Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494)


The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494) is a crucial tool for regional employers to address labour shortages by sponsoring skilled workers.

It not only benefits regional businesses but also provides opportunities for skilled workers to contribute to regional development in Australia.

Applications for a Subclass 494 Visa may be made in or outside Australia, though overseas applicants must hold a substantive visa or a Bridging Visa A, B, or C.


Designated Regional Areas for Subclass 494 Visa Holders


Subclass 494 Visa holders are required to reside in designated regional areas of Australia, excluding major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

This geographical restriction ensures that the skilled workforce is directed towards regions experiencing labour shortages, promoting balanced economic growth across the country.


Duration & Flexibility for Subclass 494 Visa Holders


Subclass 494 Visa holders can work and study in Australia for up to five years.

This provides not only employment opportunities but also the chance for personal and professional development through education.

Additionally, family members (subsequent entrants) can be included in the visa application, fostering a sense of unity for families relocating to Australia.

Despite being a provisional visa, Subclass 494 holders are not subject to any travel restrictions, offering flexibility for international travel as needed.


Age Requirements for the Subclass 494 Visa


Generally, applicants must be under 45 years of age to apply for the Subclass 494 Visa.

Applicants aged 45 years or more may apply through the Employer Sponsored stream if:

  • Nominated as an academic by an Australian university;
  • Nominated as a scientist, researcher, or technical (scientific) specialist by an Australian scientific government agency;
  • Nominated as a medical practitioner and have been sponsored for 3 years before applying as the holder of a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) or Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) visa, with at least 2 years of this time employed in regional Australia;
  • Have held a Special Category (subclass 444) visa or New Zealand citizen’s family member (subclass 461) visa for the last 3 years before applying and have worked for the nominating employer for at least 2 years of that time; or
  • Have held a subclass 457 or Subclass 482 visa for the last 3 years, have worked in the nominated occupation for the nominating employer for the 3 years, and have annual earnings (each of those 3 years) that were no less than the Fair Work High Income Threshold ($167,500 as of 1 July 2023).

More about the Employer Sponsored stream below.

Subclass 494 Visa applicants aged 45 or more may also be eligible if documented in their labour agreement.


Meeting the Subclass 494 Visa Requirements


Subclass 494 Visa applicants must meet certain requirements, including:

Each stream also has its own additional requirements.


Varied Streams of Subclass 494 Visa


Applicants may apply for the Subclass 494 Visa via one of the following streams:

  1. Employer Sponsored stream;
  2. Labour Agreement stream; or
  3. Subsequent Entrant stream.


1. Employer Sponsored Stream


Applicants must have been employed in the nominated occupation for at least 3 years on a full-time basis to apply for the Employer Sponsored stream.

The applicant’s employer must lodge a nomination application before the visa applicant can apply.

Applicants must demonstrate they are skilled in the nominated occupation (this may be done via the skills assessment test).

If the applicant holds a visa where a skill assessment was a requirement, they may not need to undergo another assessment (such as the 457 or 482 visas).

Generally, the relevant skilled work experience must have been accumulated in the last 5 years on a part- or full-time basis.

Applicants must also have competent English.


2. Labour Agreement Stream


Applicants working for an employer with a labour agreement may be eligible to apply for the Labour Agreement stream.

The terms of the labour agreement will determine the level of English language skills and occupational skills needed to apply for the stream.

Applicants aged 45 or more may also be eligible if documented in their labour agreement.


3. Subsequent Entrant Stream


The Subsequent Entrant stream is for family members of a Subclass 494 Visa holder who are applying for their own Subclass 494 Visa and aim to join the primary visa holder in Australia.

Subsequent Entrant stream applicants must be under 45 years of age.

The sponsor (employer) of the primary Subclass 494 Visa holder (or main applicant) must agree to include the Subsequent Entrant stream applicant as a family member in their nomination.

Generally, applicants must also have functional English language skills (concessions may apply if the applicant has paid the second instalment of the visa application charge).


Contact Us


For more information about the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494), contact Bambrick Legal today. We can confirm your eligibility and help you apply for your visa.

Read more about our Visa and Migration services here.

Related Blog – Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186)

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