Skilled Work Regional Visa (subclass 491)

STREAM 1 and 2 OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS

As of 4:20 pm, 4 May 2021, the Orana region has suspended 491 applications from accountants.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana has commenced assisting NSW Treasury in managing applications for NSW nominations for the subclass 491 visa for the Orana region.

Under this new arrangement, RDA Orana will be responsible for setting their own eligible skilled occupations for nomination (within DoHA and NSW Treasury guidelines) and accepting and assessing nomination applications for the region.

Nomination Criteria for a 491 visa in NSW will remain consistent across all regions and can be found below. Individual RDAs may have some Additional Criteria requirements for some occupations, please check with the individual RDA website before submitting an application.

Please note that as a result of COVID-19 and significant reductions in Australia’s Migration Program Planning Levels, the chances of being nominated are currently low and you must meet the published nomination criteria to apply.

In light of this RDA Orana will not be accepting applications under Stream 3a, 3b and 3c that are for onshore or offshore applicants. This is due to the request from the Australian Government to prioritise on-shore applicants and the national border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be reviewed later in the year, unfortunately no exceptions can or will be made.

Please carefully read through the below nomination criteria and check through our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) prior to applying. The steps for the application process are provided below.

Changes to the Occupation List

We are pleased to advise that following recent discussions between NSW Treasury and the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs we will now be able to offer a greater range of occupations. This will come into effect from the 1st April.

However, it is important to note that whilst we are now free to recommend for nomination under a greater range of occupations, priority processing will still be in place for those in critical skill sectors and as such we would strongly urge you to consider this prior to submitting an application with us.

Considering these changes, we will no longer be accepting any application for onshore of offshore applicants under Stream 3a, 3b or 3c.

The 12-month living and working requirement will be maintained under Stream 1.

NOTE: These changes come into effect from April 1st 2021. Please do not contact us prior to this date about occupation list changes or eligibility. You will not be responded to until we are able to implement these changes internally and have published updates on our website.

Priority & Timeframes

To maintain fairness, transparency and integrity across the program, we wish to advise that priority will be based on those who meet the criteria in full of Stream 1 and are working in a critical skill sector followed by those who meet the criteria in full and are working in other occupations.

Applications will no longer be assessed based on when your application is submitted but by how you meet the priority. We cannot guarantee a positive outcome from either us or from NSW Treasury or the time in which it may take.

Demand on specific occupations can vary and allocations can be limited at any time. We cannot in anyway guarantee your outcome.

Nomination Criteria

You must meet the all criteria in one of the three following three streams to be eligible for NSW nomination:

1. Living and working in regional NSW;

2. recently completed study in regional NSW

Applicants who do not meet the criteria in one of these two streams may be refused unless otherwise agreed with NSW Treasury.

‘Closely related occupations’ are defined as those having the same ANZSCO unit group, i.e. sharing the same first four digits.

‘Designated regional areas’ are determined by Home Affairs. Please see their website for a list of regional NSW postcodes.

Stream 1 – Living and Working in regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this stream you must:

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region’s occupation list;
  • have been living in a designated regional area in NSW for at least the previous 12 months; and
  • have been working in your nominated occupation, or a closely related occupation, in a designated regional area of NSW, for at least the previous 12 months.

Stream 2 – Recently completed study in regional NSW

To be eligible for NSW nomination under this stream you must:

  • hold a valid skills assessment for an occupation that appears on your nominated region’s occupation list;
  • have completed study or education with an education provider, where:
    • the study was completed within the previous 24 months;
    • the education provider is located in a designated regional area in NSW;
    • the study meets the Australian study requirement (as determined by Home Affairs from time to time); and
    • the qualification obtained from this study has been assessed as closely related to your nominated occupation by the relevant assessing authority; and
  • have lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study.

Streams 3a, 3b and 3c – Living and working outside of a designated regional postcode of NSW – NOW CLOSED

RDA Orana will not be accepting applications under Stream 3a, 3b and 3c that are for onshore or offshore applicants. This is due to the request from the Australian Government to prioritise on-shore applicants and the national border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be reviewed later in the year, unfortunately, no exceptions can or will be made.

Alternative migration options

NSW nomination for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) is just one of a number of visa options for prospective skilled migrants. There is a range of visas offered by Home Affairs, including both temporary and permanent employer nominated visas.

You may also wish to seek advice from a registered migration agent. A list of registered migration agents is available on the Migration Agents Registration Authority website.

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 bar.

How to apply

Step 1

Carefully read through the nomination criteria provided above to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Make sure you check our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for some handy information. If you do have questions after reading through this, you can contact us via email at migration@rdaorana.org.au. We will attempt to respond to non-urgent enquiries regarding this program within 5 business days.

Step 2

Download the application form for which stream you wish to apply under. They can be found below.

Stream 1 – Living and Working in Regional NSW

Stream 2 – Recently completed study in Regional NSW

A reminder that Stream 3 is currently CLOSED to both onshore and offshore applicants.

RDA Orana will not be accepting applications under Stream 3a, 3b and 3c that are for off-shore applicants. This is due to the request from the Australian Government to prioritise on-shore applicants and the national border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be reviewed later in the year, unfortunately no exceptions can or will be made.

Read through the applicable form carefully and ensure that you have all of the documentation required. Once you are ready, fill out this form electronically and ensure it is signed and dated. It will need to be uploaded as part of our application process later.

NOTE: If you are using a migration agent for this process, please ensure you have completed and signed a Form 956, you will need it for the final steps.

Step 3 

As part of the process you will need to make a payment for your application to be assessed by RDA Orana as the Regional Certifying Body (RCB). Payment is required upon submission of application. The amount for your assessment is $800.00 inc GST. 

NOTE: Payment does not in any way guarantee a positive outcome of your application.

Step 4

If you have completed all of the above steps then you are ready to apply.

Please ensure you have all of your supporting documentation ready for upload. 

Contacting the Skilled Migration Team

Thank you. Once you have submitted your application you will receive an email letting you know that it has been received by RDA Orana. We are a small team and work on a range of projects across the region, one of which is Skilled Migration. We understand that this can be a stressful time for individuals and we will do our best to assess applications quickly.

In light of this, we ask that enquiries to the team are only via email or our website. We ask that you thoroughly read the information provided prior to making contact with us. The more enquiries we receive and need to respond to, the longer it takes to process applications.

We are not under any circumstances able to provide individual advice. We can only assist with understanding the documents required as evidence or our application process. The criteria is outlined above and cannot be deviated from under any circumstances.

After you have submitted your application, any correspondence to us should include your EOI reference number in the subject line.

The Skilled Migration Team

migration@rdaorana.org.au


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