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Migration Queensland Small Business Owner Pathway 491

Migration Queensland's 491 nomination criteria for Small Business owners operating in Queensland Stream for 2023-2024 financial year.

To be eligible, you must meet this stream's Australian Department of Home Affairs and Migration Queensland criteria.

The Home Affairs criteria require you to:

  • Have a points-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.

Nomination criteria for a 491 Small Business Owner Stream

This pathway is for migrants living and operating a small business in regional Queensland. You must have an occupation on the Home Affairs Legislative Instrument LIN 19/051 and a positive skills assessment in an occupation on this instrument. You must also have full-time work rights and not currently be studying.

The Small Business Owner (SBO) stream has two separate pathways available. Applicants need to meet the criteria for Pathway 1 or Pathway 2.

Pathway 1

To be eligible for this pathway, you must purchase an existing registered business for a minimum of $100,000 and employ at least one Australian resident.

The business must be a pre-existing business that has been purchased and traded for at least six months before lodging an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Pathway 2

To be eligible for this pathway, you must have started a business and have continuously run that business for a minimum of two years.

The business must generate a profit and turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months before application.

Requirements for Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 applicants:

  • Have an occupation on the relevant Legislative Instrument (LIN19/051).

  • Must provide evidence that you are living in regional Queensland.

  • The applicant must be working for the business full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week).

  • Provide evidence that you hold 100% ownership of the business - partnerships or joint ventures are not eligible.

  • You must own and operate a business in regional Queensland.

Additional requirements for Pathway 1 (Purchase of business)

  • The business must have been operating in its current location for at least two years immediately before purchase.

  • Provide evidence that you have purchased a business for a minimum of $100,000.

  • Provide evidence that you have been operating the business for at least six months after settlement.

NOTE: the six months of operation does not start until 100% of the business purchase price is settled.

  • Provide evidence of employment of at least one Australian resident* working at least 20 hours per week or two employees working 10 hours per week. Employee/s cannot be a family member or a subcontractor.

Additional requirements for Pathway 2 (Start-ups)

Provide evidence that you have been operating a profitable start-up for at least two years, with a turnover of $200,000 in the twelve months before application.

Important notes for SBO 491 nomination applications:

  • No share transfer (must have a contract of business sale)

  • No vendor financing

  • Cannot purchase the business from a family member or relative

  • Cannot relocate or sell business before receiving approval from MQ (before visa grant)

  • Cannot purchase a business previously owned by a 491 SBO applicant

  • Home-based or virtual offices are not eligible for the 491 SBO pathway.

  • Commission agents or leasing agents of franchises (such as petrol stations) will not be considered.

  • Applicants must operate their business for at least three years in a regional area (and may be subject to monitoring) after the visa grant. Should an applicant choose to sell their business before this time, Migration Queensland has the option to withdraw the nomination of the 491 visa to allow the applicant to explore other visa options.


The information shared by Nationwide Migration and Education on social media and blogs is for general informational purposes only. (The information is accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change.) It is not legal or immigration advice and should not be relied upon as such.

If you need immigration advice specific to your circumstances, please book a consultation with our Registered Migration Agent.

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