SUBCLASS 489 & 187 VISAS ABOLISHED!

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A similar situation arose, mid-March last year, when the subclass 457 visa was replaced with the subclass 482 visa. To clear the confusion we published an article, ‘You can no longer apply for a 457 visa?

On 16 November 2019, two more visa subclasses will be replaced, being:

  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa by the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (SWR) (subclass 491) visa; and
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa by the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) (subclass 494) visa.
Subclass 491 visa

Prospective applicants are looking forward to the temporary visa subclass 491 which will be granted for 5 years. Each year, 14,000 places will be allocated.

Key features are:

  • The word ‘regional’ is simplified, making it any region except:

– Brisbane;

– Melbourne; and

– Sydney.

  • It will have over 500 occupations.
  • The visa applicant must be earning a minimum wage of $53,900.00 per annum for 3 years before becoming eligible for Australian Permanent Residency via another new subclass 191 visa, commencing 16 November 2022.
  • The visa applicant will be able to move from one regional area to another.
  • It will be a points-based visa. Interestingly, an applicant will be able to obtain an additional 10 points if:

– Single/un-married; or

– Married with a partner who has Competent English.

  • The two old streams being, nominations by State/Territory and sponsored by family, will continue.
  • Similar to the subclass 489 visa, the applicant must submit an expression of Interest through SkillSelect; however, priority processing will be introduced such as applicants with partners having Competent English or those who are single/un-married will be given utmost priority.
Subclass 494 visa

Key features are:

  • Similar to the subclass 187 visa, the subclass 494 visa will remain a 3 step process being:

– Sponsorship – notably, this visa will not establish a new sponsorship class;

– Nomination; and

– Visa application.

  • The subclass 494 visa will have 2 streams, being:

– Employer sponsored; and

– Labour agreement.

  • Applicants will require a minimum period of 3 years of work experience.
  • Labour Market Testing must be undertaken by the Nominator. The International Trade Obligations exemption will not be applicable.
  • The SAF contribution must be paid.
Transitional arrangements for the subclass 187 visa:
  • New subclass 187 direct entry stream applications will not be allowed after 16 November 2019.
  • Temporary Residence Transition stream applications will only be allowed if the visa applicant is either a transitional subclass 457 worker or a transitional subclass 482 worker.
  • Subclass 187 nominations lodged before 16 November 2019 will be withdrawn (on this date) if the said nomination is not approved/refused and nominee is not a transitional subclasses 457/482 worker and visa application is not lodged before the above date.

The new visa subclasses and transitional arrangements may appear overwhelming and confusing for the applicants, similar to last year’s scenario, when the subclass 457 visa was abolished. It is highly recommended that potential applicants avoid jeopardising their application and seek professional advice.


Naga Putchala is a Senior Paralegal at Stephens and Tozer, also admitted as a Lawyer in India. Having worked with an immigration advice centre in Melbourne, before moving to Brisbane, has equipped her with substantial knowledge in Australian Migration Law, be it a Visa or Citizenship matter.  Co-author, Elizabeth-Erin Valassakis, is a Law Student gaining significant experience in various areas of law, at Stephens and Tozer. If you have any queries with regards to Australian Migration, please feel free to contact our migration team.

25 October 2019

Category: All / Migration