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Changes in Queensland's Small Business owner stream -491 SBO PATHWAY

BSMQ has recently made some changes in the eligibility criteria for 491 Small Business owner stream.



  • The first update is that the franchise businesses must have been operating for at least a year prior to purchase.


  • The second update is that the Australian Resident that the Business employs must be an Australian resident for 491-SBO purposes. An Australian resident is an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen, or New Zealand citizen on a subclass 444 Special Category visa. Previously they have advised that the Australian resident could be a temporary visa holder. For Example- Student visa holder or 485 visa holders. These changes in 491 SBO stream will create jobs for Australians and help in economic recovery.

Please see the eligibility requirements for 491 SBO pathway below:

To be eligible for Queensland nomination, you must meet both the Australian Department of Home Affairs (HA) criteria and Business and Skilled Migration Queensland (BSMQ) criteria for your chosen visa category.

The HA criteria require you to:

  • have a point 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

  • submit additional documents if invited to lodge an application for a subclass 491 visa.

BSMQ criteria require you to:

  • have an occupation on HA’s Legislative instrument (LIN 19/051)

  • have prior business experience (operating the business successfully for at least 6 months meets these criteria), qualifications to successfully run the business or previous family-run business experience.

  • be on a visa that allows full-time work and operation of the business for a minimum of 35 hours per week

  • have purchased an existing business in regional Queensland (Note: not available for start-ups or home-based businesses, franchise businesses must have been operating for at least a year prior to purchasing)

  • invested a minimum of $100,000 in the business prior to submitting an EOI

  • have 100% ownership of the business (partnerships or joint ventures not eligible)

  • be trading in the business for 6 months prior to application

  • employ one (1) employee who is an Australian resident working a minimum of 20 hours per week. Please note: an Australian resident for 491-SBO purposes is an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen, or New Zealand citizen on a subclass 444 Special Category visa.

  • provide evidence of sufficient settlement funds.

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