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AUSTRALIA: Perth and Gold Coast Added to Regional Areas With Immigration Benefits

, 29/10/2019

The Australian Department of Immigration announced over the weekend that they will be including Perth, Western Australia and the Gold Coast, Queensland as ‘regional’ areas for immigration purposes from November of this year. The main reason for the inclusion of these two areas appears to be the desire to attract more international students. As a result, students who study in ‘regional’ areas will be able to access a longer validity Subclass 485 Graduate post-study work visa.

From November 16th, students in regional cities and major regional areas will be able to obtain an additional one year on their Graduate visa. Along with Perth and the Gold Coast, these regional areas now include:

Sunshine Coast
Newcastle/Lake Macquarie

Students from all other regional areas could obtain an additional two years on their Graduate visa.

Benefits for Employers

For employers, this means that there is the opportunity to retain recent graduates for longer periods, as well as allowing time to gain the required two years of work experience for a Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. A flow-on effect from the reclassification also means that businesses in Perth and the Gold Coast will be able to attract skilled workers through the new Subclass 494 Skilled Regional Employer Sponsored (Provisional) visa.

As reported in our blog of 10 July here, the Subclass 494 visa can be nominated under an existing Standard Business Sponsorship, is valid for 5 years, and allows a pathway to permanent residency for the visa holder after 3 years without the need for re-nomination by the employer. This differs from the TSS to ENS/RSMS pathway, which requires a new Nomination application and a further Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy payment.

Migrants will also be able to apply for the new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa with sponsorship from the relevant State government.

Increase in Regional Visa Quota

In addition to the above changes, the Department of Immigration has also announced that an extra 2000 places will be made available in the regional visa quota, increasing to 25,000 out of the 160,000 total places available. Applicants for the regional visas will also have priority processing of their visa applications.