Regional Visas Will Increase by 9,000 to 34,000. Great Step for Businesses for Sale in Regional Towns. 

by Vanessa Lovie 9th of October, 2022
Regional Visas Will Increase by 9,000 to 34,000. Great Step for Businesses for Sale in Regional Towns. 
Great Step for Businesses for Sale in Regional Towns. 

Immigrating to Australia is the dream of many people. With our beautiful beaches and country towns, there are opportunities to purchase profitable businesses for sale and build a quality lifestyle. 

The recent Job Skills Summit held in Canberra addressed the issues of skills shortages and pushed to increase the number of visas available, in particular in regional towns. 

“Within the Skill stream, there will be 34,000 places for Regional visas, an increase of 9,000 places compared to earlier projections.” Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O'Neil. 

Buying a business for immigration purposes has been on the increase, with more brokers advertising which businesses for sale are eligible. One of the major visa options is the 491 Skilled Work Visa on the small business owner pathway which is available in 4 states. 


Understanding The 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa


The 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa is the primary option for people looking to immigrate to Australia as a skilled worker, this includes business ownership. 

“A visa for skilled people nominated by a state or territory government to live and work in regional Australia” Home Affairs

This visa is nominated by the state and is a pathway to permanent residency. 

This visa allows the applicant to:

  • stay in Australia for 5 years

  • live, work and study in a designated regional area of Australia

  • travel to and from Australia as many times as they want, while the visa is valid​

  • apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time your visa is granted​


90% of applications are currently processed within 12 months.

The idea of this visa is to encourage people to immigrate to Australia and remain in the regional towns to encourage the growth and development of the local community.  

Due to recent Albanese Government initiatives, a number of people have had their 491 Visa extended by 3 years due to the covid restriction

“We will extend visas for Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa holders if the primary visa holder was outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 (inclusive) as the holder of a valid Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.” Home Affairs News

Applicants must be located outside of Australia at the time of the application and costs start from $4,240 for the main applicant. Many applicants will also use an immigration agent or lawyer to enhance their chances of success and ensure the correct visa and application process is followed. 


Small Business Owners Pathway to Immigration (491 Visa)


Different states have a sponsorship option available to increase business ownership in their regional towns. 

As of July 2021, four states in Australia including Queensland, Tasmania, Canberra, and South Australia, have the small business owners pathway program available for applicants. 


Queensland - 491 Small Business Owners Pathway


Queensland was the first state to launch this program, and it has been increasingly popular over the years. 

Skilled workers have the option to be a business owner and operate as a sole trader in Queensland as part of the 491 SBO pathway. 

There are two pathways available, starting a business or buying a business. 

In the first pathway, you can purchase an existing business. It must be in an existing location and the sale price must be a minimum of $100,000. You must also have an occupation on the LIN 19/051 that is relevant to the 491. 

On Bsale we have a number of businesses for sale in Queensland that meet the criteria. Such as this business for sale in Townsville

“Convenience Store & Cafe - Townsville. $120,000. Suitable for 491 SBO visas. The business sells a good range of essential grocery items and is also equipped to operate as a cafe. The owner purchased the business in 2021 but has another career so employees have been operating the business two days a week” Bsale ID 590219, October 2020. 

Another opportunity is this business for sale in Emerald Central QLD. 

“Profitable franchise business which is run under management. . $165,000 + SAV. This opportunity would satisfy a number of different buyer types, namely: investors, owner-operators, families and with the added benefit of a vehicle to secure permanent residency via a Regional Visa application.” Bsale ID 550870, September 2020.

There are also visa opportunities available with businesses for sale in Brisbane

“Established traditional Chinese massage business with 491 SBO options (North Brisbane). A reputable, traditional Chinese massage business is now available in a well-presented modern North Brisbane shop. This is an ideal 'hit the ground running' opportunity in the northern suburbs of Brisbane with plenty of room for growth, off the back of an already well-established customer base.” Bsale ID 592211, September 2020

Business brokers work closely with immigration lawyers and agents to ensure they understand the necessary criteria. Buying a business in regional QLD is a good option for immigration. 

The second pathway is to start a business. For this pathway, you need to already be living in Queensland and have operated a business for at least 2 years. The minimum turnover needs to be $200,000 in the last 12 months. 

There is a list of postcodes that are eligible to live and obtain the necessary visas. 

To be eligible for the Queensland state-sponsored visa a few different criteria must be met including a commitment to live and work in Queensland for 2 years for a 190 visa and 3 years for the 491 visa.

View Criteria for Business Owner visa - Subclass 892 South Australia, Canberra Small Business 491 visa, Tasmania Small business visa

Subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 

This subclass is the most popular scheme for people looking to become business owners and have money to invest. Most of these visas require a turnover above $2,000,000.

“This visa allows you to own and manage a business in Australia, conduct business and investment activity in Australia or undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia” Home Affairs

Only 25% of applications are processed within 15 months for the Business Innovation stream, hopefully, with the increase of 9,000 for regional visas, we will see an increase in processing times for the 491 Visa with subclass 188. 

There are a number of businesses for sale that qualify for the 491 Visa 188 subclass, such as this business for sale in Melbourne.

“Established BP Service Station For Sale - Melbourne VIC. $595,000. Business Suitable for 188 Business Visa. Fuel Sales Approx. 160,000 Litres per month. Shop Sales Approx. $50,000 per month. Currently Fully Under Management with Staff. Monthly Rent $15,850 +GST. Excellent Opportunity to Buy an Exceptional Business with Reliable Income & Profits” Bsale ID 584111, September 2022. 

Full details of the business investor visas can be found here. 


So what does all this mean for Businesses for Sale in Regional Towns?


With an increase in immigration to regional towns, there will be flow-on effects. Firstly, business owners who are looking to sell a business will gain access to more potential buyers. 

People who are looking to move to Australia or obtain a 491 visa under the small business owners scheme will be looking for opportunities in regional towns of QLD, SA, TAS and ACT. 

They need to buy a business valued at over $100,000 and match their skill set, so they will be looking for quality businesses they can operate as a sole-trader or company. It is an increase in opportunity. The more people moving to regional towns, the more business opportunities, the more potential profit businesses can make. Population growth is a driving factor and important to many businesses' success. If businesses are making more money, they will be able to sell for a higher price when the time to sell a business arises.  

Tags: government small business selling

About the author

Vanessa Lovie

CEO Bsale Australia

Vanessa is the current manager and CEO of Bsale Australia. Over the past 11 years as a business owner, she understands what it takes to grow a ...

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