new exemptions s48 bar

From 13 November 2021, subclass 190, 491 and 494 will be included as new exemptions for s48 bar. 

What is s48 bar

Under s48 of the Migration Act 1958, any non-citizen who does not hold a substantive visa and has had a visa cancelled or refused whilst they last entered Australia cannot validly lodge any further visa applications whilst they are still in Australia. Previous exemptions to this s48 bar included (but not limited to): 

  • Partner visa 
  • Bridging visas 
  • Medical Treatment visas 
  • Protection visas 

A person affected by s48 bar must leave Australia and make any further visa applications for a visa for Australia from outside of Australia, unless the visa fits within one of the prescribed exemptions. 

New Exemptions for s48 bar commencing from 13 November 2021 

Starting from 13 November 2021, 3 new exemptions were included. These were: 

  • Subclass 190 – skilled nomination (permanent) 
  • Subclass 494 – skilled employer sponsored regional (provisional)
  • Subclass 491 – skilled work regional (provisional)

These new exemptions recognises that the travel limitations imposed worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted those who are stuck in Australia whilst being s48 barred but have been nominated or sponsored for one of the above types of visas. 

The new exemptions for s48 bar allows those who have been either sponsored by a regional employer, nominated by a state/territory or nominated by a family member who resides in a regional area to make a valid visa application whilst remaining onshore. This exempts them from having to make an application from outside of Australia. 

What is the difference between the 3 types of visas?

We have prepared a summary table for the similarities and differences between the 3 types of visas:

Visa Type Regional Area? Type of Sponsor Points Test? Skills Assessment?
Subclass 190

No – it can be anywhere

State/Territory Government



Subclass 494 Yes Regional Employer No Yes
Subclass 491 Yes
  • State/Territory Government 
  • Family residing in regional area
Yes Yes

If you have ever been refused or cancelled a visa in Australia then you may be s48 barred. These new exemptions for s48 bar may be very useful for you as it increases your options if you do not wish to leave Australia. 

You may consult with us to find out more. 

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