Detail Question Of The Week

Moving from a sc 489 visa (skilled regional) to sc 887 visa (permanent residency)

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Question asked

Hi my husband and I were on 489 visa ( skilled regional) and I was the main applicant. We fulfilled the requirements to apply for 887 permanent residency visa and our 489 visa expired on 6th November( 2 days ago) and we are now on a bridging visa that were granted to us when we applied for 887 which I think allows us to live and work anywhere in Australia.

my husband found a job and he moved to Sydney 6 days before our 489 visa expires and I moved exactly 1 day before 489 expires. I am really concerned and want to know if we have bridged our 489 visa conditions for moving a couple of days earlier or it is not a big deal?

Also We've been asked by our case officer to provide more documents and one of them is that because I am now the secondary applicant in our PR case, I need to proof I can demonstrate functional English. I got an IELTS 7.5 in 2009 for our first visa which is expired now.

My question is, it says in the documents sent by our case officer if the secondary applicant (me) have worked for 2 years or more in Australia that is enough proof for functional English. I've been employed for 1 year 1 month now, but before that I was working as a freelancer with my ABN. Does that count as well? Or do I really need to pass another IELTS test again!!!

I have attached a screenshot of 489 visa. And functional English explained in the documents sent by our new case officer.

Thanks for your guidance on n advance.

Kind Regards

Answer provided by our agents

Hi M.,

Thanks for your query.

A visa holder whose first provisional points-tested skilled migration application was nominated by a State/Territory government agency agrees to live in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area or areas has condition 8539 applied to their visa.
This condition exists to encourage skilled migrants to settle and contribute their skills in specified regional areas. Once provisional points-tested visa holders have held their visa for at least 2 years and abided by the conditions of that visa, they are eligible to apply for permanent residence through the VB-887 pathway.

Although provisional GSM visas are granted for 3/4 years and the residence requirement is a total of at least 2 years, this does not mean that applicants can live outside a specified regional area for up to a year or two. While this would not limit an applicant's capacity to satisfy 887.212 it would mean that they have not substantially complied with the conditions on their visa and are unable to satisfy 887.221.

For 887.221, both the main applicant and each family unit member who has previously held a provisional GSM visa must have substantially complied with the conditions of that visa. This means this is a "one fails, all fail" requirement.

Time in Australia spent outside a specified regional area:
When applying for a provisional points-tested skilled migration visa, applicants sign an undertaking that they understand and accept the conditions associated with the visa. However, under policy, it is consistent with the intention of the condition that a visa holder who continues to be employed in a specified regional area and continues to reside in a specified regional area might travel to an area outside a specified regional area for work or recreational purposes such as:
- for once-off business reasons
- a brief holiday or
- to undertake training for work.

For example, it would be consistent with condition 8539 if a visa holder worked and had a residence in Orange, New South Wales, and stayed with friends in Sydney one weekend a month. It would not be consistent with the condition if the same visa holder established a residence in Sydney and stayed in the metropolitan area every weekend.

In your case, as you have only been out of your specified regional area for a few days (your husband for example receiving training prior to starting the new job just before the 489 expires). It can be argued that you have "substantially" complied with the conditions of your visa. So this should be ok. I would recommend double checking your BVA to ensure that there are no conditions on the BVA (as a form of double check).

With regards to the functional English requirement - can you please send me a screenshot of the English requirements requested by the case officer. As something doesn't sound quite right with the request.

You will be given an option to contact me to hire my services once this question has been finalized. If you need further services from myself or a registered migration agent, please contact Amy at or visit - and don't forget to mention your Question ID so that I can keep providing immigration services to you.

Many thanks
Migration Agent