Points-tested provisional visas and corresponding permanent visas

Publish Date: Nov 04, 2012

Provisional visas enable people to come to Australia and work so that they can build up their points and ultimately qualify for permanent residence. Provisional visas are tightly regulated and generally require applicants to live in a regional area of Australian with an Australian relative, or to live in a regional area and be sponsored by a State government.

Subclass 489 Skilled – Regional Sponsored visa

This visa is a four – year provisional visa, which allows the visa holder to live and work temporarily in a designated area of Australia. Proof of their residence will be critical when the applicant seeks to move to a permanent visa (Skilled – Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887)).

Applicants must be sponsored by an eligible Australian relative living in a specified area (determined by their postcode), or by a State or Territory government. 

To be eligible for this visa, applicants must:

  • have received an invitation to apply
  • be under 50 years old when invited to apply
  • already have a suitable skills assessment for the nominated occupation
  • have at least threshold English language (e.g. a score of 6 on each of the four components of the (general) IELTS test
  • have a score of at least 60 on the points test
  • evidence either:
    • their relationship to a sponsoring eligible Australian relative living within a designated area
    • they are nominated by a State or Territory government.

For a relative to sponsor an applicant for this visa, that relative must live in a certain part of Australia and be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an Eligible New Zealand Citizen. Not all relatives can sponsor your visa application.

Subclass 887 Skilled – Regional (Residence) visa

This visa allows holders of certain provisional visas, including the subclass 489 Skilled – Regional Sponsored visa to move to a permanent visa.   It is not points-tested. 

To be granted this visa, applicants must have lived for at least two years and worked full-time for a year in a specified regional area of Australia and have complied with the conditions of their provisional visa.

This visa allows the applicant and included family members to remain in Australia as permanent residents to:

  • live and work unrestricted in Australia
  • have unrestricted study rights in Australia
  • receive subsidised healthcare through public schemes
  • have access to certain social security payments (subject to statutory waiting periods)
  • apply for Australian citizenship once residence eligibility criteria have been met; and
  • sponsor people for a permanent Australian visa. 
Subclass 485 Skilled – Graduate (Temporary) Visa

This visa allows overseas students who do not meet the criteria for a permanent General Skilled Migration visa to remain in Australia for 18 months to:

  • travel
  • gain skilled work experience
  • undertake further study to improve their English
  • complete a professional year.
To be eligible for this visa, the overseas student must:
  • be under 50 years of age at application time
  • have completed in the last six months at least one eligible qualification following at least two years study in Australia
  • have the skills, attributes and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the relevant skilled occupation list.

If granted this visa, applicants seeking a permanent visa may take advantage of a General Skilled Migration visa option when they are able to meet the pass mark on the skilled migration points test.

You should get advice from an experienced immigration lawyer before you give serious thought to one of these visas. Although they might seem attractive, these visas are not for everyone because  you will be obliged to live and work in a regional area of Australia (not Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast etc) for a significant period before potentially qualifying for permanent residence.

In addition to advising you on whether you may qualify for one of these visas, our experienced immigration lawyers can give you all the information you need about where you can and cannot live while holding one of these visas, and more importantly, how long you have to live there for.

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