Australian Regional Migration – What Are Designated Regional Areas?
Most locations in Australia outside major cities (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) are classed as designated regional areas for migration purposes.
The regional definition is comprised of 3 categories and offers regional incentives for skilled migrants who migrate to locations classified as Category 2 ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ or Category 3 ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’:
Category 2 – ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart have access to the following regional incentives:
- Access to the dedicated 25,000 regional places
- Priority processing of regional visas
- Access to the Regional Occupations List – more jobs compared to non-regional lists
- International graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to access additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa
Category 3 – ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’ will also have access to the dedicated 25,000 regional places, priority processing of regional visas, and the Regional Occupations List. Additional incentives include:
- International graduates with a bachelor or higher qualification from a regional campus of a registered institution will be eligible to access an additional 2 years in Australia on a post-study work visa.
- Priority in negotiating region-specific Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)
A list of postcodes that specify designated regional areas is available and applies to the following visas:
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)*#
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
- Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)* – designated regional areas only apply to visa holders nominated by a State and Territory government agency whose visa was granted after 16 November 2019. See other specified regions for the invited pathwayand subsequent entrant pathway.
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)*
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)*
Employer sponsored visas:
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) – the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the RSMS visa remains open to transitional 457 or Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) workers.
- Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) – if the position is located in regional Australia, the nomination fee is waived.
- Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) – if using an occupation on the Regional Occupation List for this subclass.
Business investment visas:
- Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) visa (subclass 888)
- State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (subclass 892)
# additional 5 points (from 10 -15) under the Skilled Migration Points Test if nominated to live and work in a designated regional Australia.
* 5 points if study completed in a designated regional area and meets the Australian Study Requirement.
Some visas only allow work within certain industries, rather than certain areas, such as the Seasonal Worker Program.
The Working Holiday Maker program offers a second and third year visa option for people who have worked in a regional area and within an eligible industry – this is a different list to the designated regional areas. A list of postcodes for the purpose of the Working Holiday Maker Program is available for each subclass:
The Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) is a temporary protection visa for people who engage Australia’s protection obligations and may provide options for holders to apply for certain visas in Australia if they meet the SHEV pathway requirements. Areas designated as regional for SHEV arrangements are different to the list of designated regional areas for migration purposes.
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