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Freqently Asked Questions About the 491 Visa

Selecting a visa and the associated application process can be a daunting process, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.

While our staff are happy to answer any questions you may have, please ensure you have read through these questions and the corresponding answers before contacting us. Our staff resources are limited, so the more time we spend on the phone and replying to emails, the less time we can spend assessing applications, and in turn the longer it is for everyone to receive their outcomes.

Questions About Nomination Criteria

Why is RDA-NI not accepting offshore applications?

RDA Northern Inland will not be accepting offshore applications under stream 3b and 3c until further notice.

This is due to the request from the Australian Government to prioritise on-shore applicants and the national border restrictions because of COVID-19.

This will be reviewed in April and no exceptions can be made.

What is the employment requirement under Stream 1?

An applicant must have worked in their nominated, or closely related, occupation for the 12 months immediately preceding their application in regional NSW. The employment must qualify as skilled employment under the Home Affairs points scheme, i.e. a minimum of 20 hours per week. The employment does not need to be located in the region being applied to.

I've been residing in regional NSW for less than 12 months, am I still eligible to apply?

If you are currently living in regional NSW, but do not meet the 12-month minimum requirement outlined under Stream 1, you may be eligible to apply for NSW nomination under Stream 3 if you have a job offer or family ties; however, preference will be being given to applicants applying under Stream 1 and meet the 12-month requirement.

I have a job offer in regional NSW, but my current visa conditions mean I am unable to accept it, can I still apply under Stream 3A?

If you cannot currently accept the job offer you wish to us to apply for nomination under Stream 3A, then offer must explicitly state that the employer is prepared to hold the job open until you have been granted your subclass 491 visa and are able to legally work the required hours per week. The genuineness of the job offer you provide with your application will be scrutinised during assessment.

I studied at a regional NSW University, but I no longer reside in NSW. Am I still eligible under Stream 2?

As long as you lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study and meet the other criteria for Stream 2, you can still apply even though you no longer live in NSW.

However, you will be expected to relocate to the Northern Inland region if you apply for a NSW nomination through RDA-NI.

I currently reside in Australia, am I eligible to apply for NSW nomination under Stream 3B?

No. Stream 3B is for offshore applicants only. Although there is no designated timeframe that an applicant must be residing offshore when applying, an applicant must demonstrate they have genuinely established residency outside Australia when applying. Applicants residing in Australia who relocate offshore solely to meet this criteria will have their applications declined.

RDA Northern Inland requires a genuine job offer in order to accept an offshore application for consideration.

RDA Northern Inland will not be accepting offshore applications under stream 3b until further notice due to the national border restrictions because of COVID-19

Questions About Applying

Where is the Northern Inland and what area does it cover?

The Northern Inland is the area also known as the New England and North West and encompases the 12 local government areas of:

  • Armidale Regional
  • Glen Innes Severn
  • Gunnedah
  • Gwydir
  • Inverell
  • Liverpool Plains
  • Moree Plains
  • Narrabri
  • Tamworth Regional
  • Tenterfield
  • Uralla
  • Walcha
Postcodes and Town/Location Names

Postcodes and town/location names in Northern Inland region of New South Wales [also called New England North West NSW]

State Postcode Town / Location Names
NSW 2339 Willow Tree
NSW 2341 Werris Creek
NSW 2342 Currabubula
NSW 2343 Quirindi, Caroona, Spring Ridge, Wallabadah
NSW 2344 Duri
NSW 2345 Attunga, Garthowen
NSW 2346 Manilla
NSW 2347 Barraba, Cobbadah, Upper Horton
NSW 2340 Tamworth
NSW 2350 Armidale, Enmore, Hillgrove, Invergowrie, Jeogla, West Armidale, Wollomombi
NSW 2351 University Of New England
NSW 2352 Kootingal, Limbri
NSW 2353 Moonbi
NSW 2354 Kentucky, Niangala, Nowendoc, Walcha, Wollun, Woolbrook
NSW 2355 Bendemeer, Watsons Creek
NSW 2358 Enmore, Kingstown, Uralla
NSW 2359 Bundarra
NSW 2360 Bukkulla, Elsmore, Gilgai, Graman, Gum Flat, Inverell, Little Plain, Mount Russell, Nullamanna, Wallangra
NSW 2361 Ashford, Bonshaw
NSW 2365 Ben Lomond, Black Mountain, Glencoe, Guyra, Llangothlin, Wandsworth
NSW 2369 Stannifer, Tingha
NSW 2370 Dundee, Furracabad, Glen Innes, Matheson, Newton Boyd, Red Range, Swan Vale
NSW 2371 Deepwater, Emmaville, Stannum, Torrington
NSW 2372 Black Swamp, Bolivia, Boonoo Boonoo, Bungulla, Liston, Sandy Flat, Tenterfield, Wylie Creek
NSW 2380 Gunnedah, Kelvin, Orange Grove
NSW 2382 Boggabri
NSW 2390 Baan Baa, Edgeroi, Narrabri, Turrawan
NSW 2397 Bellata
NSW 2398 Gurley
NSW 2399 Pallamallawa
NSW 2400 Ashley, Crooble, Moree, Terry Hie Hie
NSW 2401 Gravesend
NSW 2402 Coolatai, Warialda
NSW 2403 Delungra
NSW 2404 Bingara, Dinoga
NSW 2405 Boomi, Garah
NSW 2406 Mungindi
NSW 2408 North Star
NSW 2409 Boggabilla
NSW 2410 Yetman
NSW 2411 Croppa Creek
Where can I live and work in NSW under the subclass 491 visa?

The Department of Home Affairs determines which regions of Australia are eligible for the 491 visa. Eligible regions are published on the Home Affairs’ designated regional area postcodes website.

If you apply to RDA Northern Inland and this region nominates you, we expect you to have a moral obligation to fulfil your visa conditions in our region. We have collated some information about the Northern Inland region and an indicative list of postcodes for the Northern Inland region are available below.

Postcodes and Town/Location Names

Postcodes and town/location names in Northern Inland region of New South Wales [also called New England North West NSW]

State Postcode Town / Location Names
NSW 2339 Willow Tree
NSW 2341 Werris Creek
NSW 2342 Currabubula
NSW 2343 Quirindi, Caroona, Spring Ridge, Wallabadah
NSW 2344 Duri
NSW 2345 Attunga, Garthowen
NSW 2346 Manilla
NSW 2347 Barraba, Cobbadah, Upper Horton
NSW 2340 Tamworth
NSW 2350 Armidale, Enmore, Hillgrove, Invergowrie, Jeogla, West Armidale, Wollomombi
NSW 2351 University Of New England
NSW 2352 Kootingal, Limbri
NSW 2353 Moonbi
NSW 2354 Kentucky, Niangala, Nowendoc, Walcha, Wollun, Woolbrook
NSW 2355 Bendemeer, Watsons Creek
NSW 2358 Enmore, Kingstown, Uralla
NSW 2359 Bundarra
NSW 2360 Bukkulla, Elsmore, Gilgai, Graman, Gum Flat, Inverell, Little Plain, Mount Russell, Nullamanna, Wallangra
NSW 2361 Ashford, Bonshaw
NSW 2365 Ben Lomond, Black Mountain, Glencoe, Guyra, Llangothlin, Wandsworth
NSW 2369 Stannifer, Tingha
NSW 2370 Dundee, Furracabad, Glen Innes, Matheson, Newton Boyd, Red Range, Swan Vale
NSW 2371 Deepwater, Emmaville, Stannum, Torrington
NSW 2372 Black Swamp, Bolivia, Boonoo Boonoo, Bungulla, Liston, Sandy Flat, Tenterfield, Wylie Creek
NSW 2380 Gunnedah, Kelvin, Orange Grove
NSW 2382 Boggabri
NSW 2390 Baan Baa, Edgeroi, Narrabri, Turrawan
NSW 2397 Bellata
NSW 2398 Gurley
NSW 2399 Pallamallawa
NSW 2400 Ashley, Crooble, Moree, Terry Hie Hie
NSW 2401 Gravesend
NSW 2402 Coolatai, Warialda
NSW 2403 Delungra
NSW 2404 Bingara, Dinoga
NSW 2405 Boomi, Garah
NSW 2406 Mungindi
NSW 2408 North Star
NSW 2409 Boggabilla
NSW 2410 Yetman
NSW 2411 Croppa Creek
Can I apply to RDA Northern Inland if my occupation is not on the Occupation List for that region?

No. However, if you meet the requirements to apply and are working in your field in the Northern Inland region, you are encouraged to contact us.

What English Tests Results are accepted?

Competent English or better is a required for Skilled Migration. The Department of Home Affairs provides detailed information on the accepted English tests.

Do I have to use a migration agent?

No, the process is transparent and there is enough straight forward information that a migrant agent is not necessary.

However, it can be worthwhile engaging the services of a Registered Migration Agent to ensure you are on the best path and that all applications are submitted complete with all required documentation. Leaving things out can result in a negative outcome or processing delays, which can be almost as frustrating.

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority has helpful information about engaging a migration agent.

 

How long will it take?

RDA Northern Inland works hard to keep its processing timeframe under one month. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can cause delays. It is the applicant’s responsibility to advise us if their case is urgent (due to visa or points expiring, for example).

Can I request urgent processing of my application?

Under some limited circumstances, such an upcoming birthday that will render you ineligible to apply,  we can prioritise processing of an application for you.

However, it will take four working days for a your nomination to be processed by the NSW Government after we have assessed a positive application. All eligibility criteria, such as age must be met when the NSW Government process their nomination, not when we receive your application. Therefore it is not reasonable to expect your application to be processed in under seven working days.

If you need urgent processing of your application, you must contact our office before submitting your application.

How is Covid-19 impacting on Skilled Migration in Australia?

Convid-19 is logically the first priority of any Australian Government Department. Almost all visa applications that were / are lodged from offshore during the pandemic and most of those which are not on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List can expected lengthy processing timeframes from the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

Questions About 491 Visa Requirements

Do I need to work in my field when I have the 491 visa?

No. You can work in any occupation, once you have the visa. The only work requirement is that your income meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)  for three years, in a regional location. The TSMIT is currently AUD$53,900 p.a.

Can I travel while on the 491 visa?

Yes, you can travel to anywhere in Australia or internationally.
Covid-19 restrictions, State and National border closures and quarantining requirements/costs should be researched and considered carefully.

Am I allowed to visit a non-designated regional area like Sydney?

Condition 8549 for the 489 visa and condition 8579 for the 491 visa requires that while the visa holder is in Australia, they must live, work and study only in a designated regional area.

Condition 8579 is not intended to prevent a visa holder from engaging in incidental activities outside a Designated Regional Area (DRA). Such activities may include:

  • holidays
  • work-related travel
  • work-related training

The Department will adopt a flexible approach to the assessment of compliance with condition 8579, taking account of the personal circumstances affecting individual visa holders.

However, extended absences from the DRA may result in further scrutiny by the Department to ensure that the visa holder is or was living, working and studying in the DRA during the relevant periods.

The Department may request further evidence from the visa holder on the reason for travel outside the DRA, where:

  • the holder spends more than 90 days in total per annum outside the DRA, or
  • the holder spends more than 60 continuous days outside the DRA, or
  • there is a pattern of extended and/or frequent absences that are indicative of employment outside the DRA.
Do I need health insurance?

You are entitled to a Medicare Card once you have a 491 or 494 visa.
For Permanent Residents and Citizens of Australia, Private Health Insurance is a matter of personal choice and this is also the case for 491 and 494 visa holders.

You can find out more on our page about Private Health Insurance and Medicare for skilled migrants.

Apply for 491 Nomination Apply for 491 Nomination Find out about applying for nomination from the NSW Government for a 491 Visa Read More
Helpful Information for 489 and 491 Visa Holders Helpful Information for 489 and 491 Visa Holders FInd out about living in the Northern Inland, working, health, transport and Permanent Resdiency. Read More
About the 489 and 491 Visas for Employers About the 489 and 491 Visas for Employers Find out about the 491 and 489 Visa incuding your obligations and how it can help your business. Read More
Discover the Northern Inland Discover the Northern Inland Discover the Northern Inland and find out about living here Read More
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Phone02 6771 0700
Emailrdani@rdani.org.au
Opening Hours 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
(Except Public Holidays)
Address 143 Marsh Street
Armidale NSW 2350
Postal Address PO Box 72
Armidale NSW 2350
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An Australian Government Initiative