Pros and Cons of the new Regional Visas of Australia
Australia has introduced two new Regional Visas on the 16th of November 2019. These two visas are:
- Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)) Visa
- Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional)) Visa
The new Regional Visas throw open the door to Australian Permanent Residency and possible citizenship in the future.
If you too are mulling over whether you should apply for the new Visas, here are the pros and cons:
The definition of “regional areas” in Australia has been simplified by the Australian Govt. Barring Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, almost all of Australia is considered “regional” for immigration purposes. This means that migrants can now easily settle in satellite cities like Newcastle and Wollongong in New South Wales. They can also settle in the Gold Coast which is just about an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
Regional Visa holders will be eligible for Medicare. This will significantly lower the living expenses of migrant families on these visas. Children of Regional Visa holders will also have access to public education.
International students who graduate from Regional Universities in Australia will get an extra year on their Post-Study Work Permit. Certain international students may even be eligible for two additional years instead of one.
The new Regional Visas of Australia have a provision for Permanent Residency. Visa holders who complete three years of stay in a designated regional area may be eligible to apply for Australian PR.
Besides the mandatory stay period of three years in a designated regional area, immigrants will also need to meet the income threshold. Regional Visa holders should have earned a minimum of AUD 53,900 every year for all three years to be eligible for Australian PR.
Research by the University of Adelaide indicates that skilled migrants in regional areas are not finding the job opportunities that match their work experience.
A survey of more than 1,700 skilled immigrants revealed that 53% of them believed they were not utilizing their full potential. 44% of those surveyed were working in an occupation which was different from what they had nominated in their visa application. 15% of those surveyed reported being unemployed. This is almost twice the unemployment rate in South Australia, as per an article published.
The research also found that there was a mismatch between immigrants and the regional labour market. The mismatch was not just in the jobs available but also in the employer & employee expectations.
The survey also found that many immigrants faced discrimination from their employers due to their lack of Australian work experience.