Regional Employer Sponsored (Subclass 494)
The Subclass 494 visa, also known as the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, is a temporary skilled work visa introduced by the Australian government to address skill shortages in regional areas of the country. This visa allows employers in designated regional areas to sponsor skilled workers from overseas to fill vacancies that cannot be met by the local workforce.
Key features of the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa:
- Regional Focus: The Subclass 494 visa is specifically aimed at addressing skill shortages in designated regional areas of Australia. These areas are typically outside major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
- Employer Sponsorship: To apply for the Subclass 494 visa, an applicant must have a nominating employer who has lodged a nomination application with the Department of Home Affairs. The employer must demonstrate a genuine need for the position and meet various requirements.
- Eligible Occupations: The nominated occupation must be on the relevant skilled occupation list for the Subclass 494 visa. The list may vary depending on the specific regional area.
- Visa Validity: The Subclass 494 visa is granted for up to five years. During this period, visa holders can live, work, and study in the designated regional area.
- Pathway to Permanent Residency: The Subclass 494 visa is a pathway to permanent residency through the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa. After holding the Subclass 494 visa and meeting specific criteria, visa holders can apply for permanent residency.
- English Language Requirement: Applicants for the Subclass 494 visa may need to meet certain English language proficiency requirements, depending on their nominated occupation and circumstances.
- Health and Character Checks: Like all Australian visas, applicants and their family members must meet health and character requirements.
- Age Limit: Generally, there is no age limit to apply for the Subclass 494 visa. However, applicants over the age of 45 may have additional requirements.
- Genuine Need: The sponsoring employer must demonstrate a genuine need for the nominated position and prove that they have tried to hire local workers before seeking overseas talent.
- Family Members: The Subclass 494 visa allows visa holders to include certain family members (spouse/partner and dependent children) in the application. Family members can also study and work in Australia.