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Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (494)

Get an Australian 494 visa

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) is a visa that enables skilled overseas workers to migrate to Australia to work with regional employers who are struggling to source appropriately skilled Australian workers. Applicants must meet various requirements and work in an occupation that is identified as suffering a skills shortage to be eligible. There are three streams for this visa subclass, with one stream encompassing any subsequent family members who are applying for this visa.

At Australian Migration Agents, we are committed to assisting applicants navigate the visa application process to alleviate the stresses and anxieties associated with this time-consuming complex process. If applicants and their families require tailored information, specific guidance or help applying, contact an Australian Migration Agent today.

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What is a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa?

As stated Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) is an employer sponsored visa. Similar to the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa, skilled workers in eligible occupations can come to Australia and work for regional employers. The occupations that are eligible are identified by the Australian Government on the Regional Occupation List, or applicants can also nominate any occupations that are present on the Medium to Long Term skilled occupation list. Applicants should be aware that some occupations are eligible under this visa that are not eligible under a Temporary Skill Shortage visa. To apply, applicants will need to show that they have the relevant skills and experience in the occupation and will be required to have a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessment authority to apply.

There are three streams for the visa subclass. The first stream is the employer sponsored stream, which most applicants will apply under. The second stream is the labour agreement stream, available for applicants who are nominated by an employer who has negotiated a labour agreement with the Australian Government. Finally, the subsequent entrant stream is for members of the family unit of an applicant who wish to join the applicant in Australia.

While the Temporary Skills Shortage visa appears quite similar to this visa, applicants should be aware that the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa does have stricter conditions. Visa applicants will be required to live and work in designated regional areas around Australia for the length of the visa, with the Department able to request evidence of an applicant’s residential and employment location during the visa.

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa is valid for a period of five years. Applicants should be aware that there is a pathway for Australian permanent residency (and Australian citizenship if eligible) through this visa subclass.

Eligibility criteria for a subclass 494 SESR visa in Australia

To be eligible for a SESR visa, visa applicants will be required to meet several requirements outlined by the Department of Home Affairs. Although the specific requirements can be found on the Department’s website, the following is a summary of their requirements. Applicants should be aware that failing to meet these requirements can result in the applicant being ineligible for this visa.

  • The applicant must have an approved sponsor who is a Standard Business Sponsor lodge a nomination for the position which the applicant will fill
  • The applicant must hold a valid passport
  • The applicant must have been approved by the relevant Regional Certifying Body
  • The applicant’s occupation must be identified on the relevant skilled occupation list 
  • The applicant must have a minimum of three years work experience in the nominated occupation
  • The applicant must have a valid relevant skills assessment outcome from the relevant assessment authority
  • The applicant must have all the required qualifications, registrations and licences as required for the nominated occupation
  • The applicant must meet the relevant English language requirements
  • The applicant must meet the Department’s various health and character requirements

An Australian Migration Agent can assist applicants in assessing if they are eligible for an SESR visa if they are unsure if they meet the Department’s requirements.

Benefits of the subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

There are numerous benefits associated with a 494 visa.

Primarily, the SESR visa facilitates an applicant’s migration to Australia in their chosen occupation, and allows them to experience the high standard of living and working conditions that other Australian workers receive. Furthermore, the visa allows for eligible family members to also migrate to Australia where they may not have been eligible for another visa type. While the condition on applicants to reside and work in designated regional areas appears restrictive, the definition of a regional area covers large parts of Australia within proximity to major cities.

Further benefits of the SESR visa include:

  • A pathway to Australian permanent residency after three years of full-time work (other eligibility criteria apply) 
  • Faster visa processing times
  • Work and study rights within Australia
  • Access to Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare)
  • Unrestricted travel in and out of Australia
  • Networking and professional development opportunities in Australia
  • Eligible members of the family unit also have full work and study rights

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494 visa checklist

To make an application for a SESR visa, applicants are required to provide further documents and relevant evidence beyond the application form. While it is difficult to provide a complete list of what is required for each specific application, the following should be included in most SESR visa applications.

  • Passport
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Divorce/death certificate for previous spouse (if applicable)
  • Proof of name change (if applicable)
  • National identity card (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate (for applicants under 18)
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Current CV or resume
  • Evidence of relevant qualifications
  • Suitable skills assessment outcome
  • Evidence of registration or licencing (if applicable)
  • Reference letters from former employers
  • Signed employment contract
  • Position details
  • Evidence of Labour Market Testing
  • Salary details
  • Regional Certifying Body (RCB) approval
  • Military service record or discharge papers (if applicable)
  • Medical checks 
  • Police clearance certificates from former countries of residence 
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency

How the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) 494 visa works

The SESR application process occurs over four different stages. A summary of these stages can be found below.

The first stage of the application process is that the employer who is sponsoring the applicant’s visa must become a Standard Business Sponsor. This will allow them to make valid nominations for the purposes of a SESR visa.

Secondly, depending on the location of the sponsored position, employers will need to receive approval from the relevant Regional Certifying Body. This process is similar to the first stage and is required in order to make a valid nomination.

The third stage revolves around the sponsoring employer making the valid nomination. This needs to identify the relevant position and occupation within the business that is being filled by the applicant. The applicant must meet the requirements for both the position and relevant occupation in order to be eligible for the nomination. 

The final stage for applicants is making the visa application. This includes the applicant providing the relevant application form, paying the requisite application fee and attaching any relevant documents or supporting evidence.

The Department will then assess the applicant’s suitability for the nominated role, and provide an outcome to the applicant based on the information provided. Applicants should be aware that while applications can be lodged as soon as the nomination is submitted to the Department, this is generally not advisable as any issues with the nomination will affect the grant of the visa.

Future visa pathways after your 494 visa

Like the Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) visa, SESR visa holders have a pathway to permanent residence through the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (subclass 191) visa. Applicants can apply for this after working for three years for their sponsoring employer and can do so without requiring a nomination from that employer. Applicants who receive permanent residency are able to apply for Australian citizenship if eligible should they wish to do so.

Benefits of using a registered migration agent for your 494 visa

While applicants and sponsoring employers can undertake the visa application process on their own, seeking the assistance of a registered migration agent, such as an Australian Migration Agent, can help maximise the prospects of success for any applicant. At Australian Migration Agents, we are experienced and knowledgeable in Australian immigration law and policy, including in relation to skilled visas. Furthermore, applying for a SESR visa can be complex and intricate, so engaging an Australian Migration Agent can ensure that applications are ‘decision-ready’ and include all of the relevant information and supporting evidence required by the Department. An Australian Migration Agent can assist at any time and at any stage in the process, assisting through:

  • Consultation and engagement
  • Preparation and support
  • Submission and communication 
  • Representation and success

If applicants, their families or sponsoring employers want assistance applying for an SESR application, contact an Australian Migration Agent.

494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa costs

SESR applicants should be aware that there are two main sets of costs that are associated with making a SESR application:

Department Fees

The relevant fees for the Department of Home Affairs in relation to an SESR application are as follows:

  • Sponsorship stage - application fee $420
  • Nomination stage - Skilling Australians Fund levy $3,000-5,000 (based on business turnover)
  • Visa stage - visa application charge $4,640 (for both the primary applicant and subsequent applicants)

Professional Fees

At Australian Migration Agents, we base our pricing on the unique requirements of each client, recognising that no two applications are the same. We do this by using a fixed-fee model, providing our clients with transparency and predictability surrounding the costs associated with making their visa application, something different to other legal billing approaches. Furthermore, we offer diverse payment options and plans to provide accessibility to our services, despite the financial situation of our clients.

Applicants should be aware that they may incur additional costs relating to their skills assessment and Regional Certifying Body approval which can differ depending on the relevant authority.

Visa application steps

The visa application process can be challenging and time-consuming, but our team at Australian Migration Agents handles this daily and understands the requirements needed for successful outcomes. Get in touch to discuss your eligibility and explore the most budget-friendly services available to you.

Book a consultation

Step 1

Consultation and engagement

Organise a consultation time to speak with one of our agents. You can meet with us in person, via Zoom or telephone. Following this, we will send you paperwork that confirms our engagement to represent you.

Step 2

Preparation and submission

We will prepare written submissions in support of your visa application. This will be based on your individual circumstances, and supported by evidence where appropriate. We then submit your application to the relevant body (Department of Home Affairs, courts or tribunal)

Step 3

Representation and success

We will keep you informed about your application, and notify you of the outcome. If you receive an unfavourable outcome and we can reapply, we will!

494 Visa Processing times

The processing time for a visa application can fluctuate depending on various factors. While some of these factors are intrinsic to the Department’s processes and current workload, they can also relate to delays caused by providing the Department incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate applications. As applications are processed on a case-by-case basis, it can be challenging to predict the effects of these factors on any given application, making it hard to provide a timeline for the application process.

However, the Department does provide provisional estimates to applicants on their website about the processing times for different visa types. At the current time, a SESR visa can take between four to eight months to be granted after the application has been validly made. This can only be done following the approval of the employer’s sponsorship and nomination.

To receive guidance about what to expect during the application process, how long this may take or how to make a ‘decision-ready’ application to minimise any avoidable delays, contact an Australian Migration Agent.

Subclass 494 Visa considerations

An Australian Migration Agent cannot guarantee that a SESR visa will be granted following a successful lodgement of an application. This is because the Department retains sole discretion in relation to the adjudication of visa applications. Despite this, an Australian Migration Agent will endeavour to help applicants make strong ‘decision-ready’ applications that meet all of the requirements set by the Department to maximise the chances of a successful outcome.

At Australian Migration Agents, we are committed to helping individuals and businesses seek SESR visas, so if you or your employer need assistance, information or guidance, please contact us regardless of what stage of the process you are in.

Australia-wide services

Our skilled team offers in-person and virtual appointments, which means we can provide immigration assistance and advice regardless of where you live in Australia.  

Frequently asked questions

Read our most frequently asked questions

What is a skilled employer-sponsored provisional 494 visa?

As detailed above, the 494 visa is an employer sponsored visa that allows skilled overseas workers to migrate to Australia to address identified labour shortages in areas where an appropriately skilled Australian worker is not available.

What are the regional areas for a 494 visa?

The definition of a ‘designated regional area’ for the purpose of a 494 visa is expansive and extends to most areas outside of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. As a result, there are limited restrictions on where an SESR visa holder can work and live.

Does 494 lead to permanent residence?

The 494 visa does provide applicants with a pathway to Australian permanent residence. This is through the subclass 191 visa. SESR visa holders will typically be eligible to apply for this visa after 3 years of full time work in Australia. A nomination from an applicant’s sponsoring employer is not required.

What is the difference between 494 and 482 visas?

While the two visas seem similar on the surface, the key difference between them is the occupations that are eligible for the visa and the location of the employment. 

Applicants under a 482 visa can fall into an occupation on the short term or medium to long term skilled occupation lists, whereas a 494 visa applicant must fall into an occupation on the medium to long term skilled occupation list or regional occupation list.

Furthermore, SESR visa applicants must live and work in a designated regional area for the duration of the visa, and can be subject to requests for evidence of this visa condition.

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