What is the 491 SBO Visa? Eligibility Criteria?

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If you are in Australia and are open to operating a business in Queensland, then you may be eligible for a subclass 491 Small Business Owner (‘SBO’) visa. You can apply for Australian permanent residency once you have held your 491 SBO visa for at least 3 years.
What is the 491 SBO Visa?
This visa is for skilled migrants who have purchased an existing Australian business located in a regional area of Queensland. A regional area includes any area in Queensland outside of Brisbane. You do not need to live in the same regional area as the business is located, but you do need to live in a regional area of Queensland. You will also need to live in a regional area of Queensland for at least 6 months before you can apply for this visa.
What are the other Eligibility Criteria?
1. Points
To be eligible for this visa you must have at least 65 points. To find out how many points you might have, click here.
2. Skills Assessment
You must have received a positive skills assessment for an occupation that is on the 491 Skilled Occupation List before you can apply for this visa.
3. Age
Only applicants under the age of 45 can apply for this visa.
4. English
You will need to demonstrate that you have ‘competent’ English language abilities. To find out how to meet this requirement, click here.
5. Business Requirements
To be eligible for this visa, the business that you have purchased must:
1. Have been operating for at least 12 months.
2. Have been trading for at least 6 months from the date you purchased the business.
3. Be 100% owned by you.
4. Have received at least $100,000AUD worth of investments from you. This can include the amount you paid to purchase the business.
5. Employ at least 1 Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen who holds a 444 visa. This employee must work at least 20 hours per week and not be a family member or subcontractor.
6. Working Rights and Study
Your current visa must allow you to work full-time. If you are currently studying, then you will not be eligible for this visa.
Ineligible Businesses
The following types of businesses are not eligible for a 491 SBO visa:
1. Partnerships
2. Joint Ventures
3. Start-ups
4. Home based businesses
5. Franchise businesses that have not been operating for at least a year
Application Process
To apply for this visa, you must follow the following steps:
1. Submit an Expression of Interest (‘EOI’) via SkillSelect.
2. Submit a 491 SBO Assessment Form.
3. Submit a nomination application to Business and Skills Migration Queensland (‘BSMQ’).
4. Submit a visa application to immigration.
Please note that if your BSMQ nomination application is approved, you will receive a letter of invitation (‘LOI’) from immigration inviting you to apply for a 491 visa. You must lodge your visa application within 60 days of receiving your LOI.
Processing Times
BSMQ processes completed nomination applications in approximately 10 days. Immigration does not have any standard processing times for 491 visa applications. However, it is not unusual for these applications to take up to 12 months to be processed.
Fees
There are no fees involved with submitting an EOI or 491 SBO Assessment Form. However, there are fees involved with a nomination and visa application. These are:
• $440AUD for the BSMQ nomination application
• $4,045AUD for the visa application
If you wish to include a family member in your visa application (i.e spouses, de facto partners or dependent children), you will need to pay an additional:
• $2,025 for family members over 18
• $1,010 for family members under 18
Please note that the fees above do not include our professional fees. For more information about our professional fees contact us.

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