Australia is a popular destination for people who are looking to start a new life. The high standard of living, relatively high wages, and fantastic work opportunities draw thousands of people each year. There are various avenues available to new migrants, including the Skilled Regional subclass 489 visa, or Extended stay pathway.
While being accepted into Australia can be challenging, this temporary visa is a great option for skilled migrants who want to live and work in regional Australia.
Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa – Extended Stay Pathway
Visa subclass 489 is a skilled regional visa that allows people to live in a specified regional area. Also known as the Extended stay pathway, this visa allows you to stay in Australia for a total of 4 years, added to your existing visa.
Visa Benefits & Duration
As a temporary and extended visa, subclass 489 is granted for a 4-year period, which is added to the start date of a subclass 475, 487, 495, or 496 visa. During this 4-year period, successful applicants are able to live, work, and study in specified regional locations around the country. With certain skilled positions in high demand across regional Australia, this visa stream is beneficial to both skilled migrants and Australian communities.
Under the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa, you can travel to and from Australia as often as you like while the visa remains valid. While it is a temporary visa, eligible people can apply for permanent residency in Australia through the Skilled—Regional (Residence) visa (subclass 887).
Nominated applicants – If you have been nominated by a state or territory government agency for your current skilled visa, you don’t need to be nominated again. You will be restricted to living in regional and low-population growth metropolitan areas.
Sponsored applicants – If you are sponsored by a relative for your current skilled visa, you don’t need to be sponsored again. You will be restricted to living in a specified area of Australia.
Subclass 489 visa holders are not eligible for Medicare healthcare coverage. This visa can’t be extended. If you want to stay in Australia longer than 4 years, you will need to explore other visa options. You can check your current visa status in VEVO.
Including Family Members in your Application
Family members can be included in your application, as long as they are a member of your family unit. Under Australian law, a person is considered a member of your family unit if they are a spouse or de facto partner, dependent child or stepchild, or dependent grandchild or step-grandchild of a dependent child or stepchild.
You can include eligible family members when you lodge your visa application, or add a dependent child after you lodge but before a decision has been granted. Family members must meet our health and character requirements. If they are not travelling with you to Australia, they might still need to meet these requirements. If you have a partner or dependent child who is not included in the application, you must explain why.
The cost of the subclass 489 visa starts from AUD$360 for the main applicant. There is also an additional charge for each family member who applies with you. A second instalment may be required for any applicant 18 years old or older who has less than functional English. The second instalment charge for family members is AUD$4,890, and is only charged when the visa is granted.
There is a Visa Pricing Estimator available from the Home Affairs website, although the second instalment or other costs are not taken into account. Along with these known costs, additional charges may be needed for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics.
Visa Processing Time
Processing times for visa subclass 489 can vary considerably due to individual circumstances. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with timing dependent on whether you have lodged a complete form and supporting documents. The time it takes to perform necessary checks can vary widely. Requests to external agencies for additional documents or information about health, character, or national security can also slow down the process.
Visa Eligibility Requirements
The subsequent entry pathway visa has almost identical eligibility requirements to the main subclass 489 visa, with the addition of a language requirement and Australian values statement.
There is no age limit for this visa
Have a family member who holds a 475, 487, 489, 495, or 496 visa
If lodging from Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a subclass 010 Bridging A visa, a subclass 020 Bridging B visa or a subclass 030 Bridging C visa
Must either have functional English or pay a second instalment
Undergo a health examination and meet all health requirements
Meet the character requirement
Sign an Australian values statement
No outstanding Government debt
No previous visas cancelled or applications refused
There may be additional requirements listed at the Home Affairs website.
What is the English Language Requirement?
At a minimum, you are required to evidence a Functional level of English for your nomination application.
However, if you hold a passport and are citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America, or the Republic of Ireland, then you don’t need to provide English language test results. If this exemption applies to you, you must provide a copy of the bio page of your passport.
Is an English language test required as part of the visa application?
Yes, you may need to provide a copy of your English language test when you apply.
The Government accepts all English language tests which are deemed eligible by the Department of Home Affairs. IELTS is trusted by the Department of Home Affairs.
How to Apply for a Skilled Independent Visa (Subsequent Entry Pathway)
In order to apply for a subsequent entry pathway 489 visa, it’s important to go through the comprehensive application process in detail. The outcome of the visa application and the time it takes to process depends on the accuracy of the information provided.
Get help if you need it through a migration agent
Gather and prepare all relevant documents
Apply for the visa online
Receive notifications and instructions for additional documentation if required
Wait for the official outcome of the visa in writing
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a 489 visa holder get Medicare?
Subclass 489 visa holders are not eligible for Medicare and are personally liable for all healthcare costs while in Australia. Medical insurance is recommended.
How long does a 489 visa take to process?
An estimated processing time is not provided, with waiting times known to vary considerably on a case-by-case basis.
What is the difference between the 190 and 489 visa?
A Subclass 190 visa holder is able to live, work, and study anywhere in nominating state or territory. A Subclass 489 visa holder is only able to live, work, and study in a specific regional area.
Immigration and the law
Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you want Australian student visa, work visa, or PR, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent. However, you can also get free advice for student visas.