As foreshadowed for some months, the Government’s new Regional Visa Program commenced on 16 November 2019.
There are two new regional visas: one based on employer sponsorship, and one for individuals based on a points test.
The new Subclass 494 Skilled Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa requires sponsored employees (and any family members) to live, work and study in regional Australia – everywhere in Australia except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The visa provides a pathway to permanent residence after three years. In contrast to the standard Employer Nomination Scheme, permanent residence is not based on an offer of permanent and ongoing employment, rather evidence of the applicant’s income and compliance with visa conditions, among other requirements.
Some important points to consider are:
- The training levy is payable once at the provisional visa stage ($3,000 if business turnover is less than $10 million, otherwise $5,000), and is not payable at the time of the permanent residence application;
- Sponsors have access to the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List, as well as the Regional Occupations List which has an additional 434 occupations;
- The position must be located in regional Australia, and be full time, genuine, and likely to exist for 5 years;
- Labour market testing is required to evidence that the position cannot be filled locally;
- Sponsored employees require a positive skills assessment for their occupation, and must demonstrate Competent English.
The Government has already increased the number of places available for regional visas from 23,000 to 25,000 places in the 2019-20 Skilled Migration Program (over 20% of the total), and is giving priority to promotion, processing and compliance relating to new regional visas.
Should you have an interest in finding out more, please contact your adviser at Ajuria Lawyers.
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