Our Ultimate Guide to the 494 Visa

Are you hoping to migrate to Australia as a skilled worker? If you have the experience and you’re willing to work in a regional part of Australia, you could be eligible for a 494 Visa. 

About the 494 Visa

Australia’s 494 Visa is highly beneficial to both skilled migrants and the Australian workforce. This particular visa is designed to address labour shortages by giving regional employers the opportunity to sponsor and hire skilled international workers. 

Introduced in 2019, this new visa consists of 10,00 spaces each year. It allows skilled migrants to live and work in Australia, with no limitations on leaving and returning to the country. The 494 Visa is valid for 5 years upon entering the country, and applicants are permitted to apply for permanent residency after 3 years if they meet the relevant criteria. 

Visa 494 holders can only work in regional Australia, which includes all of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

There are three streams available for Visa 494:

Employer-Sponsored Stream: This visa allows Australian employers to sponsor skilled workers when they’re unable to source a skilled Australian worker. An employer can nominate an employee for any type of work that’s listed on the skilled occupation list. 

Labour Agreement Stream: This visa is for skilled workers nominated by an employer who is part of a labour agreement, developed alongside the Australian Government. 

Subsequent Entrant: This stream is applicable to family members of a Visa 494 holder who are applying separately, and wish to join the primary visa holder in Australia. 

494 Visa Criteria 

To successfully obtain a 494 visa, applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Be nominated by an approved sponsor 
  • Have at least 3 years of relevant skilled work experience 
  • Be under the age of 45 
  • Complete a relevant skills assessment (conducted prior to application)
  • Have competency in the English language 
  • If applying for the Labour Agreement Stream, the applicant must be working under a labour agreement in the specified position 

How to Sponsor Someone for a 494 Visa

To nominate a skilled worker, a sponsor must meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Are a standard business sponsor or have applied to become one 
  • Must provide evidence concluding they were unable to find a skilled Australian employee for the position
  • Must have a business that is lawfully operating in what is deemed a regional area of Australia 
  • Must pay the relevant Skilling Fund Levy 
  • If applying for the Labour Agreement Stream, the sponsor must have a current labour agreement in place

Application process 

Both the applicant and the sponsor have roles in the application process. The sponsor must first nominate the applicant, who is then permitted to complete and submit the application.

Sponsors- how to nominate

To nominate a skilled worker for a 494 Visa in Australia, the sponsor is required to submit the following documents: 

  • Proof of ID
  • An employment contract signed by both the employer and the employee 
  • Proof of labour market testing (proof the employer has tested the market and advertised the position to Australian citizens) 
  • Proof the nominated position exists, along with an outline of the duties and responsibilities of the employee
  • Regional Certifying Body approval for the position 
  • Labour agreement documents if part of a labour agreement and applying for the relevant stream 

Applicants – how to apply

Once you’ve received a valid nomination from an eligible sponsor and it has been approved, you can start the application process using the ImmiAccount. 

You’ll be required to:

  • Upload the required documents
  • Provide the transaction reference number received from your sponsor
  • Pay the application fee 

494 Visa requirements include the submission of the following documents:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of English language skills
  • The results of your skills assessment 
  • Proof of any qualifications, licences, registrations or references from previous employers
  • Documents proving your good character
  • Certificate of health
  • Proof of health insurance

If you’re bringing your partner, spouse or other family members with you, you’ll also be required to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of ID
  • Marriage certificate or proof of registered relationship
  • Divorce papers (if applicable)
  • Documents proving their good character
  • Proof of dependency (if applicable) 
  • Proof of English language skills

How can Techvisa help?

We’re not kidding when we say we have an obsession with ensuring the migration process is as simple as possible for your business, your new employee, or you as an individual!

We’re offering a free assessment of your business to ensure you are eligible and from there will advise you on the process, based on whether you’re a start-up or an established company.

From this very first assessment until the day your new employee walks through the door, we are there to help make the visa journey as easy as possible. From assisting the applicants in preparing and lodging the expression of interest to catering evidence for the case and helping the applicant in obtaining Australian citizenship, we are here to help. 

If you want to find out more or start your assessment, get in touch with the team at Techvisa!

494 Visa FAQs

Interested in the 494 Visa Australia, but have a few more questions? Take a look at our frequently asked questions. 

  • How long is a visa 494 valid for?

This visa is valid for 5 years provided the visa holder remains employed by the nominated employer within the elected regional area. This visa cannot be extended, however, the visa holder has the opportunity to apply for permanent residency after 3 years. 

  • What are the costs of a 494 visa?

All 3 streams of the 494 Visa cost AUD $4,115, which must be paid in full at the time of application. Additional fees also apply for all applicants who apply with you. 

If a family member on your application cannot prove their English proficiency, they will be required to pay a greater fee.

  • Can I bring my family members with a visa 494?

You are permitted to bring your family members as a visa 494 holder. If your family is unable to apply at the same time as you, you must provide reasoning in your application. If this is the case, your family members can apply for the Subsequent Entrant Visa 494.

  • Can I study with a visa 494?

494 Visa holders can study, however are only permitted to do so in nominated regional areas in Australia.

  • Which areas can I work in with a 494 visa?

494 visa permits work in NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT, SA, NT, WA and TAS, however, you will not be permitted to work in major capital cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

  • Can I get a permanent residence with a visa 494?

After 3 years of living and working in Australia on the 494 visa, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. 

  • What are the conditions of a 494 visa?

The following conditions apply to all 494 visa holders:

  • You are required to commence work within 90 days of entering the country or the visa being granted (if you applied while already in Australia) 
  • You are only permitted to work for the employer who nominated you 
  • You must work in regional Australia only
  • You and your family members must follow all Australian laws and regulations
  • If I have 3 years of relevant casual work experience, will it be considered?

Unfortunately, no. Only full-time or equivalent part-time work is considered under the 494 Visa requirements. 

  • May I extend my stay with the 494 visa?

494 visa holders are unable to apply for an extension. If eligible, you can apply for permanent residency 3 years after your visa was granted. 

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