There are not many visa options for small business owners in Australia. Normally, a business owner would explore the Business Innovation and Investment Visa. However, this option requires the applicant to meet quite onerous financial thresholds relating to their assets and business revenue. Subclass 491 offers small business owners an alternative option when nominated by Tasmania, Queensland or the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). This is a new skilled provisional independent visa, requiring a specific skill set and level of business experience. The visa came into effect on 16 November 2019. Subclass 491 visa holders will be eligible for permanent residency via subclass 191, which comes into effect on 16 November 2022. This article explores the small business owners' pathway in Queensland and Tasmania. To be eligible for this visa, you must meet both the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DOHA)'s and the relevant state's criteria.
There are various DOHA criteria that you need to meet. You must:
A skills assessment is issued by the relevant skills assessing authorities. This organisation analyses your skills against the minimum standards for the relevant occupation.
In addition to the DOHA criteria, you must satisfy the requirements for Queensland State nomination. This includes:
QLD will not consider:
Applicants must operate their business for at least 3 years in a regional area (after the visa grant) and may be subject to monitoring.
Tasmania nominates eligible applicants through its Business Operator Pathway. To secure state nomination, Tasmania will consider the following:
An additional consideration is the nature of the business and its long-term benefit to Tasmania. However, this visa stream is not available for:
Online businesses are unlikely to attract Tasmania state nomination.
To secure ACT state nomination for the 491 Small Business Owner category, you must:
The following businesses are ineligible businesses for the purposes of ACT state nomination:
To claim matrix points in the small business owner category, you must satisfy the following criteria:
To apply, you will first need to:
You will then need to apply for either ACT, Queensland or Tasmania State nomination. DOHA will then assess your EOI to see if you meet all criteria. If you are successful, you will receive an invitation to apply for the subclass 491. Importantly, you need to lodge the 491 visa within 60 days of receiving an invitation from DOHA.
This visa is a provisional visa that allows you to work and live in regional Queensland, ACT or Tasmania for five years. It is also a pathway to permanent residency. After meeting certain criteria, you will become eligible for the subclass 191 permanent residence (Skilled Regional) visa.
These criteria require you to:
The subclass 191 visa is a new visa that commences on 16 November 2022, as the subclass 491 visa only commenced on 16 November 2019.
There are limited options available for small business owners based in regional locations. The subclass 491 small business owners pathway may be appropriate for your business. Fortunately, it also has a permanent residency pathway through the subclass 191 visa. To apply for this visa, you must:
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