The Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) is a provisional work visa for individuals who have the qualifications and skills required to address Australia’s skill shortage, but cannot meet the pass mark required to obtain a Skilled Independent visa.
Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 60 points on a points assessment and must either obtain sponsorship from an eligible relative living in a Specified Regional Area of Australia or nomination from a participating State or Territory government.
The assessment is such that applicants are required to be under 50 years of age and be able to demonstrate that they possess a qualification or the skills of an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
Applicants for an Australian Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) must be prepared to live for two years and work for at least twelve months in a Specified Regional Area of Australia. A Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) is valid for up to four years and provides a pathway to permanent residence.
Employers seeking to sponsor or hire foreign workers can sign up for Australian Corporate Visa Services.
Australian Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa (Subclass 489) Basic Requirements
In order to satisfy labour market shortages, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has set specific basic requirements for people who are interested in applying under the Skilled Migration Stream.
To qualify for skilled migration, applicants (or their partner) must be able to satisfy the basic visa requirements related to age, English language ability, occupation, skills, qualification, health and character. In addition, applicants for a Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) must obtain sponsorship from a participating State or Territory government and pass a points test. Points can be claimed in areas related to age, English language ability, specific work experience, spouse skills and other bonus categories.
The current pass mark for the Skilled Regional Sponsored visa (Subclass 489) is 60 points.
To be sponsored by a relative, an applicant’s relative must live in a Specified Regional Area of Australia* and be either:
- an Australian citizen;
- an Australian permanent resident; or
- an eligible New Zealand citizen.
The applicant (or their spouse) must be related to their sponsor as either:
- a non-dependent child – including a natural, adoptive or step-child;
- a parent – including adoptive or step-parent;
- a brother or sister – including adoptive or step-siblings;
- a niece or nephew – including adoptive or step-niece or nephew; or
- an aunt or uncle – including adoptive or step-aunt or uncle.
*The definition of Specified Regional Area of Australia depends on whether the applicant is sponsored by a relative or nominated by a State or Territory government. As a general indication, the following areas are considered regional:
- New South Wales – everywhere except Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong;
- Northern Territory – everywhere;
- Queensland – everywhere except the greater Brisbane area and the Gold Coast;
- South Australia – everywhere;
- Tasmania – everywhere;
- Victoria – everywhere except the Melbourne metropolitan area; and
- Western Australia – everywhere.
To be nominated by a State or Territory government, applicants must satisfy specific criteria, as set by the particular State or Territory. These may include:
- having an occupation on the skills shortage list in that State or Territory; or
- demonstrating specialised skills in an area of need.
On 1 July 2012, the skilled migration program switched to a new online system called “SkillSelect” which will require prospective skilled migrants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Once an EOI is submitted, these details can be viewed by Australian employers, state and territory governments and by the Australian Government who have the ability to extend an invitation to lodge a visa application.
There is no guarantee that submitting an EOI will result in an invitation to apply for a visa. If an invitation is received, there will be a prescribed timeframe within which the visa application must then be formally lodged with DIBP.