Introducing the 491 regional skilled visa

The 491 is the most exciting of the two visas to be introduced in 2019 with an enhanced points test which we think could offer substantial benefits to skilled migrants.

The great news is this visa has a pathway to Permanent Residency.

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Why are they removing the 489 visa

The 491 has some fantastic benefits over the 489. However it will depend on how the government handle the invitation model which we will discuss later. The 489 like the upcoming 494 has two streams, family sponsored and state sponsored. And while the state sponsored program is fantastic the family sponsored stream has been ignored and manipulated by the department, and we hope with the 491 we will see the end of that manipulation.

The points test is new

The points are the most exciting change of the 491 visa. So lets go.

The 15 points will be a big boost for trades that struggle to get to 65 points which is the current pass mark. I think we will see more people opting for regional living with this as an incentive.

The New Partner Point System

The increase to 10 points for Spouses over the current 5 points is also a massive boost and now makes the cost of completing a skills assessment seem worthwhile. It is also worth noting that the skills for the spouse points are contingent on having competent English but there also seems to be ANOTHER 5 points for partners having competent English – so are we double dipping?The answer to that is no, you can only claim one set of points for your partner. The most interesting is the 10 points for single applicants. What does this really do to the points. More points attract more people and the 10 points for singles is welcome. If we compare this the the old system a skilled partner with competent English would get 5 points. This ensures singles are not penalised which we are going to see in the next slide.

Bonus Points for STEM occupations

It is going to be an exciting time to see what STEM occupations will be eligible. While we doubt accounting based occupations will be included it is like lt that mathematical based occupations will be if we consider what some states such as South Australia have been seeking. Occupations such as mathematicians and Analysts.

When we consider all of the points advantages this is great for the state sponsored stream. However the family sponsored stream relies on the highest points to get an invitation. And if everyone is getting an uplift then the advantage is lost.

The new invitation System

The points system will also introduce a new “invitation” system

Invitations to skilled visas were previously based on highest scores first followed by the time spend on the skill select database.

If all other points claims are equal, invitations for points tested visas will be ranked by the Migration Points Test as described below:

  • First – primary applicants with a skilled spouse or de facto partner
  • Equal First – primary applicants without a spouse or de facto partner
  • Second – Primary applicants with a spouse or de facto partner who can demonstrate competent English but does not have the skills for skilled partner points (age and skills)
  • Third –  Primary applicants with a partner who is ineligible for either competent English or Skilled partner points. These applicants will be ranked below all other cohorts, if all other points claims are equal.

We can now see the focus the government is putting on English as the invitation model is also benefiting partners with strong English.

Either way this is an exciting new visa.