491 visa criteria for Queensland

The 491 Small Business Owners (SBO) Pathway 

This option can be used to reward small business owners in regional Queensland for investing in the local business community and provides employment opportunities for local residents. For more information see here.

Update on 15 June 2020: BSMQ SKILLED PROGRAM – SUBCLASS 491 VISA CLOSED (FROM 5PM AEST 15 June 2020)

The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) subclass 491 is closed for new EOIs from 5pm AEST 15 June 2020.

This includes the 491 – Small Business Owners (SBO) program.

Applicants who have been invited to lodge documents will still be processed, up until 30 June 2020.

If you do not receive a nomination by 30 June 2020, it will mean that you will need to submit a new EOI once our program opens again.

BSMQ has not yet received advice from Home Affairs in regards to Queensland’s nomination allocation for FY20-21 and when we will be able to re-open the business and skilled program.

Update on 25 November: BSMQ has now opened the skilled program for subclass 190 and 491 visas. Please note: The 491 – Small Business Owners (SBO) Pathway is NOT CURRENTLY open. BSMQ will provide an update on the new pathway in the coming weeks


This stream is for migrants who are currently living and working in Queensland in their skilled occupation (or closely related), and have an occupation that has been identified as a shortage in Queensland. Applicants under this stream must not be currently studying.

Nominations are offered under the following visa subclasses:

Skilled Nominated (Permanent) visa (subclass 190) This visa is for skilled workers and postgraduate alumni who wish to live and work in Queensland permanently.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) This visa is a provisional visa that allows nominated skilled workers to work and live in REGIONAL Queensland for five years, and is a pathway to permanent residency. Employment can be undertaken in the following ways:

  • Work for one or more employers
  • Two part-time jobs
  • Work in own business as an owner/operator

Applicable regions

Excludes Greater Brisbane Area and the Gold Coast. Includes the following postcodes: 4124 to 4125, 4133, 4211, 4270 to 4272, 4275, 4280, 4285, 4287, 4307 to 4499, 4515, 4517 to 4519, 4522 to 4899.

Please note: postcodes will be updated prior to the subclass 491 visa commencing on 16 November 2019.

If you have received a nomination for, or have applied for, or are a current holder of a Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491) or the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) visa you will not be eligible for nomination for the Skilled Nominated (Permanent) visa (subclass 190). This includes those who have received their 491 or 489 visa from interstate.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for Queensland nomination, you must meet both the Australian Department of Home Affairs (HA)  criteria and Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) criteria for your chosen visa category.

The HA criteria requires you to:
  • have a points test result of 65 or higher, inclusive of state nomination points
  • have a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
  • be under 45 years of age
  • meet the minimum English language requirement of COMPETENT, unless a higher level is required by your assessing authority
  • submit additional documents if invited to lodge an application for a subclass 190 or subclass 491 visa.
BSMQ criteria requires you to:
  • have an occupation on the QSOL ‘Working in Queensland’ list
  • provide evidence of full-time post-qualification employment (minimum of 35 hours per week) in your nominated occupation for the past 6 months in Queensland (190 visa) IMMEDIATELY prior to EOI submission. If you are lodging an EOI for a 491 visa you must be LIVING and WORKING (full-time post qualification, minimum 35 hours per week) in REGIONAL Queensland in your nominated occupation for the past 3 months IMMEDIATELY prior to EOI submission.
  • provide evidence of ongoing employment with a Queensland employer registered in Australia for a further 12 months (minimum of 35 hours per week). For the 491 it must be a ongoing employment in a REGIONAL area for a further 12 months (minimum 35 hours per week).
  • commit to living and working in Queensland for 2 years from visa grant.

Labour hire employment

If you are employed through a Labour Hire company please make sure that they are registered in Queensland.  All labour hire providers operating in Queensland need to be licensed under the new Labour Hire Licencing Act 2017 – including, those based interstate or overseas who supply workers in Queensland.

All existing labour hire companies operating in Queensland had until 15 June 2018 to comply with new registration requirements. Evidence that companies comply with these registration requirements will be required.

Due to a high demand and quota being met for the following occupations, they will be removed from the QSOL’s detailed below, when the skilled program re-opens in the coming weeks. The entire skilled program will re-open for both subclass 190 and subclass 491 visas. The exact date of the skilled program re-opening is yet to be confirmed.

If your occupation has been removed, please do not submit an EOI as it will not be picked up.

Occupations to be removed from QSOL November 2019

Onshore and Offshore -IT

•ICT Business Analyst ANZSCO 261111

•Systems Analyst ANZSCO 261112

•Developer Programmer ANZSCO 261312

•Software Engineer ANZSCO 261313

•Software and Applications Programmers nec ANZSCO 261399

•ICT Security Specialist ANZSCO 262112

•Computer Network and Systems Engineer ANZSCO 263111

•Analyst Programmer ANZSCO 261311

Onshore –Accounting

•Accountant (General) ANZSCO 221111

•Management Accountant ANZSCO 221112

•Taxation Accountant ANZSCO 221113

•External Auditor ANZSCO 221213

•Internal Auditor ANZSCO 221214

Offshore -Engineering

•Civil Engineer ANZSCO 233211

•Mechanical Engineer ANZSCO 233512

•Electrical Engineer ANZSCO 233311

•Engineering Technologist ANZSCO 233914

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