New visas for regional Australia & priority processing arrangements

The Australian government has recently announced that in November 2019 it will introduce two new visas to support regional Australia. The visas will provide a pathway to permanent residence via a period of at least 3 years provisional residence. In addition the government has also announced that with immediate effect it is broadening the processing priority arrangements for accredited sponsors to extend to the permanent subclass 186 and 187 visas.

Who will be affected?

Employers who have businesses located in regional areas of Australia as well as visa applicants who may be willing to work in regional areas.


Non-regional areas of Australia currently attract the highest proportion of skilled migrants. In an effort to support employers in regional areas the Australian government has recently announced regional initiatives to help deliver skilled migrants to regional areas. These include the expansion of Designated Area Migration Agreements, priority processing of regional permanent visa applications (subclass 187) for accredited sponsors and now the introduction of two new provisional to permanent visas. Regional Australia will include all of Australia except for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.


There will be two new visas available from November 2019:

  1. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia. This visa will have approximately 700 occupations available for sponsorship.
  2. Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia. This visa will have approximately 500 occupations available for nomination or sponsorship.

Both visas will have a 5 year validity period and will receive priority processing. Under these new visas, migrants will be required to live and work in a regional area of Australia for at least three years before they are eligible to apply for permanent residence. The new permanent visa will be available from November 2022.

The government has also recently announced that accredited sponsors will receive priority processing of the permanent subclass 186 and 187 visas in addition to the current priority processing arrangements for subclass 482 (TSS) visa.

Santa Fe Analysis:

Whilst the details of these visas are not yet available it appears likely that the changes may offer permanent visa pathways to some applicants who otherwise would not have been eligible, and they may help regional employers fill skilled positions in their businesses. With regards to the priority processing for accredited sponsors Santa Fe has already seen a number of Transitional Residence stream subclass 186 applications processed in line with this new direction as well as Direct Entry subclass 187 visas. We have not yet seen Direct Entry subclass 186 applications for accredited sponsors be prioritised, but are hopeful that these applications are also included in the new arrangements. Please contact Santa Fe to discuss your individual situation.

For further information or assistance please contact:

Simon Delmo                                                        

Immigration Manager
Santa Fe Relocation Australia
Registered Migration Agent No. 1066328
T: +61 3 9554 7393

 Soumeya Messadi
Head of Immigration Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Group, Singapore
D: +65 6398 3520 / +65 9169 6061


To read more immigration updates, click here

About our Immigration Services

Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

About us

Santa Fe Relocation is a global mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees relocate and settle in a new country, assisting them with immigration, home and school searches, language and cultural training, property rentals, and domestic and international household goods shipments. We provide these services to a consistently high standard, locally and globally. A key strength is our ability to manage these services through our own operations around the world. Santa Fe Relocation is wholly owned by the Santa Fe Group, which is listed on NASDAQ in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more information, visit us at

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