491 visa australia
The 491 visa grants pathways to permanent residency in Australia / Source: Saeed KHAN / AFP

If you’re looking to gain permanent residency in Australia, you may be in luck.

New South Wales (NSW) has just opened January submissions for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491)

Eligible students and skilled workers can submit a registration of interest (ROI) until January 31, 2022. The next submission window will open in March.

Under this visa, skilled migrants will be granted the opportunity to live, work and study in Regional NSW for up to five years. On top of this, they will be able to travel to and from Australia as many times as they want, as well as have a pathway to permanent residency. Family members can be included in this visa application.

The visa currently operates under an invitation-only basis. This means that you can only apply should you have:

  • A state or territory government agency who is willing to nominate you OR
  • An eligible relative who is willing to sponsor you. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the 491 visa, including if you’re eligible, how to get nominated, and details on the January submission window. 

491 visa australia

International students studying in Regional New South Wales will be eligible to register for the 491 visa. Source: Steph Chambers / AFP

491 visa Australia: Am I eligible?

If you’re an international student in Australia, chances are you’ll be eligible for the 491 visa under Stream 2. 

The NSW Government website indicates that to qualify under Stream 2, you must: 

  • Hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation on the NSW skilled occupation list
  • Have completed your studies in the last 24 months;
  • Have studied with an education provider in Regional NSW; and
  • Hold a qualification related to your nominated occupation. 

Most of the regions in NSW are actively looking for skilled engineers or medical professionals and practitioners. However, some regions are also looking for social workers, chefs, zoologists, carpenters, and human resource managers, among other occupations. 

The 491 visa has two additional streams: Stream 1 for individuals already living and working in Regional NSW, and Stream 3 for individuals skilled in an occupation required in the designated areas. For more information on the other streams, click here

Sydney is one region actively seeking out skilled migrants and international students for jobs. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

How do I get nominated by New South Wales?

All state and territory government agencies have their own criteria, so you’ll have to peruse their separate pages to find out what kind of migrants they’re looking for. For Regional NSW registrations, you must first: 

1. Let the NSW Government know that you wish to apply for the 491 visa by submitting an expression of interest (EOI) through SkillSelect

You may need to participate in a skills assessment or appropriate points test as part of your EOI. This must have been obtained in the 3 years that your invitation was granted to you. If your assessment was for a shorter period, then it must still be ongoing when you submit your EOI. 

If you are on a student visa, your qualification must be from studying a course registered on CRICOS

There is no fee for this, and you can complete your EOI entirely online. 

Australia’s 491 visa will allow eligible skilled workers to stay and work in the country for 5 years. Source: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP

2. Submit an ROI during a submission window. 

The current submission window will close on Jan. 31, 2022. You can register your interest for this visa here

Note that you can only register your interest in NSW nomination once during a submission window, even if you’re skilled in more than one of the listed occupations. If you aren’t selected for this month, you can always submit a new ROI in a later submission window. 

You must additionally indicate which NSW region you intend to apply to.

3. Be invited to apply

4. Apply to the RDA Office in your preferred region within 14 days of receiving your invitation 

5. Provide evidence with your application for all claims in your NSW ROI and SkillSelect EOI.

We hope you found this guide useful and wish you all the best in your registration!