Migration Experts & Visa Experts
20 Oct 2020

Great news for small business owners in Queensland!

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The 491 Visa and everything you need to know about it…

what exactly is the hype about?

The 491 Visa is a pathway for non-citizens currently living and operating a small business in regional business in Queensland. Your current Visa also needs to have unrestricted works rights and you cannot be studying.
This is an onshore visa, which means that you can apply for this Visa only if you’re currently in Australia.

What you need to be eligible for this Visa;

To be eligible you need to meet the requirements of the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) and the Queensland BSMQ.

The Department of Home Affairs requires that you;

  1. Scored at least 65 points, inclusive of state nomination points;
  2. Have a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation;
  3. Under 45
  4. Have competent (for eg, at least 6.0 in each band of the IELTS test) or higher level of English language if required by the skills assessing authority. No exemption even if you hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or NZ.

Queensland Business & Skilled Migration (BSMQ)

  1. Your occupation must be in the occupations shortage list (see LIN 19/051);
  2. Have prior business experience or qualifications to successfully run the business or have previously involved in a family-run business
  3. You are currently on a visa that allows full-time work (at least 35 hours per week)
  4. Have purchased an existing business in regional Queensland, cannot be start-up or home based businesses
  5. Paid at least $100,000 for the business
  6. Have 100% business ownership, cannot be partnership or joint venture
  7. Must have traded in the business for at least 6 months before applying for the Small Business Owners 491 visa
  8. Employed at least 1 employee who is an Australian resident (citizen or PR) who is not related to you or a subcontractor working at least 20 hours per week
  9. Have sufficient funds to settle in regional Queensland

Your occupation must be in the current occupations’ shortage list, and your skills for this occupation must be assessed positive for Migration.
however your business (no limitation to the type of business )does not need to be related to your nominated occupation, but you will be required to show that you have relevant business experience or qualification to demonstrate that you can successfully run the business.

Note:  The person applying for Queensland nomination must be the same person operating the business.

The application process:

  1. Submit EOI and select “Queensland” as the nominating state (preference will be given over those who selected “ANY” state)
  2. Submit an online 491 – SBO assessment form – see
  3. If successful, you will receive an invitation from the BSMQ to pay a non-refundable application fee ($440 + GST)
  4. You will have 14 days from date of invitation to finalise your application. You can request from BSMQ an extension, if not, your application will be closed, and you will need to submit a new EOI.
  5. If you made a mistake in your EOI after being nominated, you will have to wait 6 months before you can re-apply again
  6. When the BSMQ approved your application, you will receive an invitation from the Department to lodge your Small Business Owners 491 visa application within 60 days.

BSMQ docs to support Small Business Owners 491 visa nomination

If you are invited by BSMQ, you will be required to support your subclass 491 visa application with:

  • Application form
  • Settlement funds declaration form
  • Personal bank statement
  • Skills assessment
  • Commitment statement
  • Evidence of business management experience
  • Evidence of academic qualification
  • Evidence of business ownership and/or registration docs (eg, contract of sale, ABN / ACN / ASIC) – business must be registered in Queensland.
  • Evidence of Australian resident employee (cannot be a subcontractor or a member of your family) – eg, payslip, PAYG statements, their passport and visa (if an Australian PR) or Australian citizenship certificate
  • Evidence of business has been operating for at least 6 months (eg, at least 2 BAS statements)
  • Evidence of your current visa
  • Utility bill or lease agreement

The estimated processing time by the BSMQ is approximately two weeks after the receipt of a completed application.

Australian Migration Law is difficult and complex to understand, get in touch with us for a free initial consultation today!

Disclaimer: this Article is for information purposes only, it is not intended to be taken as legal advice.

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