How does remote working fit into the visa requirements for the 491 and 489 visas?

Many professionals have reached us to enquire about their remote working arrangements. This newfound freedom from the daily trip to a physical office has many people wondering how this profession fits into the Immigration Department’s regulations for a variety of visas. Today, we’ll look at whether or not remote working is acceptable. Within the confines of the immigration laws for the 489 and 491 visas.

Let’s start with how remote working is considered in terms of meeting the requirements of your 491 or 489 visas. These two visas have particular criteria that you must reside, work, and study in specific regions of Australia while in Australia. These areas are outlined in your visa grant letter.

Metropolitan Sydney is unquestionably ineligible for either of these visas, therefore let’s use it as an example. What if you’re working remotely in a distant area yet your company’s headquarters are in Sydney? Many people would be astonished to hear that it is permissible while holding a 489 or 491 visa. In reality, the Immigration Department regulation expressly permits you to travel to and work in Sydney to attend employer-sponsored training programmes. This obviously does not imply that you can visit Sydney twice a week.

Immigration policy on the 491 visa condition states the key to determining whether a visa holder is working in a specified regional area is assessing where the applicant’s usual place of work is located. If an applicant’s space of work is in a specified regional area but their employer is based elsewhere in Australia or overseas. They are considered to be working in a specified regional area. What matters most is it your work time is spent physically in a regional area and it does not matter where your employer is based out of condition 8578 for the 491 visa status, the holder must notify the Immigration department of a change to any of the following within 14 days after the change occurs, the address of an employer of the holder, the address of the location of a position in which the holder is employed.

If you’re working from home and you hold a 491 visa, then on the employer location you should put your home address as the location of your position where you’re employed. It is advisable that you obtain a reference letter from your employer outlining the conditions of employment. Specifically, it should outline what is the address and will you be carrying out the employment. This does not mean that you are not allowed to take your computer and work at a local café, or perhaps while you’re sitting on the beach. It’s just that way you will be the majority of the time with the 491 visa.

The department regularly carries out an audit of where you are living and working. So be prepared in advance and have a reference letter prepared. In some cases, you may even be working for an employer who is based outside of Australia. In these circumstances, it would be best to have some evidence of your employment contract outlining how you’re being paid. Working on your own. ABN is also fine. Just make sure you keep a record of all your invoices.

Remember, the immigration department can also ask you to present your bank statements so they can ascertain that you have been living and working in a regional Australia. If your bank statements show regular shopping transactions in the Sydney metropolitan area, then the department could conclude that your working environment was not actually taking place remotely at all. When it comes to lodging your permanent residency, using either the 887 or the 191 permanent visa, they must have been in substantial compliance with your visa conditions. If they think that you have not complied, then your application can be refused even if your visas have expired and you’re on a bridging visa waiting for permanent residence again, you must still comply with the conditions placed upon your bridging visas. Now that you’re aware of how remote working can actually fit in with these regional provisional visas. You may decide to go for that for 491 visa especially if you can keep your current job without Sydney Melbourne or Brisbane employer and do it remotely from a regional location. Remember we are here to help you. If you need any migration assistance get in touch with us.