Embark on Your Pharmacist Journey: Migrating to Australia with the 491 Visa

Dec 22, 2023 5 min read
Pharmacist Journey Migrating to Australia with 491 Visa

Key Takeaways:

  • Types of visas available for migrating to Australia.
  • Australia is heaven for medical professionals, especially pharmacists. 
  • You can quickly obtain a regional sponsored subclass 491 Visa in Australia, with which you can migrate to Australia along with your family. 


Australia ranks among the top destinations that have the highest pay for pharmacists. This is one of the significant reasons pharmacists worldwide migrate to Australia for better pay and career opportunities.

This type of Visa is available to healthcare professionals who have passed the healthcare exam.

For example, if you are a pharmacist and have completed the KAPS exam and English requirements, you can apply for any of these visas if you meet the requirements.

Different Types of Visa

A medical professional can obtain five types of skilled visas (apart from study, spouse or any other Visa form) in Australia. These include the following- 

  • General Skilled Migration Visa under subclass 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa)
  • Subclass 491 (Regional Sponsored Visa)
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa)
  • Subclass 494 (Skilled employer-sponsored regional Visa) 
  • Subclass 407 (Training visa)

About Subclass 491 Regional Visa

The new skilled work regional 491 visa (Subclass 491 Visa) is a provisional visa that enables all skilled workers to live, pursue education, and work in appointed areas of Australia and their families. This Visa is valid for a tenure of 5 years.

This is a provisional visa. It is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​stay in Australia for five years
  • live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia
  • travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while the Visa is valid​
  • apply for permanent residence after three years from the time your Visa is granted​

The fee for the principal applicant is AUD 4240, while that of dependents is AUD 2120 (for 18 years or above) and AUD 1060 (for below 18 years). Family members who seek a visa must be in good health and have a moral personality.

After application, the processing time of a Subclass 491 Visa takes around 3 to 6 months. Within this time, you can get your Visa and fly to Australia in the prescribed time. 

Eligibility Criteria

So, what is included in the eligibility criteria you must fulfil before applying for this visa type? Let us find out! You must:

  • be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or an eligible relative must sponsor you
  • have an occupation on a relevant state skilled occupation list
  • have a suitable skills assessment for the work (KAPS exam passed)
  • be invited to apply (invited by the state/eligible relative)
  • satisfy the points test (minimum 65 points needed, including 15 points from state sponsorship)
  • have competent English
  • have good health and character
  • Have an age of under 45 years

Documents Required

Below is the list of the essential documents required to apply for the same- 

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Skills assessment
  • Evidence for Financial Dependency
  • Claims on EOI Documents-
    • Skill Assessment
    • Language Assessment
    • Work Experience
    • Australian Skilled Employment
    • Education Qualification
    • Specialist Education
    • Study in Regional Australia
    • Partner Skills
  • Adoption papers (case specific)
  • Medical reports addressing the condition of the applicant
  • Documents of the Sponsor (if any)
    • Age-proof (18 years and above)
    • Declaration by your sponsor
    • Proof of being an eligible relative
    • Permanent residency proof

How Pharmacists Can Apply For Subclass 491 Regional Visa

  • The first step would be to pass The Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) exam.
  • After passing KAPS, the candidate will obtain a skills assessment letter from the Australian Pharmacy Council. 
  • Based on this document, you can file an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a subclass 190 visa in the state where you intend to practise, migrate, and settle in Australia.
  • English requirements.

Subclass 491 Visa processing time

Once you have submitted all the required documents, visa processing in Australia takes about 3-6 months on average.

Benefits of 491 Visa

Priority Processing

Regional applications receive priority processing, expediting the visa approval timeline.

Long-Term Incentives

Encourages migrants to establish enduring connections in regional areas.

Facilitates tie-building through workforce participation and community engagement.

Access to Medicare

Visa holders enjoy access to the Australian healthcare system through Medicare.

Increased Points

Subclass 491 visa applicants are eligible for additional points, enhancing their overall points score in the immigration process.

All the Guidance You Need is at Academically 

Working as an overseas pharmacist in Australia is a demanding yet rewarding option. You need to be thorough with your roadmap to ace the exam and pursue your career as a pharmacist.

Academically.ai helps pharmacists aspiring to pursue their dream of working as pharmacists abroad. Academically enables you to prepare for the KAPS exam while guiding you through 

the registration and interview processes.  

Whether you need help, support or guidance in any step of the Visa process, we are here to assist you. So, talk to the team of Academically today to understand all your options. 


Q: Can I apply for another visa while on a 491 visa in Australia?

Ans. Yes, you can apply for another visa while on a 491 visa in Australia. However, it's essential to check the specific conditions and requirements of the Visa you intend to apply for, as they may vary.

Q: Can I get a job with a 491 visa?

Ans. Yes, with a 491 visa in Australia, you can work and seek employment. The Visa is designed to encourage skilled migrants to live and work in regional areas of Australia, providing jobs and community engagement opportunities.

Q: Who can sponsor me in Australia for a 491 visa?

Ans. The sponsor must be:

  • 18 years old or older.
  • Usually resident in a designated area of Australia.
  • Be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Be your eligible relative or your partner's eligible relative if your partner is also applying for this Visa.

Q: Can I buy a house in Australia on a 491 visa?

Ans. Yes, individuals holding a 491 visa in Australia are generally allowed to buy a house. However, it's essential to be aware of any restrictions or conditions that may apply and to comply with Australian foreign investment rules, which can vary based on visa type and circumstances. It's advisable to seek professional advice and check with relevant authorities before purchasing any property.

Q: Is 75 a good score for a 491 visa in Australia?

Ans. a score of 75 for the 491 visa in Australia is generally considered competitive. However, the competitiveness can vary depending on the specific occupation, state or territory nomination requirements, and the overall points cutoff in a given application round.

Dr. Akram Ahmad
Dr. Akram Ahmad
about the author

Dr. Akram Ahmad is a clinical pharmacist and lecturer with over 10 years of teaching and research experience across various subjects of medicine in India, Malaysia and Australia. He is an educationist and a medpreneur with extensive knowledge of the global healthcare diaspora. Through his articles, videos and engaging sessions, he always aims to impart unexplored knowledge about the healthcare world to interested students and professionals.