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491 – Eligibility

491 – Eligibility

Be invited to apply

You can only apply for this visa if we invite you to.

Submit an expression of interest (EOI) in SkillSelect to let us know you would like to apply for the visa.

Indicate if an eligible relative is going to sponsor you for this visa or if you want a state or territory government agency to nominate you.

Be nominated or sponsored

You must be either nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or indicate that you will be sponsored by an eligible relative. See below for more information.

Submit an expression of interest (EOI) for the visa to get an estimate of your points score. 

If you score enough points, state and territory government agencies can see your EOI and might nominate you for the visa.

If you indicate in your EOI that you will be sponsored by an eligible relative the Department may invite you to apply for a visa in an invitation round.

Nomination by an Australian state or territory government agency

If you are nominated for the visa, we will invite you to apply. All state and territory government agencies have their own criteria for deciding who they will nominate.

Contact the state or territory agency directly to find out more about their nomination process and what they want from you.

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

Sponsorship by an eligible relative

Your sponsor must be:

  • 18 years old or older
  • usually resident in a designated area of Australia
  • be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • be your eligible relative or your partner’s eligible relative if your partner is also applying for this visa

An eligible relative can be:

  • a parent
  • a child or step-child
  • a brother, sister, adoptive brother, adoptive sister, step-brother or step-sister
  • an aunt, uncle, adoptive aunt, adoptive uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle
  • a nephew, niece, adoptive nephew, adoptive niece, step-nephew or step-niece
  • a grandparent, or
  • a first cousin

We must approve your sponsorship before you can be granted a visa.

Be this age

You must be aged under 45 to be invited to apply for the visa.

You can still apply for the visa if you turn 45 after we invite you to apply.

If you turn 45 after you submit your EOI but before we invite you to apply you will not receive an invite.

Have a suitable skills assessment

For your application to be valid, you must declare that you have a suitable skills assessment at time of invitation.

Delegates of the Minister will now accept a suitable skills assessment for an applicant’s nominated skilled occupation which has been obtained within the 60 day invitation period.

This change of approach is made as a result of the decision of Thapa v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs [2021] FCCA 686 (Thapa). The Minister will administer the Migration Regulations 1994 in accordance with the decision in Thapa, but the Minister reserves the right to make submissions in a Court that Thapa was wrongly decided.

You will need to provide a copy of this skills assessment with your application.

For medical and legal practitioners, we also accept the following as proof of a skills assessment:

  • full or unconditional or general medical registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • conditional specialist registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. This only allows you to practise in your speciality. You need no further training or supervision
  • admission to practice law in the relevant state or territory

Your skills assessment must have been obtained in the 3 years before the date of your invitation. If the assessment was for a shorter period, that period must not have passed.

If your skills were assessed on the basis of a qualification you got in Australia when you held a student visa, the qualification must be from studying a course registered on CRICOS. 

Be able to score 65 points or more

The subclass 491 is a points-tested visa.

When you submit your EOI in SkillSelect you will be given an indicative points score based on the claims you have made. If you do not obtain a score of 65 points you will not be invited to apply for this visa.

If we do invite you to apply for the visa, your invitation will state the number of points that you must score when we assess your application for grant of the visa (this score may be higher than 65 points, depending on your claims in the EOI).  

When you lodge your application you must provide evidence supporting your claims. 

To check how points can be awarded refer to the points table.

Have this level of English language

At the time of invitation, you must have at least Competent English.

Information about family members 18 years old or older

If a family member 18 years or older is applying for the visa with you, either:

  • they must have functional English or
  • they must pay a second instalment visa application charge

Meet the skills requirement

Your occupation must be on the combined list of eligible skilled occupations for a Skilled Regional (subclass 491) visa.

Meet our health requirement:

You and any family members who apply for the visa with you must meet our health requirement. If requested, family members not accompanying you to Australia might also need to meet our health requirement.

Meet our character requirement

You and family members aged 16 years and over who apply for the visa with you must meet our character requirement. Family members not accompanying you to Australia must also meet the character requirement.

Have paid back your debt to the Australian government

If you or any family members (including those who do not apply for the visa with you) owe the Australian Government money, you or they must have paid it back or arranged to pay it back.

Sign the Australian values statement

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must:

  • have read, or had explained to you, the Life in Australia and
  • confirm you will respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws when you sign an Australian Values Statement 

Not have had a visa cancelled or a previous application refused

You might not be eligible for this visa if you have had a visa cancelled or refused while you were in Australia. Check if visa cancellation affects your eligibility.