse or partner skills. Previously, was just 5 under the 489
- and 10 points for spouse or partner English. Previously, was just 5 under the 489
How Strict are the Conditions under the 491 visa?
Migrants with 491 visas cannot live and work outside the regional areas that have already been specified above.
They can however move from one regional area to another as per their convenience.
As per rules, migrants holding 491 will not be eligible to apply for most of the other skilled visas, unless they have completed living and working in a skilled designated regional area.
So be extremely careful, as these conditions will be monitored closely and non compliance will results in visa cancellation or disqualification.
What will be the pathway to Permanent Residency for SC 491 VISA holders?
SC 191 will be the pathway to Permanent Residency from November 2022.
The migrant must have held a SC 491 visa for the stipulated period of time, which is 3 years, and should have met all requirements.
The holder will have to meet the minimum taxable income requirements of AUD 53,900 per annum, for 3 years.
Spouse or partners can also be the main applicant for 191 if they meet the criteria.
Will moving to a regional area for 3 years be a disadvantage for prospective migrants?
First of all, living and working in a regional area will never pose as any sort of a deterrent for the migrants who apply for the 491 visa. Instead, the opportunities that will be presented to you will be a plenty and the experience that you gain will be advantageous, especially when you move ahead for a Permanent Residency.
What advise you might have for people eagerly awaiting the SC 491 visas?
Our advice for married applicants will be that apart from your documents, get your spouse or partner skills assessed well in advance and have their competent English records ready. Especially, if your spouse or partner is also interested in applying for the 491 visa.
It is very much advisable that you avoid taking any dubious shortcuts. There are cases where people have tried to exploit the ‘unmarried migrant’ status to claim extra points, by violating the divorce clause, and have found themselves to be disqualified from applying for the 491 visa. Do remember, your period of stay under the 491 visa will be thoroughly scrutinised and questioned. The same procedure will be applied to your Permanent Residency bid under SC 191, so again, we advice your to be careful and cautious about your conduct.
Above all- Stick to all the conditions applicable to the visa and you should be able to sail thought the processes without any difficulty.