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No minimum income required for Skilled Regional Visa

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has recently clarified the income requirements for two skilled regional visas.

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The Australian Department of Home Affairs has recently clarified the income requirements for two skilled regional visas. In an email sent to migration agents throughout Australia, the department stated that there is no minimum income requirement for the Skilled Work Regional Provisional Subclass 491 visa and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Provisional Subclass 494 visa.

Furthermore, the department confirmed that there is no legislative instrument in place that specifies a minimum income threshold for the permanent residence skilled regional visa subclass 191. This information was welcomed by visa applicants and migration agents who had expressed confusion over the matter.

The Skilled Regional Visa, which falls under the Regional Provisional stream, serves as a pathway to permanent residence for eligible holders of Subclass 491 and Subclass 494 visas. To qualify for the permanent residence visa, primary applicants are required to provide notices of assessment issued by the Australian Taxation Office for three income years out of the five years of their eligible visa.

The recent clarification from the Department of Home Affairs was prompted by a submission made by the Migration Institute of Australia’s Professional Support Team. The team raised concerns regarding misleading information on the department’s website from 2019, which indicated a minimum income threshold of $53,900 for the Subclass 191 visa. This misleading information had caused confusion among some members of the general public and migration agents.

The removal of the minimum income requirement for the Subclass 191 visa has been met with enthusiasm by visa applicants and migration agents alike. Many have praised this decision, particularly as it provides relief for holders of the Subclass 491 visa who have faced challenges in securing regional employment due to current economic circumstances.

Chaman Preet, the director of Melbourne-based Migration and Education Experts, expressed her support for the clarification. She stated, “It’s a very welcome relaxation for 491 visa holders who have been struggling to find work in regional areas in the current economic circumstances. It will benefit a lot of prospective 191 applicants and bring them a great deal of relief.”

With this recent clarification from the Department of Home Affairs, prospective visa applicants can now proceed with their applications without the burden of meeting a minimum income threshold. This decision aims to facilitate a smoother transition for skilled migrants seeking permanent residence in regional Australia.

Migration consultant Keerthana Reddy highlights the positive impact of the clarification, particularly for migrants who were unable to meet the previously stated minimum income threshold due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms Reddy explains that numerous applicants who had applied for the visa in 2019 and are now eligible for the Subclass 191 visa faced difficulties reaching the income threshold.

“The temporary closure of businesses during the pandemic hindered their ability to earn the required income, while travel restrictions resulted in many applicants being stranded overseas. With the recent clarification from the Department of Home Affairs, these individuals will now have a renewed sense of hope, as removing the income requirement will offer them an opportunity to obtain permanent residence. This development brings much-needed relief and opens doors for a wider range of applicants who were previously affected by the exceptional circumstances brought on by the global health crisis,” said Ms Reddy of Hyderabad IAEC.

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