Selecting a visa and the associated application process can be a daunting process, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.


While our staff are happy to answer any questions you may have, please ensure you have read through these questions and the corresponding answers before contacting us. Our staff resources are limited, so the more time we spend on the phone and replying to emails, the less time we can spend assessing applications, and in turn the longer it is for everyone to receive their outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about nomination criteria

Why is RDA Sydney not accepting offshore applications?

RDA Sydney will not be accepting offshore applications under stream 3b and 3c until further notice. This is due to the request from the Australian Government to prioritise on-shore applicants and the national border restrictions because of COVID-19. This will be reviewed in April and no exceptions can be made.

What is the employment requirement under Stream 1?

An applicant must have worked in their nominated, or closely related, occupation for the 12 months immediately preceding their application in regional NSW. The employment must qualify as skilled employment under the Home Affairs points scheme, i.e. a minimum of 20 hours per week. The employment does not need to be located in the region being applied to.

I have been residing in NSW for less than 12 months, am I still eligible to apply?

If you are currently living in regional NSW, but do not meet the 12-month minimum requirement outlined under Stream 1, you may be eligible to apply for NSW nomination under Stream 3 if you have a job offer or family ties; however, preference will be being given to applicants applying under Stream 1 and meet the 12-month requirement.

I have a job offer in Regional NSW, but my current visa conditions mean I am unable to accept it, can I still apply under stream 3A?

If you cannot currently accept the job offer you wish to us to apply for nomination under Stream 3A, then offer must explicitly state that the employer is prepared to hold the job open until you have been granted your subclass 491 visa and are able to legally work the required hours per week. The genuineness of the job offer you provide with your application will be scrutinised during assessment.

I studied at a Regional NSW University, but I no longer reside in NSW. Am I still eligible under stream 2?

As long as you lived in a designated regional area of NSW while completing your study and meet the other criteria for Stream 2, you can still apply even though you no longer live in NSW. However, you will be expected to relocate to the Hawkesbury or Blue Mountains region if you apply for a NSW nomination through RDA-NI.

I currently reside in Australia, am I eligible to apply for NSW nomination under stream 3B?

No. Stream 3B is for offshore applicants only. Although there is no designated timeframe that an applicant must be residing offshore when applying, an applicant must demonstrate they have genuinely established residency outside Australia when applying. Applicants residing in Australia who relocate offshore solely to meet this criteria will have their applications declined. RDA Sydney requires a genuine job offer in order to accept an offshore application for consideration. RDA Sydney will not be accepting offshore applications under stream 3b until further notice due to the national border restrictions because of COVID-19

Questions about applying

What are the areas covered by RDA Sydney?

The Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains.

Where is the Hawkesbury and what areas does it cover?

The city of Hawkesbury is a Local Government Area (LGA) in New South Wales at the fringe of the Sydney Metropolitan Area. It is about 50 km north west of Sydney's CBD. The city is named after the Hawkesbury River. To view more information on Hawkesbury City visit the following link: To view the map of the Hawkesbury region visit the following link: www.

Where are the Blue Mountains and what areas do they cover?

The Blue Mountains are a mountainous region and mountain range in New South Wales. The region borders on Sydney's Metropolitan area about 50 km West of Sydney. Learn more about the Blue Mountains in the following link: View the Blue Mountains map on the following link:

Where can I live and work in NSW under the subclass 491 visa?

The Department of Home Affairs determines which regions of Australia are eligible for the 491 visa. Eligible regions are published on the Home Affairs’ designated regional area postcodes website. If you apply to RDA Sydney and either the Hawkesbury or the Blue Mountains region nominates you, we expect you to have a moral obligation to fulfil your visa conditions in our region.

Can I apply to the Hawkesbury or the Blue Mountains regions if my occupation is not on the occupation list for that region?

No. However, if you meet the requirements to apply and are working in your field in the Hawkesbury or Blue Mountains region, you are encouraged to contact us.

What English Test results are accepted?

Competent English or better is a required for Skilled Migration. The Department of Home Affairs provides detailed information on the accepted English tests.

Do I have to use a Migration Agent?

No, the process is transparent and there is enough straight forward information that a migrant agent is not necessary. However, it can be worthwhile engaging the services of a Registered Migration Agent to ensure you are on the best path and that all applications are submitted complete with all required documentation. Leaving things out can result in a negative outcome or processing delays, which can be almost as frustrating. The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority has helpful information about engaging a migration agent.

How long will it take?

RDA Sydney works hard to keep its processing timeframe under one month. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can cause delays. It is the applicant’s responsibility to advise us if their case is urgent (due to visa or points expiring, for example).

Can I request urgent processing of my application?

Under some limited circumstances, such an upcoming birthday that will render you ineligible to apply, we can prioritise processing of an application for you. However, it will take four working days for a your nomination to be processed by the NSW Government after we have assessed a positive application. All eligibility criteria, such as age must be met when the NSW Government process their nomination, not when we receive your application. Therefore it is not reasonable to expect your application to be processed in under seven working days. If you need urgent processing of your application, you must contact our office before submitting your application.

How is Covid-19 impacting on skilled migration in Australia?

Covid-19 is logically the first priority of any Australian Government Department. Almost all visa applications that were / are lodged from offshore during the pandemic and most of those which are not on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List can expect lengthy processing timeframes from the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

What are the postcodes of the Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains regions?

The official list of post codes can be seen in the Department of Home Affairs in the following link:

Questions about 491 Visa Requirements

Do I need to work in my field when I have the 491 visa?

No. You can work in any occupation, once you have the visa. The only work requirement is that your income meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) for three years, in a regional location. The TSMIT is currently AUD$53,900 p.a.

Can I travel while on the 491 visa?

Yes, you can travel to anywhere in Australia or internationally.
Covid-19 restrictions, State and National border closures and quarantining requirements/costs should be researched and considered carefully.

Am I allowed to visit a non-designated regional area like Sydney?

Condition 8549 for the 489 visa and condition 8579 for the 491 visa requires that while the visa holder is in Australia, they must live, work and study only in a designated regional area. Condition 8579 is not intended to prevent a visa holder from engaging in incidental activities outside a Designated Regional Area (DRA). Such activities may include: -holidays -work-related travel -work-related training The Department will adopt a flexible approach to the assessment of compliance with condition 8579, taking account of the personal circumstances affecting individual visa holders. However, extended absences from the DRA may result in further scrutiny by the Department to ensure that the visa holder is or was living, working and studying in the DRA during the relevant periods. The Department may request further evidence from the visa holder on the reason for travel outside the DRA, where: -the holder spends more than 90 days in total per annum outside the DRA, or -the holder spends more than 60 continuous days outside the DRA, or -there is a pattern of extended and/or frequent absences that are indicative of employment outside the DRA.

Do I need Health Insurance?

You are entitled to a Medicare Card once you have a 491 or 494 visa.
For Permanent Residents and Citizens of Australia, Private Health Insurance is a matter of personal choice and this is also the case for 491 and 494 visa holders. You can find out more on our page about Private Health Insurance and Medicare for skilled migrants.