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Which employer sponsored regional visa? Subclass 482 or subclass 494 visa?

Which employer sponsored regional visa is right for me

Encouraging new migrants to settle in regional Australia has the potential to support these communities and promote growth by providing skills that continue to support their industrial and commercial activity. The Federal government has created a new employer-sponsored ‘Regional Visa’ in order to achieve this.

How is this new employer-sponsored visa different from the TSS Subclass 482 Visa? The following article outlines the main features and requirements of each visa and highlights their key differences.

Temporary skill shortage program (subclass 482)

Sc 482 (Medium Term Stream)
SponsorSBS for Australian (SBS) or overseas business (OBS)
Position LocationAnywhere in Australia
Position TypeFull-time
Duration4 years
CostMain applicant: $2,645
Each dependent (> 18 years): $2, 645
Each dependent (< 18 years): $660
Occupation ListsMLTSSL, 482 ROL
Work Experience2 years relevant work experience
Skills AssessmentOnly required for certain occupations and passport holders*
Age RequirementNone
Language RequirementMust have vocational level of English (i.e. IELTS 5, PTE 36)
ConditionsMay only work for sponsoring business unless an exemption applies (condition 8607)
The following occupations may work for other businesses: Chief executive or managing director, Corporate general manager, General medical practitioner, Resident medical officer, Anesthetist, Specialist physician (general medicine), Cardiologist, Clinical hematologist, Medical oncologist, Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Intensive care specialist, Neurologist, Pediatrician, Renal medicine specialist, Rheumatologist, Thoracic medicine specialist, Specialist medicine (nec), Psychiatrist, Surgeon (general), Cardiothoracic surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Orthopedic surgeon, Otorhinolaryngologist, Paediatric surgeon, Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Urologist, Vascular surgeon, Dermatologist, Emergency medicine specialist, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Ophthalmologist, Pathologist, Diagnostic and interventional radiologist, Radiation oncologist, Medical practitioners (nec)
Must maintain adequate health insurance
PR PathwayNo sponsorship required
Individual applicant can apply for PR (Sc 191) if Sc 494 held for at least 3 years
May also apply for Sc 189 or 190 if invited
*we can determine if you will require a skills assessment.

Regional employer sponsored visa program (subclass 494 – employer sponsored stream)

The recently released Regional Visa program offers a 5-year visa with a pathway to permanent residency, which is not contingent upon employer sponsorship. However, there are a number of requirements that are likely to negatively outweigh this benefit and have the effect of deterring applications.  When compared with the Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482) requirements, the requirements seem to be more burdensome: positions must be located in ‘designated regional areas’, positions must be likely to exist for a minimum of 5 years, almost doubled visa application costs, higher English language level required, increased required work experience, mandatory skills assessment for primary applicants and age restrictions.

  Sc 494 (Employer Sponsored Stream)
SponsorSBS for Australian business only
Labour agreement for Australian business
Position Location Designated regional areas of Australia only
Position Type Full-time and likely to exist for 5 years
Duration 5 years
Cost Main applicant: $4,045Each dependent (> 18 years): $2,025
Each dependent (< 18 years): $1,010
Additional charge if any dependents are > 18 years old and do not have functional English: $4,890
Occupation ListsSTSOL, MLTSSL, 494 ROL
Work Experience3 years relevant work experience
Skills AssessmentMandatory skills assessment unless exemption applies
Age Requirement< 45 years
Language Requirement Must have competent level of English (i.e. IELTS 6, PTE 50)
Conditions May only work for sponsoring business unless an exemption applies (condition 8607)The following occupations may work for other businesses: Chief executive or managing  director, Corporate general manager, General medical practitioner, Resident medical officer, Anesthetist, Specialist physician (general medicine), Cardiologist, Clinical hematologist, Medical oncologist, Endocrinologist, Gastroenterologist, Intensive care specialist, Neurologist, Pediatrician, Renal medicine specialist, Rheumatologist, Thoracic medicine specialist, Specialist medicine (nec), Psychiatrist, Surgeon (general), Cardiothoracic surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Orthopedic surgeon, Otorhinolaryngologist, Paediatric surgeon, Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Urologist, Vascular surgeon, Dermatologist, Emergency medicine specialist, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Ophthalmologist, Pathologist, Diagnostic and interventional radiologist, Radiation oncologist, Medical practitioners (nec) Holders can access Medicare (no health insurance required)
PR PathwayNo sponsorship required
Individual applicant can apply for PR (Sc 191) if Sc 494 held for at least 3 years
May also apply for Sc 189 or 190 if invited.

How do the programs compare?

Overall, the programs are quite similar.

From an employer’s perspective there are certain reasons to prefer the Subclass 494, in particular where it grants a pathway to permanent residency for a number of occupations that would not normally qualify. The inclusion of a broader range of occupations will enable a larger number applicants and regional employers to access the program.

However, potential issues arise in relation to the blanket requirement for skills assessment for all occupations (creating time delays, additional work etc.) and the cost to the visa applicant (which is significantly higher than those associated with the Subclass 482).

From an employee perspective, the fees for the Subclass 494 are substantial and most requirements are higher making it far more complex to acquire. These high thresholds may be enough to deter applicants despite the obvious advantage of permanent residency pathways available to 494 holders.

PROS AND CONS: 482 v 494

 Sc 482 (Medium Term Stream)Sc 494 (Employer Sponsored Stream)
Pros – Australian and foreign businesses can sponsor
– More cost-effective
– No restriction on location
– Shorter work experience requirement
– Only certain professions/passport holders require skills assessment
– No age requirement
– Lower English requirement
– Longer validity period
– No sponsorship required for PR
– No health insurance required
Cons– Shorter validity period
– Employer sponsored PR if occupation on MLTSSL, unless transitional provisions apply.
– Health insurance mandatory  
– Only Australian businesses can sponsor
– Location restricted
– Less cost-effective
– Longer work experience requirement
– Mandatory skills assessment
– Age restriction
– Higher English language requirement