The Australian Government has stated that it is committed to supporting migrants to settle in regional areas and has announced changes to the immigration program to strengthen the economy and boost regional and rural communities.

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Visa Details:


  • 2 new skilled regional provisional visas that provide a pathway to permanent residence
  • a new skilled regional permanent resident visa
  • a refined definition of ‘regional Australia’ for migration purposes
  • additional points under the Skilled Migration Points Test for skilled migrants nominated to live and work in regional Australia
  • more options for international students who graduate from regional universities

The two new regional visas are:

  1. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) – for people nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia.
  2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) – for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia

To be eligible for permanent residence, holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to show they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of these visas. They can then apply for the Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) from November 2022.

Under the changes, regional employers will have access to:

  • more regional occupations to sponsor migrants to work in regional Australia
  • priority processing of regional visa applications
  • additional points for certain points-tested migrants who are sponsored to settle in regional Australia.

International graduates from a regional campus can apply for a second Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) with an extra year of post-study work. The second Temporary Graduate visa will require ongoing residence in a regional area. International students need to graduate from a regional campus with a bachelor degree or higher qualification and then spend at least two years living in a regional area. This means applicants can apply from 2021.

There is no change to Student visas. This option is available as an initiative for international students to study and live in regional Australia.

Eligible regional areas

Most locations outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are defined as regional areas.