Pharmacists Obtain Regional Sponsored 491 Visa | Academically Australia

Here is How Pharmacists Can Obtain a Regional Sponsored Subclass 491 Visa in Australia in 2023

Jun 13, 2024 2 min read
Regional Sponsored 491 Visa in Australia for Pharmacists

Key Takeaways

  • Australia is heaven for medical professionals, especially pharmacists.
  • Understanding the features of the Visa that you are seeking is extremely important.
  • You can easily obtain a regional sponsored subclass 491 Visa in Australia, with which you can migrate to Australia along with your family.


Australia tops the list of the finest career destinations for pharmacists from across the world. The major reason why overseas-trained pharmacists migrate to Australia is to seek better pay and career opportunities. In addition to this, there are several attractions in Australia, like excellent quality of life, exposure to incredible career opportunities, great career flexibility and more. The Australian government offers various Visa pathways to facilitate immigration, and the Subclass 491 Visa is one such avenue that has garnered attention in recent years. In this blog, we'll explore the key features, eligibility criteria, and benefits of the Australian Visa Subclass 491.

Even though there are multiple Visa options for pharmacists migrating to Australia, a highly recommended option is Subclass 491 (Regional Sponsored Visa). This type of Visa is available to healthcare professionals who have passed the healthcare exam. 

At a crucial time like this, it is important to know about the different visa options that could be your entryway to Australia. You must understand the Visa options carefully to find out which one meets your requirements. For example, if you are a pharmacist and have completed the KAPS exam and meet the English requirements, you can apply for any of these Visas, according to your preference.

Different Visa Options for Healthcare Professionals in Australia 

There are generally five types of skilled visas (apart from study, spouse or any other visa form) that a healthcare professional can obtain 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) and
  • Subclass 407 (Training Visa).

Understanding the Subclass 491 Regional Visa

The new Skilled Work Regional 491 Visa (Subclass 491 Visa) is a Provisional Visa that facilitates all skilled workers from other countries to live, pursue education, and work in appointed areas of Australia with their families. The validity of this Visa is five years.

The Subclass 491 Visa falls under the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa category and is created to acknowledge skill shortages in regional areas of Australia. This Visa encourages migrants to settle in specified regional areas and contribute to the local economy, fostering sustainable growth in these regions. 

This Visa allows you to: 

  • Live in Australia for five years
  • Work and study in an appointed regional area in Australia
  • Enter and exit Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid​
  • Apply for permanent residency in Australia after three years from the date on which your visa is granted​

The fee for the main applicant is $4240 AUD, while that of dependents is $2120 (for 18 years or above) and $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 period, you can get your Visa and fly to Australia in the prescribed time. 

Eligibility Criteria

So, what is included in the eligibility criteria that need to be fulfilled before applying for this Visa type? Let us find out! You must:

  • Be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency or be sponsored by an eligible relative
  • Have an occupation on a relevant state skilled occupation list
  • Have the suitable skill assessment for the chosen occupation (in this case, KAPS exam qualification)
  • Be invited to apply (invited by the state/eligible relative)
  • Satisfy the points test (a minimum of 65 points are 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 important documents required to apply for the same- 

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Skills assessment
  • Proof of financial dependency
  • Adoption papers (case-specific)
  • Medical reports addressing the condition of the applicant

The following are the documents related to your claims on EOI that you need to provide:

You need to provide all the supporting documents for the information provided in your Expression of Interest (EOI):

If you have a sponsor, then the following information needs to be provided by the sponsor:

  • Age proof (18 years and above)
  • Declaration by your sponsor
  • Proof of being an eligible relative
  • Permanent residency proof

Subclass 491 Visa processing time

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

Subclass 491 Visa Fee

Subclass 491 VisaFess AUD
Main applicant fee$4240 AUD
Dependents fee

$2120 AUD (Applicable for 18 years and above)

$1060 AUD (Applicable for 18 years and below)

Benefits of the Subclass 491 Visa

  • Pathway to Permanent Residency:
    • The Subclass 491 Visa is a Provisional Visa, allowing holders to live, work, and study in regional Australia for up to five years.
    • After meeting the visa conditions, individuals may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through Subclass 191 Visa, which is designed for Subclass 491 Visa holders.
  • Access to Medicare:
    • Visa holders are entitled to access Australia's healthcare system, Medicare, ensuring access to medical services and facilities.
  • Education Opportunities:
    • Holders of Subclass 491 Visa can enrol in educational programs and institutions in regional areas, contributing to the growth of regional education sectors.
  • Regional Contribution:
    • By settling in regional areas, Visa holders contribute to the economic development and vitality of these regions, fostering community growth and sustainability.

Steps Involved for Overseas-trained Pharmacists to Migrate to Australia

  • Initial skill assessment
  • Passing the KAPS Exam in 90 Days
  • Qualifying an English Proficiency Test

How Can Pharmacists Apply For Subclass 491 Regional Visa?

The first step would be to pass the Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) exam.

After passing the KAPS exam, the candidate will obtain a skill 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.

KAPS Exam Preparation Course

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.

The Australian Visa Subclass 491 presents a valuable opportunity for individuals seeking to build a new life in regional Australia. With its focus on skill contribution and regional development, this Visa pathway aligns with the Australian government's vision for a balanced and prosperous nation. Aspiring migrants should carefully review the eligibility criteria, undertake thorough research, and seek professional advice to maximise their chances of a successful application, ultimately paving the way for a fulfilling and promising future Down Under.

Academically helps pharmacists aspiring to pursue their dream of working as pharmacists abroad. Academically helps you 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. 

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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.