Subclass 489 Visa Holders – Eligible Postcodes

On the 16th November 2019, we saw the end of the Subclass 489 – Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa – with that visa subclass being closed to new applications.

At the same time, a new Regional Visa – the Subclass 491 – was introduced, and accompanied by a revision of the regional postcodes, which now include Gold Coast, Perth, Newcastle and Woolloongong, and surrounds.

When holding a Subclass 489 Visa, you are subject to Condition 8549 or 8539, which specifies that all visa holders must only live, work and study within the specified regional area.

We’re receiving lots of inquiries from past and present clients – and they are raising some important questions.  Here’s an example:

“I’m on a 489 Visa in Tasmania – and now I see Gold Coast is regional!  I’m planning to move there – will there be a problem?” 

People who are currently holding a Subclass 489 visa, or who are waiting for a decision on a 489, are eager to know whether the new Regional Postcodes are available to them.

There are two different answers, and it depends upon when you were granted your 489 visa.

If your Subclass 489 Visa was granted before the 16th November 2019:

  • The postcodes in which you must live, work and study, are as per the list that was in effect at the time your 489 visa was granted.  You will NOT have access to the new regional postcodes list.  Click here to view your approved postcodes.

If your Subclass 489 Visa was granted on or after the 16th November 2019:

  • Lucky you –  the newly defined Regional Postcodes are available to you.  This opens up a much wider range of postcodes from which to choose.  Click here to view the new Regional Postcodes.

“What about my obligation to remain in the nominating State for 2 years?” 

It’s the perennial question – if you were nominated by one State, do you have to remain there or can you move?  When you obtain state nomination for a Subclass 489 visa, you are signing an undertaking to remain in that State for at least 2 years.  Having said that, the permanent residency visa (887 or 191) does not require a nomination from the State.  The eligibility for permanent residency requires you to show (amongst other things) that you have only lived, worked and studied in a designated regional area – and these areas are specified in the lists above.

We recommend that people who are nominated by a State, make every endeavour to meet their signed obligations to the State and remain for at least two years in the State.

“What can go wrong if I don’t live, work or study in a specified postcode while holding a Subclass 489 or 491 visa?” 

At the time of application for the corresponding Permanent Residency Visa ( if you’re on a 489 visa, it’s the Subclass 887; and if you’re on a 491 visa, it will be the Subclass 191); the Department undertakes checks to ensure that there has been compliance with visa conditions.  This may include cross matching data with other Government Departments, such as the Australian Taxation Office, which may reveal your residential addresses and place of employment.  If a non-compliance was noted, this could affect whether you can be granted the Permanent Residency visa.

It’s therefore very important that you are aware of the conditions which you must abide by, and where you are allowed to live, work and study.  The Subclass 491 visa has additional conditions too, so please make sure you are familiar with your conditions.

Contact us if you have any queries about your 489 visa.  Much better to make the call now than have a problem at the permanent residency stage!

Leanne Stevens

CEO, Emergico // Registered Migration Agent (#1171279)