24 February 2021

Orana 491 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: Where the information you are seeking is covered by the content of our website or that of Investment NSW and/or DoHA, there will not be a customised response from either our office or that of Investment NSW. Further, there is no special consideration for applicants who do not meet the requirements and/or do not fill in the webforms in their entirety. If you do not receive a response in a reasonable timeframe, please assume that the information you are seeking is already available on our websites and look there before contacting us again.  

NSW Nomination and NSW Treasury Invitation Questions

Why has NSW Investment adopted a selection and invitation process?

NSW has introduced a selection and invitation process to ensure the most suitable candidates are able to apply for NSW nomination.

Can I register my interest in NSW nomination more than once in a submission window?

No. You can only register your interest once during a submission window. 

Registering your interest more than once will result in your removal from consideration during a submission window.

If you are skilled in more than one occupation, you must only register your interest in one occupation.   

When is the next invitation round for NSW nomination under the subclass 491 visa?

There are four submission windows during the 2021-22 financial year — the months of August, October, January, and March.

Invitations will be issued throughout a submission window up to seven days after a submission window closes.

How long do I have to apply for NSW nomination if I am invited to apply?

If you are invited to apply for NSW nomination, you have 14 days to apply to an NSW region where your skills are required.

You can only apply to one region. 

Will NSW Investment invite me to apply as a special case?

No. NSW Investment does not accept direct applications, you must be invited to apply during the normal course of an invitation round. NSW Investment will not respond to correspondence seeking special consideration.

If I am invited to apply, can I apply in more than one region?

No. You can only submit one application to one NSW region.

Submitting more than one application will result in all applications being refused. 

My visa will expire soon, can my registration of interest be prioritised?

Your registration of interest can be prioritised based on your visa expiry date only if you are eligible under NSW nomination stream one. 

Your visa will need to be expiring within three months of the submission window opening.  

NSW will prioritise registrations of interest with visas expiring when inviting candidates after a submission window. 

If your visa will expire before the current submission window closes, you may email the NSW Business and Skilled Migration team with evidence of your registration of interest, and visa expiry date. 

If your application is assessed not to be eligible under stream one, your application will be refused. 

Stream 1 Questions

What is the employment requirement?

Your employment must qualify as skilled employment under the Home Affairs’ points test. This includes being in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, and a minimum of 20 hours per week.  

See the Home Affairs’ Points table for Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) website for more information. 

How long do I need to of been living and working in regional NSW in my nominated occupation under Stream 1?

The standard requirement under stream 1 is to have been living and working in NSW in your nominated (or closely related) occupation for a period of 12 months.

However, NSW may consider inviting candidates under stream 1 who have been living and working in NSW in your nominated (or closely related) occupation for a minimum period of 3 months.   

I am living and/or working in regional NSW, but not working in my nominated occupation. Can I still register my interest under Stream 1?

No. You must register your interest under stream 3. 

If you register your interest under stream 1 when you are not eligible, you will not be invited to apply.

Stream 2 Questions

Do I need to of undertaken my entire qualification in regional NSW to be eligible?

No. You are not required to have completed your entire course in Regional NSW. 

To meet this requirement you must be eligible to claim points for Study in regional Australia on the basis of living and studying in regional NSW. 

Stream 3 Questions

How are candidates selected?

NSW Treasury will determine and select the most suitable candidates under this stream according to a range of factors which include, but not limited to; skilled employment experience, current employment, and residency.

There is no guarantee of an invitation to apply for NSW nomination and NSW Treasury is not able to answer questions on or advise of the likelihood of receiving an invitation.

I am living and/or working in Sydney, or another Australian State or Territory. Can I register my interest in NSW nomination under Stream 3?

Yes. If you are living and/or working in Sydney, or another Australian state or territory, you may register your interest in NSW nomination under Stream 3.

I am overseas, can I register my interest in NSW nomination under Stream 3?

No. You must be currently residing in Australia to be eligible to register your interest in NSW nomination. 

General Questions

Can I apply directly to RDA Orana?

No. You must have completed the process as stated by NSW Investment and be invited to apply for NSW nomination. Once you have received your invitation, you can submit your application to us.

Can RDA Orana consider special cases?

No. You must follow the process as stated by NSW Investment. We do not consider individual cases who do not meet the listed criteria.

If my application is unsuccessful, am I entitled to a refund?

RDA Orana requires applicants to demonstrate their suitability via a complete and accurate application as per the requirements noted on this website. Inaccurate and/or incomplete applications will be assessed as unsuccessful. RDA Orana takes matters of identification seriously. Any anomaly or inconsistency in identification will result in an unsuccessful outcome. Please ensure that ALL Essential Documentation is submitted with your application as this will significantly speed up our processing times. Once your application has been submitted and you have received your acknowledgment e-mail, processing has commenced. The fee charged is for the processing of the application by RDA Orana and is not based on the outcome. Once you have received your acknowledgment email, your application has commenced processing and in general, no refund is available as the service has begun. An unsuccessful outcome is not grounds for a refund. If you apply incorrectly, and we have commenced processing, we are unable to provide you with a refund. Please note that by applying, you accept these Terms and Conditions.

Where is the Orana region and what area does it cover?

Please use the following link to see the area covered by the Orana region. 

Where can I live and work in NSW under the subclass 491 visa?

The Department of Home Affairs determines which regions of Australia are eligible for the 491 visa. Eligible regions are published on the Home Affairs’ designated regional area postcodes website.

If you apply to RDA Orana and this region nominates you, we expect you to have a moral obligation to fulfil your visa conditions in our region.

How do I make a payment?

Upon pressing the Apply Now button, you will be taken directly through to the application which begins with a credit card payment.

What English Tests Results are accepted?

Competent English or better is a requirement for Skilled Migration. The Department of Home Affairs provides detailed information on the accepted English tests.

Do I have to use a migration agent?

No, the process is transparent and there is enough straightforward information that a migrant agent is not necessary.

However, it can be worthwhile engaging the services of a Registered Migration Agent to ensure you are on the best path and that all applications are submitted complete with all required documentation. Leaving things out can result in a negative outcome or processing delays, which can be almost as frustrating.

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority has helpful information about engaging a migration agent.

How long will it take?

RDA Orana will be working hard to keep its processing timeframe under six weeks. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can cause delays. It is the applicant’s responsibility to advise us if their case is urgent (due to visa or points expiring, for example).

Can I request urgent processing of my application?

If you have an urgent request because of a visa expiry, please email migration@rdaorana.org.au after you have submitted your application and quoting your SkillSelect EOI number.

Do I need health insurance?

You are entitled to a Medicare Card once you have a 491 or 494 visa.
For Permanent Residents and Citizens of Australia, Private Health Insurance is a matter of personal choice and this is also the case for 491 and 494 visa holders.

S48 Bar

The section 48 bar applies to applicants who are holding a bridging visa, and have had a visa refused or cancelled, since their last entry into Australia. 

If you are subject to a section 48 bar you need to leave Australia before you can reapply for a visa.

NSW will not re-nominate applicants who are subject to a section 48 bar where their nomination has expired, and they are unable to leave Australia.

Nomination allocations provided by the Department of Home Affairs are limited and it is currently uncertain when border restrictions will be lifted.

To ensure the limited nomination positions allocated to NSW go to support the economic recovery of the state, RDA Orana will not re-nominate applicants subject to a section 48 ba

How is Covid-19 impacting on Skilled Migration in Australia?

Covid-19 is logically the first priority of any Australian Government Department. Almost all visa applications that were/are lodged from offshore during the pandemic and most of those which are not on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List can expect lengthy processing timeframes from the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.


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