Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 494)

The Subclass 494 visa program is available to prospective applicants whose occupation is either on the Medium to Long Term Occupation List or the Regional Occupation List.  

You will need an employer to sponsor you, in much the same way as a TSS visa.

You will also need a Migration Skills Assessment in your nominated occupation, Competent English and three years’ full-time work experience in a relevant position (from the last five years).  

 There are three streams: 

  1. Employer-Sponsored Stream –  this stream allows regional employers to fill labour shortages within their region by sponsoring skilled workers where employers can’t source a skilled Australian worker. 
  1. Labour Agreement Stream – this stream allows skilled workers to be nominated by employers who have a labour agreement. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers. 
  1. Subsequent Entrant – this stream is for family members of a Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) holder who is applying separately for their SESR visa and wish to join the primary SESR visa holder in Australia. 

Subclass 494 visa holders can live, work and study only in designated regional areas of Australia for 5 years.

Once you have held your 494 visa for at least 3 years and complied with its conditions, then you will be eligible to apply for the subclass 191 which grants you permanent residence


    Applications Stages 

    There are 3 processing stages when sponsoring an employee from overseas under the Subclass 494 visa programme:  

    1) Sponsorship – The employer applies for approval to become a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS). 

    2) Nomination – The employer nominates a prospective visa applicant for the nominated position within their business. The starting point involves a “labour market testing” phase of 28 days’ duration. Only after this phase can the employer offer a contract of employment to the prospective employee. The visa applicant must be paid a salary that is commensurate with the “market” rate that any Australian in a similar position would be paid. 

    3) Visa application – The person nominated to work in the nominated occupation applies for the Subclass 494 visa. This is the final step to obtaining this visa pathway. 

    These 3 stages do not have to be done in sequence; Putt Legal has the experience to do all at the same time to reduce delays. 

      What Happens When?


      If you are lawfully operating a business within a designated regional area within Australia, and you are seeking to sponsor an overseas skilled worker under the Subclass 494 visa program, you must apply with the department to become an approved standard business sponsor (SBS). Then you must nominate a position to be filled.  

      If applying under a Labour agreement, please speak to our team before applying for an SBS. 

      You can lodge a nomination application indicating the nominated position within your business, and the proposed overseas skilled worker, at the same time that you submit your application for SBS approval. 


      If you are an overseas skilled worker, and the business that has nominated you has an approved SBS and is lawfully operating within a designated regional area within Australia, you can apply for a Subclass 494 visa. 

      This is a general overview of the Subclass 494 visa process. We encourage you to make an appointment with Putt Legal to find out more.  


      Let our Immigration Lawyers help you with Employer Sponsorship applications today


      Putt Legal are your specialists in Immigration Law. We can assist you in making your migration to Australia seamless.

      The Australian visa process can be complex and confusing; our lawyers work with you to guide you through every step of the way.

      We are highly qualified and experienced in immigration law matters and are committed to providing expert advice in every individual case.

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