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Regional Skill Sponsor Visa sub 489 Up date NSW.

As noted by the MA:  Northern Inland NSW updated requirements relating to subclass 489 – regional visas.  Updates include minimum pass mark in order to obtain a subclass 489 visa, removal of certain occupations from the regional list as well as criteria for obtaining a release letter (applicable to existing 489 visa holders)

To apply to Regional Development Australia Northern Inland for Skilled Regional Sponsorship the applicant is expected to make a commitment as well as to make a genuine effort to satisfy 489 visa conditions in the region – full-time equivalent employment for at least 12 months and living in the regional area for at least 2 years.

The applicant is expected to make genuine attempts to find work in Northern Inland NSW. If an applicant has applied from within Australia, NSW Government expects the applicant to relocate to the region within 3 months of receiving the Visa Grant Notice.

Subclass 489 visas are subject to Condition 8549.  A person whose visa is subject to condition 8549 must live, work and study only in an area specified as a designated area of Australia.

When applying for a provisional points-tested skilled migration visa, applicants sign an undertaking that they understand and accept the conditions associated with the visa. However, under policy, it is consistent with the intention of the condition that a visa holder who continues to be employed in a specified regional area and continues to reside in a specified regional area might travel to an area outside a specified regional area for work or recreational purposes such as:

  • for once-off business reasons
  • a brief holiday or
  • to undertake training for work.

The following occupations were removed from the RDA Northern Inland Occupation List on Thursday 11 October 2018:

  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) 254412
  • Registered Nurse (Child & Family Health) 254413
  • Registered Nurse (Community Health) 254414
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) 254415
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) 254418
  • Registered Nurse (Medical Practice) 254421

The following occupations were removed from the RDA Northern Inland Occupation List on Friday 28 September 2018. Applications received before this time will be considered BUT they must be complete applications, with all requirements met or a negative outcome may result:

  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) 254423
  • Registered Nurse (Surgical) 254424
  • Chef 351311
  • Cook 351411
  • Structural Engineer 233214
  • Construction Project Manager 133111
  • Engineering Manager 133211
  • Geotechnical Engineer 233212

Updated list can be found here:

Whilst there is no set processing time for subclass 489 visas, NSW Government will endeavor to consider applications within 6 months of nomination lodgments.


Applying for a release letter:

A “Release Letter”, releasing a 489-visa holder from their obligation to their assigned region may not be granted without the visa holder showing that they have taken serious steps to relocate to or remain in this region, through seeking employment. Such a letter can provide peace-of-mind when a skilled migrant need to broaden their job search beyond their nominating region.

RDA Northern Inland has been informed that 489 visa holders do not need a “Release Letter” for their permanent 887 visa application.

887 Pathway

Subclass 489 may lead to permanent residency assuming all applicable criteria is met.  If the applicant’s objective is to obtain permanent residence, they will need to apply for a subclass 887 visa.

This is a permanent visa for people who have lived and worked in specified areas of regional Australia. Visa sub-class 489 recipients are eligible to apply for this.

The requirements include having:

  • lived in a regional Australia/low population growth metropolitan area for at least two years if you were nominated by a state or territory government
  • lived in a designated area of Australia for at least two years if you were sponsored by an eligible relative
  • worked full time (usually at least 35 hours a week) in a specified regional area for at least a year while you held your eligible visa
  • complied with the conditions attached to your eligible visa or your Bridging visa.

An applicant can meet the work requirement if they worked at least 35 hours a week in one full-time job or in two part-time jobs.  Prospect applicants can include any paid employment or self-employment, and they will need to be able to provide evidence of employment claims

So if you or anyone you know is thinking of applying for a 489 visa, TRUST ONLY a Master Migration Lawyer and make an appointment with AR LAW Services: Master Migration Lawyer.

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Call 03 9614 0218 or email to make an initial 30 Minute consultation at our Melbourne office. (conditions apply)

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Note: this update, or any previous updates on this page, do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please call our office to seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content on this page