Subclass 494

Subclass 494

The 494 Skilled Regional (Provisional) has replaced the 187 (RSMS) visa regime. It enables those sponsored by eligible employers to live and work in a region of Australia listed on the 494 skilled occupation list for five years where they can’t source an appropriately skilled Australian worker.

This visa is an alternative for those who do not meet the requirements of other visas (including Subclass 482) and can be used as a step toward permanent residency.

Visa Benefits

Eligible 494 applicants can enjoy the below privileges: 

  1. Longer Visa Period: 494 Applicants can stay in a region or designated area of Australia for up to 5 years.
  2. Direct Pathway to Permanent Residency: Applicants are eligible for permanent residency after three years of residing in Australia.
  3. Include Family Members in your Application: 494 Applicants can include family members in the visa application.
  4. Full Working Rights: The applicant will have full working rights in Australia.

Types of Subclass 494 visa

There are three streams for Subclass 494 Visa. 

Employer Sponsored Stream

This visa enables regional employers to address identified labour shortages within their region by sponsoring skilled workers where employers can't source an appropriately skilled Australian worker.

Labour Agreement Stream

This stream is for skilled workers nominated by employers who have a labour agreement. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers.

Subsequent Entrant Stream

This visa enables regional employers to sponsor members of the family unit of a Skilled Employee who is applying separately for their visa to join the primary visa holder in Australia.

Visa Eligibility

To be eligible as a sponsor for a Subclass 494 visa, you must: 

  • Have a legally established and currently operating business;
  • Have no adverse information regarding your business;
  • Have a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, employing local labour; and
  • Declare that you will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.

To be nominated for a Subclass 494 Visa, the sponsoring employer must: 

  • Be a standard business sponsor;
  • Nominate the skilled worker for an eligible occupation;
  • Be unable to find an Australian worker;
  • Pay the annual market salary rate;
  • Have a genuine position available;
  • Engage the nominee under a written contract of employment;
  • Not engage in discriminatory practices; and
  • Employment conditions must be equivalent to Australian workers.

To be eligible for a Subclass 494 - Employer Sponsored visa, you must be: 

  • Nominated to work in an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list;
  • Have at least three years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation;
  • Have an appropriate skills assessment, unless an exemption applies;
  • Work only for your sponsor or associated entity unless an exemption applies;
  • Be under 45 years of age, unless an exemption applies;
  • Have competent English; and
  • Meet health and character requirements.

Things to Watch Out For Subclass 494 Visa

There is a three-year restriction on applying for the following visas whilst holding a Subclass 494 visa
Subclass 124 and 858 – Distinguished Talent Visas
Subclass 132 – Business Talent Visa
Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme Visa
Subclass 188 – Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa
Subclass 189 – Skilled Independent Visa
Subclass 190 – Skilled Nominated Visa
Subclass 820/801 – Provisional/Permanent Partner Visa

Steps for application

Step 1: Sponsorship

To begin applying for Subclass 494, the sponsoring employer needs to be an approved standard business sponsor. If the current employer is not an approved sponsor, we can assist in applying for standard business sponsorship.


Step 2: Nomination

To begin applying for Subclass 494, your sponsoring employer needs to nominate you for a permanent position in your nominated occupation.

Step 3: Regional Certifying Body Approval

When you nominate someone for a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Direct Entry visa stream, the position you nominate them for must be assessed by a regional certifying body. Regional certifying body assessments give the Department information about local labour market conditions and other relevant regional matters.

Step 4: Visa Application

Once nomination and RCB has been applied for, we will help you apply for Subclass 494 visa.

Something else ?


    We are happy to answer
    any queries you may have

    How long is visa valid for?

    The visa validity period is 5 years. 

    When do I need to commence working with my employer after my visa is granted?

    Visa holders must commence work within 90 days of the visa being granted a 494 visa. You are only allowed to work in your nominated occupation and nominating employer in regional Australia. If you do not, your visa may be cancelled.

    Where is Classified as “Regional Australia”?

    Working in regional Australia does not mean that you have to live in a remote area. All of Australia is classified as “regional” except for Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

    I am over 45. Am I still eligible for a Subclass 494?

    You may be eligible for age-limit exemptions if you are:

    • A senior academic
    • A scientist, researcher or technical specialist
    • A medical practitioner who has been working for your nominating employer for 4+ years
    • The holder of a 444 New Zealand Citizen or subclass 461 New Zealand citizen’s family member visa
    • A highly paid sponsored employee that’s been working for 4+ years in Australia
    • Subject to a special labour agreement
    What are the conditions attached to the visa?
    • Condition 8578: You must notify the Department within 14 days of a change of your residential address, email, phone number, passport details, employers’ details, address and location of position of employment.
    • Condition 8579: You must live work and study in a regional area, including all members of the family.
    • Condition 8580: You must provide evidence if requested within 28 days of your residential address, address of each employer, address of location of employment, and address of any educational institution.
    • Condition 8581: If requested you must attend an interview with the Department in a manner specified by it (face-to-face, Skype or FaceTime).
    • Condition 8608: The primary visa holder must only work in the nominated occupation and within the business of their nominating employer or an associated business of the employer. If the primary visa holder’s employment is terminated, they have 90 days to find another position.

    Breach of the above condition could result in visa cancellation.

    Summary of cost estimates
    for your application

    We have summarised the costs for a Subclass 494 application. 

    Sponsorship Application

    AUD 420

    Paid directly to the Department of Home Affairs.

    Nomination Application


    Department does not charge for Subclass 494 Nomination Application.

    Subsequent Entrant Application

    AUD 4240

    Paid directly to the Department of Home Affairs

    Visa Application


    Visa charges for each streams varies  between streams.

    SAF Levy Fees


    Small business 
    Annual turnover <$10 million - $1200 p/y
    Other business 
    Annual turnover >$10 million - $1800 p/y

    Police & Medicals


    Paid to the relevant authorities that issue national/state level police/medical checks of the applicants.

    Can I apply for permanent residency?


    It is possible to apply for a permanent Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after living and working in a regional area for at least 3 years.

    Unlike the transitional pathway 186 or 187 visas, the Subclass 191 visa does not require:

    • Holders to work with the same employer for 3 years.
    • Does not require a nomination to apply for permanent residency


    Applicants, however, must still meet certain income requirements and be able to prove their residence in regional Australia for the 3-year period.

    Processing Times - Subclass 494 - Employer Sponsored

    75% of applications are processed in: 8 months
    90% of applications are processed in: 10 months

    8 months
    10 months

    COVID-19 Concessions for Subclass 494

    On 18 February 2022, the Department extended Subclass 494 for three years for visa holders affected by COVID-19 international travel restrictions.

    The Department has also extended visas for Subclass 494 visa holders where the primary visa holder was outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 (inclusive) as the holder of a valid Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.

    The visa extensions will give affected visa holders time to make travel arrangements to start or resume living and working in regional Australia.

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