Difference Between 189 and 491 Visa Australia - Cost, Requirements, Time

Difference Between 189 and 491 Visa Australia

If you are dreaming of a colorful life in Australia, the Subclass 189 and 491 visas may be the perfect opportunity for you! Skilled professionals from all over the world are attracted to this country because of its beautiful scenery, strong economy, and diverse culture. To help you find your way through the maze that is Australian immigration, it is important to understand how these two types of visas differ. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the difference between 189 and 491 visa so that it will be easy for you to choose which path best suits your needs on the journey toward Australia.

Understanding the Difference Between Subclass 189 & Subclass 491 Visas

The key difference between the Subclass 189 and 491 visas lies in their permanence. The Subclass 189 Skilled Independent Visa (Permanent) grants permanent residency in Australia, allowing you to live, work, and study anywhere in the country. On the other hand, the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa is a temporary five-year visa with a pathway to permanent residency after meeting specific requirements. Both visas cater to skilled professionals in occupations listed on the Australian government’s Skilled Occupation Lists (SOLs) but differ in their prerequisites and long-term benefits.

Requirements for Subclass 189 & Subclass 491 Visas

FeatureSubclass 189 (Skilled Independent)Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional)
Visa TypePermanent ResidencyTemporary (with pathway to permanent residency)
NominationThe minimum score required in an approved English language testMay be required by a State or Territory Government
Skill AssessmentMandatory positive skills assessment from a relevant assessing authorityMandatory positive skills assessment from a relevant assessing authority
English Language RequirementMinimum score required in an approved English language testThe minimum score required in an approved English language test
Points TestMust achieve a minimum score in the points-based system based on factors like age, work experience, qualifications, and English language proficiencyPoints test may or may not apply depending on State/Territory nomination

Documents Needed for Subclass 189 & Subclass 491 Visas

The core documents required for both visas are similar, including:

  • Completed visa application form
  • Valid passport
  • Skill assessment results
  • Educational certificates and transcripts
  • Proof of work experience
  • English language test results
  • Medical examination results
  • Character references
  • Police certificates (if applicable)

However, the Subclass 491 visa application might require additional documents depending on the State/Territory nomination process.

Costs Involved in Subclass 189 & Subclass 491 Visas

The visa application fees for both Subclass 189 and 491 visas are subject to change, but here’s a general breakdown:

  • Subclass 189: Visa application fee (around AUD$1,435) + Skill assessment fee (varies depending on the assessing authority) + Healthcare levy (around AUD$70 for each applicant)
  • Subclass 491: Visa application fee (around AUD$715) + Skill assessment fee (varies depending on the assessing authority) + Healthcare levy (around AUD$70 for each applicant) + Possible State/Territory nomination fee (varies)

Processing Times for Subclass 189 & Subclass 491 Visas

Processing times for both visas can fluctuate depending on individual circumstances and case complexity. However, a general estimate is:

  • Subclass 189: Processing times can range from several months to a year or more due to the high volume of applications.
  • Subclass 491: Processing times might be faster, particularly for applications with State/Territory nomination, as these are generally prioritized.

What are the benefits of the Subclass 491 Visa (Skilled Work Regional) in Australia?

  • Faster processing times: Subclass 491 visas often experience faster processing compared to Subclass 189 visas, especially with State/Territory nomination.
  • Lower application costs: The Subclass 491 visa application fee is generally lower than the Subclass 189 visa.
  • A wider range of occupations: The Subclass 491 visa may offer a broader selection of eligible occupations on the Regional Occupation List (ROL) compared to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for Subclass 189.
  • Pathway to permanent residency: After meeting specific regional work experience requirements, Subclass 491 visa holders can apply for permanent residency.

What are the benefits of the Subclass 189 Visa (Skilled Independent) in Australia?

  • Permanent residency from the outset: The Subclass 189 visa grants permanent residency from the very beginning, offering greater freedom and flexibility to live, work, and study anywhere in Australia.
  • No nomination required: Unlike the Subclass 491 visa, the Subclass 189 visa application doesn’t require sponsorship or nomination from a State/Territory government, allowing for a more independent immigration pathway.
  • Wider career opportunities: While the Subclass 491 visa focuses on regional occupations, the Subclass 189 visa aligns with the national SOL, potentially opening doors to a broader range of career opportunities across Australia.
  • Entitlements and benefits: Permanent residents under the Subclass 189 visa enjoy access to various government benefits like Medicare (Australia’s public healthcare system) and social security programs.

Choosing Between Subclass 189 and Subclass 491 Visas

Factor to ConsiderSubclass 189 (Skilled Independent)Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional)
Visa TypePermanent ResidencyTemporary (with pathway to permanent residency)
Nomination RequirementNot RequiredMay be required by a State or Territory Government
Processing TimesGenerally longerIt may be more focused on regional needs (ROL)
Application CostsHigherLower
Occupation OptionsWider range on the MLTSSLIt may require residing and working in a specific region
Lifestyle FlexibilityLive and work anywhere in AustraliaMay require residing and working in a specific region
Pathway to Permanent ResidencyNot applicable (already permanent resident)Requires meeting regional work experience criteria

Ultimately, the best choice between the Subclass 189 and 491 visas depends on your individual circumstances and aspirations.

Expert Tips for a Smooth Visa Application Process

  • Skill Assessment: Ensure you obtain a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for your chosen profession. This is a crucial step for both Subclass 189 and 491 visas.
  • Meet the Points Test: For the Subclass 189 visa, meticulously assess your points under the Australian points calculator to understand your eligibility and potentially improve your score through additional qualifications or work experience.
  • State/Territory Sponsorship (Subclass 491): Research State/Territory nomination programs that align with your skills and explore their specific requirements and application processes.
  • Complete Documentation: Ensure all required documents are complete, accurate, and translated into English by a certified translator if necessary.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: Consider consulting a registered immigration agent for personalized advice and assistance with navigating the complexities of the visa application process.

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Conclusion

Embarking on your Australian visa journey can be an exciting yet daunting experience. Understanding the intricacies of the Subclass 189 and 491 visas empowers you to make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals. By carefully considering the factors outlined above and seeking professional guidance if needed, you can increase your chances of a successful visa application and pave the way for a fulfilling life in Australia. Remember, with dedication and the right approach, your dream of calling Australia home can become a reality.

FAQ

What is the difference between visa 189 190 and 491?

Visa 189 is a points-based permanent visa for skilled workers. Visa 190 is similar but requires state/territory nomination. Visa 491 is a temporary regional visa needing state/territory or family sponsorship, leading to potential permanent residency later.

Can a 491 visa holder apply for 189?

Yes, a 491 visa holder can apply for an 189 visa if they meet the eligibility criteria, such as the required points, occupation, skills assessment, and English proficiency. The 491 visa status does not restrict applying for an 189 visa.

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