494 Visa - Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional

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What is a 494 visa?

The subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) visa allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to live and work in regional Australia on a temporary basis. This visa is designed to assist regional employers who are unable to meet their skilled Australian workforce needs from the local labour market. The visa is valid for a five-year period with visa holders able to apply for a permanent visa if they meet the relevant criteria. The minimum requirements for SESR visas are as follows:

NOTE: Different criteria apply to the Labour Agreement stream of this visa. Please contact us for further details regarding this stream.

494 Visa - Employer & Position

494 Employer Sponsored Visa Requirements 


The business seeking to employ you must be actively and lawfully operating in Australia.

In addition, there must not be any adverse information known that is relevant to the business’s suitability as an approved sponsor.

NOTE: Adverse information includes, but is not limited to, contraventions of Commonwealth, State or Territory Laws relating to matters such as immigration, industrial relations or taxation; pending investigations or disciplinary actions; being the subject of administrative action for possible contravention of the law; insolvency; or having provided bogus documents or false/misleading information to the Department of Home Affairs (the ‘DOHA’).


Certain businesses may be able to apply for accredited status, which enables them to receive priority processing for subclass 494 nomination and visa applications. Book a consultation to check if your employer’s business may be eligible for accreditation.

Nominated Position

The position to be filled must be on either the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL) and:

  • be a genuine, full-time position in a designated regional area of Australia
  • likely to exist for the next 5 years
  • be in the sponsor’s business (or that of an associated entity), and be subject to a signed, written contract of employment that does not expressly exclude the possibility of extending the period of employment (unless exempt – please contact our office to discuss)
  • have a salary that is:
    • at least $53,900 per year (excluding any non-monetary benefits) AND
    • at least the annual market salary rate (AMSR) for your nominated occupation

NOTE: the AMSR for your nominated occupation (excluding non-monetary benefits) must also be no less than $53,900 per year. The AMSR is the salary that an Australian earns (or would earn) for performing equivalent work on a full-time basis for a year in the same workplace at the same location. You will be exempt from this requirement if your salary is more than $250,000 per year.

  • be subject to terms and conditions of employment that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location
  • have been subjected to ‘Labour Market Testing’ (LMT) i.e. the sponsor must have attempted to recruit a suitably skilled and qualified Australian to work in the nominated position. This requires the sponsor to provide evidence that it has advertised the position within the last 4 months, for at least 4 weeks

NOTE: Alternative LMT criteria apply in certain circumstances. Evidence provided in support of LMT must meet strict criteria regarding the location, type and content of the advertisement. Sponsors are not required to undertake LMT if an International Trade Obligation applies. Please contact us for further information regarding the type of LMT required for your nomination.

  • be certified by a designated Regional Certifying Body

494 Visa Applicant

As the visa applicant, you must (unless exempt from the requirements):

  • be under 45 years of age
  • have your skills assessed as suitable for your nominated occupation by the relevant skills assessing authority. If your skills assessment is based on an Australian qualification while holding a student visa, that qualification must have been CRICOS registered
  • have at least three years of full-time experience (or the part-time equivalent) in your nominated occupation (or a related field)
  • genuinely intend to work in the nominated position
  • meet any mandatory licensing, registration, or professional membership requirements
  • have competent English i.e.
    • hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland (and you are a citizen of that country) OR
    • an IELTS test score of at least 6 in EACH test component OR
    • an OET test score of at least B in EACH test component OR
    • a TOEFL iBT test score of at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking OR
    • a PTE test score of at least 50 in EACH test component OR
    • a CAE (C1 Advanced) (test score of at least 169 in EACH test component

NOTE: In each case, the test must have been undertaken within the three years PRIOR to lodging the visa application.

  • meet the relevant health and character criteria

Note: Exemptions may apply to some of the criteria listed above. Book a consultation to discuss your current situation.

Step 1: Consultation

The first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our Registered Migration Agents. During the consultation, we will assess your situation and your background. We may also assess your employer and their organisation to determine their eligibility to nominate you for the position.

We offer convenient Zoom or phone consultations.

We can also schedule a time to contact your employer to discuss any queries that they may have.

We will send you and/or your employer a fixed fee quote following the consultation which breaks down the applicable fees for each step. 

We offer split fee payments to assist you financially during the preparation stages of your visa journey. 

Step 2: Eligibility Assessment

Once you engage in our services, we will conduct an initial assessment of your eligibility for this visa. This involves reviewing your qualifications, work experience, English language and other circumstances, to establish whether or not you are likely to meet the relevant requirements.

As part of this initial eligibility assessment, we will consider which occupation(s) you are likely to be able to nominate, and whether or not you are potentially eligible for a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for that occupation.

We will then provide you with informed and comprehensive advice about your ability to meet the minimum standards that the DOHA requires migrants to fulfil in order to be granted this visa.

Note: Our initial assessment of your eligibility does not guarantee that you will (or will not) in fact obtain a positive skills assessment.

Step 3: Skills Assessment

Should our initial assessment indicate that you are required to obtain a positive skills assessment, we will prepare your skills assessment application.

For each skilled occupation, the DOHA has specified an assessing authority that may carry out skills assessments for that occupation. Only a skills assessment conducted by the relevant assessing authority will be accepted by the DOHA.

We will provide you with a tailored list of the information and documents required to support your application. When you have provided the necessary details and documents, along with the required assessment fee, we will lodge your application with the applicable skills assessing authority.

Step 4: Sponsorship Application

The application for standard business sponsorship is lodged with the DOHA on behalf of your employer. The main criterion is that your employer’s business is actively and lawfully operating in Australia. An approved sponsorship is valid for five years. During this time, the business can nominate overseas workers for SESR visas (and subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas).

Sponsorship Obligations

Businesses who are approved to sponsor overseas workers for TSS visas MUST comply with certain obligations imposed by the DOHA. These obligations are designed to protect overseas workers from exploitation, and to ensure that the visa program is used correctly.

In particular, please note that a business approved as a standard business sponsor must not attempt to recover any of the costs associated with applying for sponsorship or nominations (including migration agent costs and Skilling Australians Fund levies), or any costs directly associated with recruiting overseas workers for nominated positions. Approved sponsors may however be able to recover GST and/or claim a tax deduction for payment of fees and costs associated with applying for sponsorship, and we recommend that independent tax advice is sought in this regard if relevant.

Approved sponsors must also maintain certain records relating to their sponsorship and subclass 482 (and 457) nominations. This includes records substantiating the sponsor’s annual turnover, as well as records confirming how, and by whom, each Skilling Australians Fund levy was paid. Such records must be provided to the DOHA upon request.

Book a consultation for further information, we can provide a full list of sponsorship obligations.

Step 5: Nomination Application

The nomination application is lodged with the DOHA on behalf of your employer, either at the same time as the sponsorship application, or during the sponsorship validity period. The main criterion is that the nomination meets the requirements listed above.

Note: The annual market salary rate for the skilled position must also be assessed by a local Regional Certifying Body (RCB), the advice of which the DOHA takes into account when making its decision. RCB assessment applications are lodged with the relevant RCB on the employer’s behalf, in most cases before the nomination application is lodged with the DOHA.

Skilling Australians Fund Levy

Sponsors must pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy for each SESR nomination lodged with the DOHA. The amount payable varies based on the sponsor’s annual turnover:

  • For employers with an annual turnover of LESS THAN AU$10 million, the SAF levy is AU$3,000 per nomination.
  • For employers with an annual turnover of AT LEAST AU$10 million, the SAF levy is AU$5,000 per nomination.

The SAF levy must be paid upfront, at the time that the nomination is lodged.

NOTE: If a SESR visa holder changes employer, a pro-rated SAF levy is payable by the new sponsoring employer at the nomination stage for the remaining visa validity period of the SESR visa.

Book a consultation for further information regarding the SAF levy.

Step 6: Visa Application

Your visa application is lodged with the DOHA either at the same time as the nomination application, or before the nomination expires (generally within 12 months of approval). The main criterion is that you fulfil the requirements listed above.

You may generally be in or outside Australia when applying for this visa. However, you may be ineligible to apply in Australia if you do not hold the required type of visa or have previously been refused a visa (or had your visa cancelled).

Once the DOHA has approved all three applications, you will be granted a SESR visa. The visa is valid for 5 years. You may be either in Australia or overseas when your visa is granted.

Visa Conditions

There are several conditions attached with this visa that you must comply with. For instance, you must only work in the occupation which was nominated and for the employer that nominated you.

Additionally, you must notify the DOHA of any changes to your residential address, email addresses, phone number, passport details, employer address/location of your employed position, within the timeframe required. You must also comply with requests from the DOHA for information or attend an interview as requested by the DOHA. Book a consultation if you would like more information about the visa conditions.

Next Steps

Once you have held this visa at least three years, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, provided you meet all of the relevant criteria. This includes the requirement to have resided in a specified regional or designated regional area of Australia (in accordance with your nomination or sponsorship, as referred to above) for at least three years, met the minimum income requirements for that period and complied with the conditions of the SESR visa. The permanent visa does not require employer sponsorship.

PLEASE NOTE: We estimate that it may take several weeks to prepare and lodge your application, with the time taken largely dependent on how promptly you (and your sponsor, if applicable) provide us with the necessary supporting information and documents. The time that it takes the DOHA to process your application is dependent upon its processing time service standards, and may also vary due to a number of other factors, including the complexity of your case, perceived risk factors and processing priorities. 

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Here's what our clients have to say about us…

Gina Karnasch
Gina Karnasch
17. March, 2023.
I came into this consult thinking there is no way out, but Bonnie has given me multiple options and helped me out tremendously. She is also a great person to just chat to and lifted my mood instantly! (: 10/10 would recommend
Kristen Kozik
Kristen Kozik
17. March, 2023.
Taina was absolutely incredible the whole process. I lost some time by logging my application incorrectly the first time on my own and decided to spend the money with Migration Unity to do it correctly. Taina walked me through step by step exactly what I needed and was always quick and patient with my questions and concerns. I suggest this company to anyone wanting to move to Australia. Thanks again Taina for all of your help!
The Show Stopper
The Show Stopper
16. March, 2023.
I was looking for 186 Direct Entry Employer sponsorship VISA and reached out to MIGRATION UNITY and had excellent initial consultation experience with Mr. Matthew Halliday highlighting and coming up with the most honest and possible ways to initiate the process which falls under Australian laws. Highly recommend Migration Unity for any migration consultancy application and information.
Bekki Molineux
Bekki Molineux
7. March, 2023.
We have had the most amazing, smooth and easy visa journey with Taina and the Migration Unity team! They have a great system that tells you all the evidence you need to upload and they proof read everything and made sure we covered all evidence bases to ensure our best chances of having a smooth process. They had great and clear communication and are so friendly! Would definitely recommend Migration Unity for any visa needs.
Jamie Strevens
Jamie Strevens
7. March, 2023.
Very professional and courteous
Anabella Nahabedian
Anabella Nahabedian
7. March, 2023.
My partner and I just got PR!!!!!!!! Migration Unity has been incredible from day 1. They have been readily available throughout the whole process and have given us full support. Denise and Taina were extremely helpful and very lovely to deal with! Couldn’t recommend them enough!!
Harriet Muthoni
Harriet Muthoni
6. March, 2023.
The consultation was very easy to book online. I spoke with Matthew Halliday who gave me up to date and insightful information and assisted me with some of my burning questions. I highly recommend this service for anyone looking for assistance with their immigration process.
Anna Stafford
Anna Stafford
3. March, 2023.
I couldn't recommend Migration Unity enough for any visa services you may need. Taina went above and beyond and did everything she could to help get my Permenant Residency visa, which I recently received because of her! She is incredibly efficient at her job and helped me and supported me throughout the whole process. The friendliest and kindest person too, I felt so trusting of her. Look nowhere else but these gems!
Josh Fayaz
Josh Fayaz
1. March, 2023.
I just wanted to share my amazing experience working with migration unity for my partnership visa application in Australia. I have to say, the service I received was fantastic! Right from the start, Scott and Taina was super friendly and made me feel so comfortable throughout the entire process. They were very organized and really knew their stuff, which made the application process a breeze. I never felt lost or confused, and they were always available to answer any questions I had. They also kept me in the loop with regular updates on the status of my application, which made me feel really secure and confident. And to top it off, they helped me get my application approved in no time! Overall, I'd absolutely recommend this company to anyone looking for immigration assistance in Australia. Their expertise, professionalism, and amazing customer service made my whole experience so much better. Thanks again guys!
Charlotte Brown
Charlotte Brown
23. February, 2023.
My partner James and I cannot thank Scott initially and then Denise and Taina for all of their help with our sponsorship.. We have had our visas granted in less than 5 months since starting the process.. They have all been so helpful, informative and kind from day one and our Australian dream would not be happening without them. Thank you all.

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