The status of state nomination Australia visas has been re-examined to accommodate the needs of the current global health crisis. Australian states and territories can nominate eligible foreign skilled workers for two visas:
The Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190), which allows nominees to permanently live and work in Australia. The visa holder must live in the nominating state/territory for at least the first two years after arrival.
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 491), which allows nominees or those sponsored by eligible relatives to live and work in a designated regional area of Australia for up to five years. After three years of living and working in the regional area, the visa holder may become eligible to apply for permanent residence.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, Australia’s states and territories continue to process applications and nominate eligible candidates for permanent or temporary residence. However, certain caveats have been imposed to address the challenges posed by global travel restrictions, and to prioritize specific immigrant profiles.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which typically requires candidates to live and work in ACT for at least 13 weeks before applying for ACT state nomination, has decided to waive the ‘continuous employment’ eligibility requirement for applicants whose movement or employment is affected by COVID-19.
Northern Territory is only accepting applications for nomination from people who are currently living and working in the territory.
Queensland is nominating applicants under the Subclass 491 visa, provided they are currently living and working in the state. Candidates who work as Marketing Specialists (ANZSCO 225113) or Finance Managers (ANZSCO 132211) will no longer be invited to apply for Queensland state nomination.
South Australia (SA)
Applications from candidates who have not been living and working in SA for the previous 12 months, or a country area for the past six months, will not be accepted.
Applications of medical and healthcare professionals who have been living and working in SA for the previous 12 months, or in a country area for the past six months, will be processed on priority basis.
Further, the following occupations will be nominated:
Chefs (ANZSCO 351311), cooks (ANZSCO 351411) and café or restaurant managers (ANZSCO 141111) can only apply for nomination under Subclass 190 if they are currently living and working in SA.
Applicants who are not currently living and working in the state will only be considered for South Australia state nomination under Subclass 491. Applicants belonging to certain medical and health occupations have been exempted from meeting the work experience requirement.
Tasmania has temporarily restricted eligibility for Subclass 491 visa nomination. Candidates living outside Australia can only apply if their occupation is considered ‘High Demand’ under the Tasmania Skilled Occupation List. The processing time for applicants belonging to other occupations may be delayed.
Victoria continues normal processing of applications.
Western Australia is still processing applications on a normal basis, but has delayed its April invitation round to 23rd April, due to the Easter vacations.
New South Wales has still not opened its Subclass 491 visa nomination program. However, the government has indicated that applications will be processed as usual, but requirements and procedures may be reviewed owing to the current situation.
These updates are essential for immigration aspirants, since many may be wondering if it is advisable to apply for a state nomination Australia visa during this period. As is evident, the answer to that question depends on which state/territory the candidate wants to migrate to, and under which visa category. To understand the detailed requirements for each state/territory and choose an ideal pathway for immigration, it is best to seek guidance from genuine immigration consultants – online or in person.