Summary of Small Business Owner Program

If you are interested in setting up business in Australia…

…the very first thing you could see are classic Business visas, which include a significant amount for investment, assets and business revenue, business skills, and experience of candidate. One more point made the process complicated is innovative business ideas for the entrepreneur stream.

But there is a simpler and more affordable option with state / territory nomination under Skilled stream. Regional Provisional skilled visa SC 491 offers small business owners an alternative pathway with state nomination process, where primary applicant still requires to have an occupation from eligible list of occupations. The application can only be lodged / approved in the State / Territory that supports this program.

Only 4 Australian states announced this visa option: Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory (with 190 visa option for ACT only).

!!! You can check your eligibility or contact us to discuss your migration matter !!!

To apply for this visa, you have to submit an EOI/ROI in selected state you are eligible to apply for the nomination. After nomination is granted, you should lodge all visa documents within 60 days.

Visa SC 491 Small Business Owner stream

This is Provisional visa that allows you to work and live in a regional part of selected state for five years. It is also a pathway to permanent residency. You should meet criteria to be eligible for the SC 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa: lived in region and earned minimum income of $53,900 for at least three years. Overall turnaround to transit to permanent residency can be 5-7 years.

I would recommend maximum age to start this pathway is 40, as cut off age is 44 inclusive.

Please note, no recycling business allowed for this program! State / Territories warned that new business ideas / new directions are very welcomed, but not buying the business that was used in the past to satisfy Small Business Owner visa criteria.

At this moment we are waiting for this visa for my clients who applied in Tasmania with our POST PAYMENT special offer for state sponsorship candidates! 

Three staged process for Small Business Owner program:

  • stage 1 – applicant must be in Australia with full work rights visa (e.g. graduate visa after eligible study program or secondary holder of employer sponsored visa)
  • stage 2 – subclass 491 temporary visa for 5 years
  • stage 3 – subclass 191 permanent visa after 3 years of running business / earning eligible income

Common visa SC491 criteria for Small Business Owner stream:

  • Primary applicant is under 45
  • At least Competent English
  • Needs to nominate an occupation from eligible list
  • Compulsory skills assessment
  • Subclass 491 visa only (ACT for 190 visa)
  • Onshore applicants only
  • At least EOI 65 points (including 15 points of state nomination)
  • Applicant to be in Australia at time of application
  • Business should operate in State / Territory where you are seeking state / territory sponsorship



Skilled visa SC491 requirements for applicants:


  • Be owner of the business for 6 months
  • 100% ownership
  • Personal income from this business at least 53,900AUD per year before tax
  • Franchise and share-owned business are not acceptable.
  • Service stations, massage clinics and taxi/uber related businesses are also not accepted

Read more


  • Full work rights in Australia (for example, SC 485 visa holder or secondary holder of 482 visa)
  • Purchased an existing business in regional Queensland
  • Not available for start-ups or home-based businesses
  • Franchise businesses must have been operating for at least a year prior to purchase
  • 100,000+ AUD invested in the business prior to submitting an EOI
  • 100% ownership
  • Be trading in the business for 6 months prior to application
  • Employ one employee who is an Australian resident working a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • Provide evidence of sufficient settlement funds

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  • For entrepreneurial skilled migrants who have started their own business
  • Business must be established and operating in SA for the last 12 months
  • Candidate must have resided in SA for at least the last 24 months
  • Personal income from this business at least 53,900AUD per year before tax
  • Businesses aligning with the priority Growth State industry sectors will be favoured
  • Businesses employing at least +2 employees on an ongoing full-time basis will be favoured
  • Business structures can include sole trader, partnership, company, and trusts
  • Franchise businesses are ineligible for this stream

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  • The majority ownership of the business
  • Business located in the ACT
  • ACT Matrix is applied in the Small Business Owner category
  • Sub tenancy, ride-share, taxi, delivery, courier services are not eligible
  • On-sold business previously used to qualify for ACT nomination is not eligible
  • Nominated occupation does not have to be on the ACT Critical Skills List

Read more 

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