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Businesses can sponsor foreign workers in certain occupations to work in designated regional areas on a temporary basis through the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) Visa.

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) visa is the temporary regional component of the employer sponsored visa program.


Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) Visa

The TSS, SESR, and ENS programs are employed sponsored visas for skilled foreign workers in certain occupations. The SESR Subclass 494 visa is a temporary visa for applicants to work in designated regional areas, with a pathway to permanent residency via the Subclass 191 visa. For further information see our FAQ below.

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Target Market
  • Established businesses in designated regional areas
  • Employees with job offers from companies based in designated regional areas
Visa applicant requirements
  • Be under the age of 45
  • Qualifications that match the role
  • At least 3 years of full time, post qualification experience in the role
  • A skills assessment in the nominated occupation
  • Genuine intention to work in the nominated position
  • Mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements
  • Adequate arrangements for health insurance
  • Health, character and English requirements
Company (sponsorship) requirements
  • Actively and lawfully operating in Australia or
  • Actively and lawfully operating overseas but requiring the visa applicant to establish an Australian business or fulfill contractual obligations
Position (nomination) requirements
  • A genuine, full time position in the sponsor’s business that is likely to exist for at least 5 years
  • The position must be located in a part of Australia that is a designated regional area
  • The salary must be certified by a relevant Regional Certifying Body as being in line with market rates
  • A salary in line with market rates
  • Subject to Labour Market Testing (LMT)
  • On the relevant occupation lists (see here)

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) Visa

The actual documents you require are dependent on your particular circumstances including (but not limited to) your family members, your health and character, your identity and your occupation. Your Hannan Tew advisor will provide you with a link to the Hannan Tew portal which will set out the specific documents required.

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Sponsorship documents
  • An Australian Business Number (ABN) registration certificate if you are an Australian-based employer
  • An Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) registration certificate if you are an overseas business registered to operate in Australia
  • Evidence of registration in the country you operate in if you do not currently operate in Australia
  • If your business has a registered business or trading name, provide a copy of the Business Names Details extract from Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) business name register
  • If you are a larger or an established business that has operated over a number of years, provide:
    • profit and loss statements
    • annual report for the most recently concluded financial year
  • If you are a smaller or recently established business, provide:
    • tax returns for the most recently concluded financial year
    • recent business activity statements (BAS)
    • recent bank statements
  • If you are a new business provide a business plan which includes contracts to provide services, contracts for lease / purchase of business premises, evidence of employment of staff
  • If your business is not yet operating in Australia, show your intention to set up in Australia or that you have a contractual obligation to set up in Australia
Nomination documents
  • Organisational chart
  • Employment contract
  • Letter of support from accountant confirming business is a going concern
  • Market salary report (AMSR)
  • Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement 
  • RCB Certification Letter
  • Genuine position summary confirming that occupation is in line with the ANZSCO description. position fits into the business.
Visa documents
  • Biographical pages of your current passports or travel documents
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of yourself
  • Evidence of your health assessment (we will advise you if this is required after we receive your completed questionnaire)
  • Police certificates for any country (including Australia) if you have lived for a cumulative period of 12 months or more.
  • Passport bio data page for each family member
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of each family member
  • Birth certificate for each family member (translated)
  • If in a married relationship, a copy of your marriage certificate (translated)
  • If in de facto relationship, evidence of at least 6 months of (i) shared finances (bank / credit card statements) (ii)living together (lease, correspondence at same address) and (iii) social (messages to each
  • If children are between 18 and 23, evidence of financial dependency: (i) reside in the same household (E.g. correspondence to the same address) (ii) financially dependency (e.g. bank statements) (iii) studying (E.g. university enrolment)
  • If including a child under 18 where a parent is not included, evidence of custody (legal documents and Form 1229)
  • A skills assessment from a registered organisation
  • Your up to date CV covering at least 5 years
  • Educational qualification certificates
  • Registration, licensing and professional membership certificate (as relevant)
  • Employment references from previous employers (as relevant)
  • Documents evidencing your English capabilities: (i) IELST / OEP / PTE/ CAE results or (ii) Passport biodata page / qualifications

Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) Visa

You should consider the preparation of the following items prior to applying for a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) visa, which may include: confirming nomination from your prospective employer and request the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) for your records, obtaining a skills assessment, check the validity of your passport, an English proficiency examination, or undergoing a health evaluation. You may need assistance with your application from a Registered Migration Agent and/or qualified Immigration Lawyer.

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Gathering the documents

Collate all the documentation which you require for your application to ensure the Department has all the information available to correctly assess your eligibility for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) visa (see documents tab).

All documents will have to be digitised (scanned or photographed and uploaded to a computer). Ensure all non-English documentation is translated into English. 

Applying for the visa

The application for theSkilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) visa is completed online via ImmiAccount, a portal managed by the Department:

  • Log-in or create an ImmiAccount on the Department website
  • Attach documents as outlined in the application
  • Pay the application fee (Note: The Department will not process your application until the relevant fees are paid). As of August 2022, the lodgement fees are noted below (in Australian dollars), noting that fees can vary depending on your family members:
    • Primary Applicant: $4,240
    • Secondary Applicant(s): $2,120 > 18, $1,060 < 18
    • Secondary visa application charge (for > 18 who do not have functional English
Input the TRN provided by your prospective employer

Ensure that all family members accompanying the primary visa holder are added to your visa application, as you are unable to add family members after the application has been submitted. If you are successful in your visa application, certain family members can join you in Australia as a subsequent entrant. 

After application

The Department will send a confirmation letter (via email and/or the ImmiAccount portal messaging system) once your application and associated documentation has been received.

The standard processing times from the Department for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) visa is as follows:

  • 50% of applications: 4 months
  • 75% of applications: 6 months

No updates on the application will be provided during the standard processing time. If more information is required, this will be requested via the ImmiAccount portal.

Do not travel to Australia until the outcome of your visa application is received and you have been granted the visa. If you are in Australia during the application process, ensure you hold a valid substantive visa or Bridging Visa until the application is processed.

Be sure to advise the Department if there are any mistakes on your application but submitting a Notice of Incorrect Answers, or if your personal circumstances change after you have applied.

Visa outcome

The Department will advise you of the outcome of your Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) visa application in writing.

If your visa application is successful, you will be advised of:

  • your visa grant number
  • the date your visa starts (and ends) and
  • your visa conditions.

Be sure to retain a copy of the decision for when you arrive and whilst you live in Australia.

If you are refused a visa, you will be advised in writing:

  • the reason(s) for the unsuccessful application and
  • whether you have a right to review the decision

It is vital that you read and understand the refusal notification clearly to understand the timeframe and means of appeal. Declined visa applications are generally provided with 21 days to lodge a review application with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

In most cases, your application fee will not be refunded even if the application is unsuccessful.

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Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) (Subclass 494) Visa

Preparing visa applications necessarily requires the collation of an abundance of data from both visa applicants and sponsoring organisations. We provide secure access to beautiful visualisations of this data to allow you to easily track your visa populations. You can customise fields, visualisation types, branding, colour schemes, placements and widgets to ensure you can easily sift through the data in a way that suits your business needs.

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SESR Visas

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SESR visa?

The SESR Subclass 494 is the “regional” TSS visa, with a broader access .

It allows an employer to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to undertake a role in a designated regional area which they are unable to appropriately fill with a suitably skilled Australian worker. 

See the “Eligibility” tab for further information about each stream and the relevant, varying eligibility criteria for each.

Who should apply for a SESR visa?

Typically, an employer/sponsor will instruct an individual to apply for a visa for their specific role, which fills a temporary skill shortage in Australia. The instances which an individual should apply for a SESR 494 visa are as follows:

  • If an individual is nominated by an approved business sponsor to work in a designated regional area; or
  • If an individual changes employers and is nominated to work in designated regional area; or
  • A family member of the Subclass 494 visa applicant under the subsequent entrant category who wishes to accompany the primary visa applicant in a designated regional are. 

For a complete, updated list of occupations or advice as to whether your role falls within a relevant occupations list, speak with us today on (03) 9016 0484 or book a consultation online with our Melbourne immigration lawyers.

What are the stages of an eventual SESR visa application?

A TSS visa applicant is comprised of three stages, the sponsorship, the nomination and the visa.

Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) – This is the permission required by any company before it can sponsor employees onto employer sponsored visas visas.  Foreign registered companies can apply for approval for an Overseas Business Sponsorship (OBS) in certain circumstances. Generally speaking, the business must demonstrate that it is lawfully and actively operating, provide financial documents, and meet specified training benchmarks. Upon approval, this permission can be granted for up to five years.

Nomination – This requires the business to ‘nominate’ a position within their company, nominate an occupation on a specified list of occupations, provide guaranteed earnings in line with the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), pay the nominee in line with Australian market rates, and provide evidence of Labour Market Testing, and certification from regional certifying body.

Visa – The visa applicant must demonstrate that they hold the necessary skills (qualifications/work experience), and satisfy identity, English, health and character requirements.

What are the requirements from an employer for business sponsorship?

The business seeking to employ must:

  • be actively and lawfully operating in Australia; or
  • be actively and lawfully operating overseas (not in Australia), and be bringing the visa applicant to Australia either to establish a business operation, or to fulfil contractual obligations).

In addition there must not be any adverse information that is relevant to the business’ suitability as an approved sponsor.

What are the requirements for the SESR nominated position?

The position to be filled must:

  1. be a genuine, full time position that is likely to exist for at least 5 years;
  2. be in the sponsor’s business (or that of an associated entity), and be subject to a written contract of employment (unless exempt);
  3. have a salary that is (a) at least $53,990 per annum (excluding any non-monetary benefits) and (b) at least the annual market salary rate for the nominated position;
  4. be subject to conditions of employment that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location and have this certified by a regional certifying body;
  5. have been subject to Labour Market Testing (LMT). This requires the sponsor to provide evidence that it has advertised the position for 4 weeks in the last 4 months.
  6. the occupation related to the position must be on the current Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Regional Occupation List (ROL).

What are the requirements for the SESR visa applicant?

The visa applicant must:

  1. have qualifications / work experience that matches the requirements of the nominated position
  2. have at least 3 years of full-time, post-qualification experience in the nominated occupation
  3. genuinely intend to work in the nominated position
  4. meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements
  5. have a skills assessment in the nominated occuption
  6. have adequate arrangements for health insurance during their stay in Australia
  7. meet health, English, and character requirements

How long is my SESR visa valid for?

SESR visas can be granted for up to 5 years.

Can I commence work before my SESR visa application is approved?

Unless you have an existing visa with work authorisation, you must not commence work with your employer until your SESR visa is approved.

I hold a current visa and am in Australia, what if it expires before my SESR visa is approved?

If you are in Australia and hold a substantive visa when we lodge your SESR visa
application, in most cases you will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA).

This BVA will allow you to remain in Australia during processing of your SESR visa.

Note that the BVA will not allow you to re-enter Australia if you depart during processing of your SESR visa. You will need to seek special permission to do so. Please notify us immediately if you have travel plans during the processing of your SESR visa as it can impact the application.

Can I include my family in my SESR visa?

Yes, you generally can include your spouse/partner and children in your visa application.

They will also receive a SESR Visa, usually valid for the same duration as your visa.

There are specific requirements for children over the age of 18 to demonstrate dependency. Children 23 years or above cannot be included except in very limited circumstances.

I have a dependent partner, can they work?

Yes, your partner will have full work authorisation in Australia which means they can work for any employer.

Can my children study?

Yes. However, different States/ Territories in Australia have different requirements and fees may be applicable. We strongly recommend that you explore this with the education provider directly.

Can I access Medicare or other social security benefits as a SESR visa holder?

Yes – SESR Subclass 494 visa holders have access to Medicare (see here).

Citizens of certain countries have access to Medicare under reciprocal arrangements with Australia.

Do I need health, character and / or English assessments for a SESR visa application?

Depending on your country of nationality, you may require health examinations to process your visa. Hannan Tew Immigration will advise you of
the relevant assessments once you have completed the information questionnaire.

You will need to demonstrate a “competent” level of English – see here.

You will need to provide police clearances for all countries in which you have resided for 12 months or more in the last 10 years. There are limited exemptions to this if your employer is an accredited business sponsor

I need to do an English assessment for my SESR visa, which one is appropriate?

If you do require an English assessment, you need to undertake one of the following:

  1. IELTS overall band score of at least 6.0 with a score of at least 6 in each of the test components
  2. OET score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components
  3. TOEFL iBT total sscore of at least at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, and 18 for speaking
  4. PTE Academic overall test score of at least 50 in each of the test components
  5. CAE overall test score of at least 169 in each of the test components

They are all considered equivalent, and the one most suitable for you is a matter of preference. To book the test, search for the respective test names on your preferred internet search engine followed by your location.

Should I just book my health examinations and obtain police clearances?

The Department have appointed particular panel doctors who are authorised to conduct health examinations for Australian visa purposes.

If the health examinations are not carried out by these individuals, they will need to be redone.

The Department also require specific police clearances.

Please wait for instructions from your HT advisor to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily incur any costs or loss of time.

Am I subject to any conditions once I have obtained my SESR visa?

Your SESR visa will be granted with the following conditions:

  1. You must notify Immigration of a change to any of the following within 14 days of the change occurring: your residential address, email address, phone number, passport details, address of your employer, address of the location where you are employed
  2. You must live, work, and study only in a part of Australia that was a “designated regional area” at the time your visa was granted
  3. If requested in writing by the Minister, you must provide evidence of the following within 27 days: your residential address, the address of your employer, the address of each location where you are employed, the address of an educational institution attended
  4. If requested in writing by the Minister, you must attend an interview
  5. You must work only in the occupation nominated in your most recently approved SESR 494 visa granted, and for your sponsoring employer (or an associated entity)
  6. You must not cease employment for more than 90 consecutive days

How many times can I renew my SESR visa?

While you can hypothetically renew this indefinitely, most people would aim to apply for permanent residency via the Subclass 191 visa once they meet the visa duration / income requirement.

Do I need health insurance for my SESR visa?

No – SESR 494 visa holders are eligible for Medicare.

What if I have a SESR visa and want to change companies?

It is a condition of SESR visas that the visa holder can only work for the employer that sponsors them. This means that a visa holder cannot change employers unless another Australian business lodges a new nomination to link their visa to them.

The new sponsor must apply to be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor if not already approved as one. Only once the sponsorship and nomination are approved, can the visa holder commence working for the new sponsor.

The visa holder can be employed for their new sponsor for the remaining time left on their visa.

Can a SESR visa lead to permanent residency?

SESR Subclass 494 visa holders can apply for the Subclass 191 visa (without their employer) if they:

  1. have held their SESR 494 visa for at least three years
  2. have had taxable income at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for at least 3 years while holding this visa (currently $53,900)
  3. have complied with the conditions of their 494 visa and
  4. satisfy health and character requirements

The information contained here is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. The information: (i) must be regarded as a practical guide for general information and not a process guide for determining the specific immigration requirements of the countries covered, (ii) should not be a substitute for a more indepth analysis of applicable facts and circumstances conducted by competent professionals, and (iii) does not represent an opinion from Hannan Tew or any of its agents with regard to the laws of any of the jurisdictions concerned. The information does not guarantee the outcome or approval of any particular immigration application.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience representing the world’s largest corporations, SMEs, and start ups, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the employer sponsored visa process, including: business sponsorship applications, nomination applications, compliance and sponsorship bars.

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