The new visas to attract more skilled workers to Regional Australia



In September 2018, we reported that the Australian Government was considering pushing new migrants to settle in Regional Australia. Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced changes to the immigration program in an effort to tackle congestion in the cities and to support the economic growth of small towns and regions. These changes include introducing two new regional visas for skilled workers in November 2019, introducing new scholarships to encourage Australian and international students to study in regional Australia and giving international graduates from regional universities access to an additional year on a post-study work visa.

What are the new regional visas?

The two new regional visas to be introduced in November 2019 are the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa and the Skilled Work Regional Visa. The first visa requires people to be sponsored by an employer in Regional Australia. The latter requires people to be nominated by a State or Territory government, or to be sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia. Some of the incentives of these temporary visas include access to additional skilled occupations and priority processing of applications. Almost 700 eligible occupations can be accessed for the Employer Sponsored Visa, while over 500 occupations are eligible for the Skilled Work Regional Visa. The visas will be granted for a period of up to 5 years.

Which areas in Australia are considered regional?

The Federal Government has simplified and expanded the definition of Regional Australia. From November 2019, Regional Australia will include all areas in Australia with the exception of the following metropolitan areas:

  • Sydney

  • Melbourne

  • Brisbane

  • Gold Coast

  • Perth

Is there a pathway to gaining permanent residence?

Another strong incentive of the new visas is that there will be a pathway to permanent residence. Migrants who hold either of the two new visas will be required to live and work in Regional Australia for at least three years before they are eligible to apply for permanent residence. From November 2022, the regional visa holders will be able to apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa.

I have already applied for a regional visa, will this new change affect me?

If you have already applied for one of the existing regional visas such as the Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Visa, Subclass 489 Skilled (Regional) Provisional Visa or Subclass 887 Skilled (Regional) Residence Visa, these changes will not impact you. Any applications lodged prior to November 2019 will continue to be processed as normal and existing holders of permanent visas will not be impacted.

If you are interested in living and working in Regional Australia and want to know what options are available to you now or after November 2019, contact us on 0404 010 815 or email us at to arrange a consultation.