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Subclass 491 visa: Small Business Owners (SBO) stream in regional Queensland, Australia

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Migration



This pathway is for migrants who are currently living and operating a small business in regional Queensland. You must have an occupation that is on the Medium Long Terms Skills Strategic List (MLTSSL), the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL) and have a positive skills assessment. You must also have full-time work rights and not currently be studying.

The Small Business Owner (SBO) stream has two separate pathways available, applicants need to meet the criteria for Pathway 1 OR Pathway 2:

Pathway 1

To be eligible for this pathway, you must purchase an existing registered business for a minimum of $100,000 and employ at least one Australian resident. The business must be a pre-existing business which has been purchased and trading for a minimum of six months prior to lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Pathway 2

To be eligible for this pathway, you must have started a business and have continuously run that business for a minimum of two years. The business must be generating a profit and have a turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months prior to application.

You must complete an Expression of Interest (EOI) on SkillSelect before submitting a 491 – Small Business Owner Assessment Form for this visa.

Migration Queensland offers nominations under the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).  This visa allows nominated skilled workers to live and work in regional Queensland for five (5) years and is a pathway to permanent residency.

Applicable regions

You must live and work within one of the following postcodes to be eligible for this visa:

4019–4022, 4025, 4037, 4074, 4076–4078, 4124–4125, 4133, 4183–4184, 4207–4275, 4280–4287, 4300–4301, 4303–4498, 4500–4512, 4514–4519, 4521, 4550–4575, 4580–4895.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a Queensland nomination, you must meet both the Department of Home Affairs Immigration Eligibility Criteria and Migration Queensland criteria for your chosen visa category.

Home Affairs criteria requires you to:

  • have a points test result of 65 or higher, inclusive of state nomination points;
  • have a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation;
  • be under 45 years of age;
  • meet the minimum English language requirement of ‘Competent’, unless a higher level is required by your assessing authority.

Migration Queensland criteria requires you to:

Requirements for Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 applicants:
OccupationHave an occupation on the relevant Legislative Instrument (LIN19/051).
Living in regional QueenslandMust provide evidence that you are living in regional Queensland.
Operating the business full-timeThe applicant must be working for the business full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week).
Ownership interestProvide evidence that you hold 100% ownership of the business – partnerships or joint

ventures are not eligible.

Location of businessYou must own and operate a business in regional Queensland.
Applicants must also meet the requirements of Pathway 1 or Pathway 2:
Additional requirements for Pathway 1 (Purchase of business)
Age of purchased businessThe business purchased must have been operating for a minimum of two years in its

current location, immediately prior to purchase.

Price of purchased businessProvide evidence that you have purchased a business for a minimum of $100,000.
Operation of businessProvide evidence that you have been operating the business for a minimum of six months

after settlement.
NOTE: the six months of operation does not start until 100% of the business purchase

price is settled.

Australian employee/sProvide evidence of employment of at least one Australian resident* working a minimum of

20 hours per week, or two employees working 10 hours per week. Employee/s cannot be

a family member or a subcontractor.

Additional requirements for Pathway 2 (Start-ups)
Operation of business and turnoverProvide evidence that you have been operating a profitable start-up for a minimum of two

years, with a turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months prior to application.

*An Australian resident for the purposes of the 491 SBO pathway is an Australian citizen, an Australia permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen usually residing in Australia on a Special Category subclass 444 visa.

Important notes for SBO 491 nomination applications:

  • No share transfer (must have a contract of business sale)
  • No vendor financing
  • Cannot purchase business from family member or relative
  • Cannot relocate or sell business before receiving approval from MQ (prior to visa grant)
  • Cannot purchase a business previously owned by a 491 SBO applicant
  • Home-based or virtual offices are not eligible for the 491 SBO pathway
  • Commission agents or leasing agents of franchises (such as petrol stations) will not be considered
  • Applicants must operate their business for at least three years in a regional area (and may be subject to monitoring) after the grant of the visa. Should an applicant choose to sell their business prior to this time, Migration Queensland has the option to withdraw the nomination of the 491 visa to allow the applicant to explore other visa options
  • Priority will not be given to invitations where documents or visas are expiring.


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