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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 $70,000 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 $70,000 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 video 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 video consultations on any device.

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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How it works



One of the most important parts of this journey is to find the correct visa, confirm your eligibility and plan correctly.


As every case is different and there are various visa subclasses it is important that you find a Registered Migration Agent in Australia that specializes in your visa subclass.
Preparation & Lodgement

Preparation & Lodgement

From here, your Registered Migration Agent in Australia will look after the entire process on your behalf.

How can Migration Unity help you?

Eligibility Assessment:

Determine your eligibility for a 494 visa with an assessment from our registered migration agents.

Expert advice:

Receive professional advice on your migration options in accordance with the Migration Act and Regulations.

Strengthen your case:

Get recommendations, guidance, and support to strengthen your application and increase your chances of success.


Provide you and your partner with our statutory declaration templates to assist you in explaining your relationship timeline and facts.

Ongoing assistance:

Receive support and guidance throughout the entire process to ensure your evidence meets the legal requirements.

Accessibility and Simplicity:

Access our secure online portal to manage your application from anywhere in the world.

Case Management:

Receive ongoing case management from a team of experienced professionals to ensure your application progresses smoothly, we liaise with the Department on your behalf.

Review and checking:

Receive a full review and final check of all supporting evidence prior to lodgement to ensure everything meets the legal requirements.

Applications and Forms:

Your registered migration agent will complete all applications and forms on behalf of you and your partner.

Clarifying your matter to the Case Officer:

Receive legally written submissions by our expert professionals in Australian immigration law to support your application when if required.

Stay Compliant:

Receive an in-depth explanation of things to look out for such as enter by dates, must not arrive after dates and travel return facilities upon visa grant.

Bridging visas:

Ensure you remain lawfully onshore whilst awaiting a decision on your application.

Post grant support:

Receive ongoing support, including record-keeping and reminders, to ensure compliance with the relevant criteria.

Next steps: Planning your Australian permanent residency and citizenship, our team can help you and your loved ones to secure a long term and stable future.

…put simply we look after the entire process for you!

1,000s of Successful Visa Lodgements

Nothing makes us happier than calling our clients to deliver the good news! We’ve lodged thousands of applications and this feeling never gets old, imagine picking up the phone and receiving the good news that your visa or citizenship has been successfully granted! 

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Maximise your chances of a successful outcome with our highly experienced team.

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Here's what our clients have to say about us

Based on 143 reviews
Leandro Pires Garcia
Leandro Pires Garcia
14. September, 2023.
Bonnie Thurecht was very kind and knowledgeable during my consultation. She has updated me on current Australian requirements. I strongly recommend her services.
Rebecca Louise
Rebecca Louise
14. September, 2023.
Thank you to Taina and her team for helping us with our sponsorship visa and PR (186DE) Taina is very knowledgeable, honest and reliable. We recommended her 100%! Thanks migration Unity!
Siraprapha Manakul
Siraprapha Manakul
13. September, 2023.
I can say only the word Wow , I am so appreciate for the work you do for us . Trustworthy , Thank you very much for your great job!
Lisa Chen
Lisa Chen
11. September, 2023.
Thank you very much Taina for all of your guidance and expertise through migration process.I highly recommend her 👍🏻
John D Paks
John D Paks
11. September, 2023.
I was impressed with Mr Matthew who provided me with accurate information on finding the right visa for me. Very helpful and professional to talk to and I would recommend him to anyone who looking to discuss amongst different visas. Thanks Mathew
Sarah Jacobsen
Sarah Jacobsen
5. September, 2023.
Spoke with Matthew today who was really able to help with the ins and outs of my application since immigration had no idea. Looking forward to seeing how it all goes. Gives me confidence knowing someone who’s been dealing with partner visas since 2007 is able to give some sound advise.
Kabo von Rudloff
Kabo von Rudloff
25. August, 2023.
Bonnie Thurecht provided excellent support. They gave me all of the information I needed for my visa application. They were kind and patient with me, and their communication was very clear. Thank you so much for all of your assistance.
Ed Chaplin
Ed Chaplin
24. August, 2023.
We couldn't be more happy with the experience we have had working with Migration Unity and in particular, Taina Silva, who we couldn't recommend more highly. Right from the outset when applying for our Partner Visa, she was incredibly professional and helpful with everything and then throughout the whole process of applying for our partner visa, she was fast at responding, very well organised with informing us of what we needed to do and compiling evidence for us. Her communication skills with us were second to none which made the process much smoother than it otherwise would have been. She was always on hand to answer any questions we had and was extremely knowledgeable about everything. All of this combined meant Taina made an otherwise extremely complicated and stressful process so much easier. We cannot speak more highly of her and the service provided and will most certainly not think twice about doing our 801 Permanent Partner Visa application with the assistance of Taina. Superb in every way - thank you.
Andres Pinilla Palacios
Andres Pinilla Palacios
24. August, 2023.
Great advise!

Exceptional service every time

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Denise & Taina and the team at Migration Unity are amazing - thanks to them our family is now permanent residents.

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Aoife O'Donnell
The commitment Migration Unity has to helping you attain the best outcomes, is astounding. When going through a process as nerve-wrecking as applying for visas, having an immigration agent by your side who knows the industry and goes the extra mile is an absolute game changer. Thank you!
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