Visa options to the Northern Territory

As you might know, Regional Areas are the next big thing when it comes to migration possibilities in Australia and this post will focus on the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory is full of opportunities from a visa perspective, either for skilled visas such as Subclass 190 and 491, Graduate visas with special conditions or Sponsorship under the DAMA.

Advantages for International Students in the Northern Territory

The whole Territory is a Designated Regional Area, which in visa lingo means:

  • If you study there for at least 2 years, and complete a minimum Diploma course, you will be able to claim 5 extra points in the Points Test, if applying for one of the visas that are points-tested. Those visas are: Subclass 189 Permanent Skilled Independent Visa, Subclass 190 Permanent Skilled State/Territory Nominated Visa and the new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa.
  • If the 2-year course you complete is a  Higher-Education course (a Bachelor, a Master or a PhD), then you can apply for a Graduate 485 visa under the Post Study Work Rights Stream and get a 4-year visa with full work rights (instead of a 2 -year visa if you studied in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne).
  • By studying a minimum of 2 years in the NT, in a course that leads to a Diploma at least, you may be able to obtain nomination for the Skilled Permanent State/Territory Nominated 190 Visa or the Skilled Work Regional Temporary Visa 491
  • By studying in the NT you may find a job offer in your field leading to a Regional Employer visa 494 or a Sponsorship Work Visa 482 TSS under a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) of which the NT is part.

See below what is required for each one of those visas and understand your chances:

Skilled Work Regional Visa (subclass 491) – Temporary

This is a provisional visa that allows you and your dependants to live, work and study in a regional area for 5 years. After 3 years working and earning a minimum income level of A$53,900.00 per year, you may be eligible for a permanent residence visa (the new Subclass 191 Visa).

In order to be nominated by the Territory you will be required to live and work full-time in your nominated occupation in the NT for at least 6 months before applying OR studying there for at least 2 years in a course that awards you a Diploma qualification or higher.

It is also necessary to meet the basic requirements for this visa:

  • Have your occupation on the NT Nominated Occupation List if applying via work on in the STSOL or MLTSSL if completing 2 years of study;
  • Obtain a positive Skills Assessment in your nominated occupation;
  • Demonstrate a competent level of English;
  • Be under 45 years old;
  • Achieve a minimum of 65 points in the points test.

Once you are nominated by the Territory, you will be granted access to Medicare.

Offshore application

This visa is also available for people who live outside Australia. In this case, applicants must have been employed in their nominated occupation for at least 1 year out of the last 2 years prior to the application, or have relevant Australian qualifications.

In some cases, applicants must also have a full-time job offer in the NT

Skilled State/Territory Nominated Visa (Subclass 190) – Permanent

This is also a Skilled Nominated Visa, but a permanent one that allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely, as long as you commit to living in the NT for a minimum 2 years after the visa is granted.

To be nominated, you also need to meet the same requirements as described above for the Subclass 491 temporary visa.

Sponsorship TSS 482 visa under a DAMA – Temporary

The Designated Area Migration Agreement is an agreement between certain states or regions and the federal government that allow regional employers to sponsor workers under the TSS 482 visa with concessions.

In the Northern Territory, the DAMA lets business access employees if they have been operating for at least 12 months in the NT and can demonstrate, among other things, that they cannot fill the position locally with Australians.

You must have a job offer in your occupation/profession, in the Northern Territory and your employer needs to sponsor you under the approval of the DAMA.

The advantage here is that the employer and employee can access concessions such as:

  • age (under 50 when applying for a permanent visa instead of 45);
  • Lower level of English (overall 5 and a minimum 4.5 in each band in an IELTS test or equivalent);
  • Minimum salary concessions that reflect the region’s market rates;
  • More occupations available for employment/sponsorship than those in the regular occupation lists;
  • Occupations that wouldn’t normally take the worker to a permanent residency visa have a pathway for PR. Visa holders may be nominated by their employers after 3 years for the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Permanent Visa.


Skilled Employer Regional Temporary Visa (subclass 494) – Temporary

This is another employer visa that requires a job offer in a regional area, and the NT is a regional area. Once granted the visa will be valid for 5 years and the visa applicant must:

* Be under 45 years of age,

* have 3 years full time work experience in the same role

* obtain a positive Skills Assessment in the occupation

* score at least 6 in each component of the IELTS exam or equivalent

Employers will also be required to obtain a Regional Certification and as in the TSS 482 Sponsorship Visa, offer a minimum salary package of A$53,900.00 + super.

After 3 years working for the regional employer, visa holders may be eligible to apply for the Subclass 191 Permanent Visa.

If you are thinking about moving to the Northern Territory, or if you are already living and studying there, or you already have a potential employer in the NT, please contact us for an assessment to see if you meet all the requirements.

We would love to assist you in obtaining a visa in the NT!

Thanks for reading!