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Regional migration

The Australian Government is committed to supporting migrants to settle in regional areas.

The Australian Government has announced changes to our immigration program to strengthen our economy and boost our regional areas. The changes are:

  • 2 new skilled regional provisional visas that provide a pathway to permanent residence
  • a new skilled regional permanent resident visa
  • a refined definition of ‘regional Australia’ for migration purposes
  • additional points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for skilled migrants nominated to live and work in regional Australia
  • more options for international students who graduate from regional universities

These changes will support regional businesses and local communities thrive by getting the right skills into the right regions.

The Australian Government works closely with state, territory and local governments, and local communities, to attract migrants to regional areas. Skilled migrants settling in regional Australia have a diverse range of available occupations to match their experience, skills and qualifications.

Information session

We will be holding a free information session in Mackay on 19 November 2019 for employers and interested community members. To register go to regional-visas-mackay.eventbrite.com.au

New skilled regional visas

There are 2 new skilled regional provisional visas open for applications on 16 November 2019:  

  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) - for people nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) - for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia

To be eligible for permanent residence, holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to show they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of these visas. They can then apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) from November 2022.

Under the changes, regional employers will have access to:

  • more regional occupations to sponsor migrants to work in regional Australia
  • priority processing of regional visa applications
  • additional points for certain points-tested migrants who are sponsored to settle in regional Australia.

Note: there will be no impact to people who hold existing visas. Applications lodged before 16 November 2019 will be processed as normal.

International graduates studying in a regional area

International graduates from a regional campus can apply for a second Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) with an extra year of post-study work. The second Temporary Graduate visa will require ongoing residence in a regional area. 

International students need to graduate from a regional campus with a bachelor degree or higher qualification and then spend at least two years living in a regional area. This means applicants can apply from 2021.

There is no change to Student visas. This option is available as an initiative for international students to study and live in regional Australia.

Eligible regional areas

Most locations outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are defined as regional areas.

For further information see: Eligible regional areas.