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 3 years’ full-time work experience in a relevant position (from the last 5 years).  

Subclass 494 Visa Streams


There are three streams for this visa pathway: 

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

    Main Requirements and Benefits of Subclass 494

    Main Requirements

    You must: 

    • be nominated by an eligible employer
    • have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list 
    • have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation 


    Subclass 494 visa holders can: 

    • live, work and study only in designated regional areas of Australia for 5 years  
    • apply for permanent residence after at least 3 years  


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

    1) Sponsorship 

    The employer applies for approval as a standard business sponsor. 

    2) Nomination 

    The employer nominates an occupation for a prospective visa applicant. This involves a “labour market testing” phase of 28 days’ duration. This also involves the offer of a contract of employment to the prospective employee, after the “labour market testing” is complete.  The salary offered to the employee must be 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 the visa. 

    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 programme, you must lodge an application with the department to become an approved standard business sponsor. Then you must nominate a position to be filled. If applying under a Labour agreement please speak to our team prior to applying for standard business sponsorship. 

     You can lodge a nomination application indicating the nominated position within your business, and the proposed overseas skilled worker when you lodge your application for standard business sponsorship approval. 


    If you are an overseas skilled worker and have been nominated by a business that is an approved standard business sponsor that 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.  

    We Know Migration Matters 

    Migrate to Regional Australia


    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.

    Work Visas

    Coming to Australia to work? We can help!

    Visa Refusals & Cancellations

    Has your visa been refused or cancelled? Time is short! Let our expertise guide you.

    Legal Assistance for Migration Agents

    If you’d like us to advise or help you with a difficult case, arrange an appointment.

    Family Visas

    Are you looking to bring a child, parent or relative to Australia? We can help!

    Partner & Spouse Visas

    Are you looking to bring your partner or spouse to Australia? We can help!

    Appeal against Adverse Migration Decisions

    If you require help with an appeal against an adverse migration decision (refusal or cancellation), we can help!

    Talk to our friendly immigration team today!

    Pin It on Pinterest