The Government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has recently announced to add another stream into the Skilled Migration Program. This new stream is known as Act Canberra Small Business Owner (SBO) Pathway (491 Visa). There’re three states of Australia which have introduced the Small Business Owner (SBO) in July 2021. These Australian states include Queensland, Tasmania and ACT.


Applicants who’re able to fulfill the requirements and conditions of the Small Business Owner stream in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will get the invitation to apply for the ACT 491 visa or 190 visa nomination. Furthermore, people applying for the ACT 491 or 190 visa nomination under Small Business Owner stream don’t need to be on the ACT Critical Skills List.


Latest Updates on ACT CANBERRA SBO Pathway

There’re some new changes that have been introduced in the ACT Canberra SBO pathway. They’re as below.

  • The Statement of Commitment to Canberra isn’t essential.
  • The independent or self-employed applicants must be earning at least $520 on weekly basis or $1000 in a full-time occupation.
  • The eligibility criteria for people working in interstate or regional firms in Canberra have been made a lot easier. The employees aren’t allowed to work from home or online. They can perform their duties in the serviced office.
  • If applicants don’t fulfill the requirements of 3 months employment for Spouse Employment, however, they’ve done a 3-year trade course or hold a degree of Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. form an Australian institute in any occupation so they can still be eligible for the Spouse Employment.
  • The Small Business Owner (SBO) applicants don’t require the full-time (FT) working rights to apply for the 190 nomination. The eligibility criteria for SBO depend on the minimum income and not on the working hours of applicants. Moreover, Student Visa holders who earn at least $13,000 in six months are eligible for both Subclass 491 and  Visa 190 nomination. However, the invitation for 190 nomination will depend on the Matrix rank of applicants.
  • The number of documents to support the Small Business Owner stream has been reduced. A statutory declaration for the confirmation of the ACT business activity or employees is required.


Eligibility Criteria for Small Business Owner Stream

Applicants should claim points in the Small Business Owner (SBO) category in the ACT matrix to be qualified for the SBO stream in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). There’re specific requirements in a different stream of the Skilled Migration Program. Likewise, applicants in the Small Business Program stream must meet certain requirements. They’re as below.



Applicants must be living in Canberra for the last 3 months to get the 491 nominations. While for 190 nominations, applicants should be in Canberra for the last 6 months.



Applicants must be proficient or superior in the English language if your selected occupation has ANZSCO skill level 3 to 5


Spouse or Partner

Your partner or spouse must be living in Canberra for the last 3 months or abroad for the 491 nomination. Whereas, for 190 visa nomination, your spouse or partner must be staying in Canberra or outside Canberra for last 6 months.


Besides, if any applicant, his child or spouse is staying and working in any other state or territory of Australia so you’ll not be eligible for the ACT nomination.



Applicants have to commit that they must be staying and working in Australia while their visa is in the process. Moreover, they should be in Australia for a minimum of 2 years from their visa grant date.


Your Business in ACT Canberra 

Your business in Canberra must follow the minimum eligibility criteria to apply for the Small Business Owner (SBO) stream.



Applicants must own 51% of the registered business which is located and actively operating in the ACT.



Your business must earn a minimum revenue of AUD $200,000 per annum (or pro-rata).


Length of Operation

Your business should be actively trading in Canberra for a minimum of 6 months from the date established or purchased.


Profitable Business

Your business must make a profit even on a small level. This profit can be a minimum $1.



There’s a fixed salary which your business must pay you right before the date matrix submission. Your business must pay you at least $26,000 for six months for 190 nominations. Likewise, your business should be paying you at least $13,000 for three months in case of 491 nomination.



You must employ people according to the rules and legislation of Australia. You have to provide the statutory declaration to confirm the employment and details of citizenship of all employees. Moreover, you must employ at least one Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or an eligible citizen of New Zeeland for 13 weeks or a minimum of 20 hours per week. Likewise, the employment doesn’t have to be continuous as you can employ one or more employees.


Application Process

  • Make sure you check your eligibility with the requirements of the Small Business Owner (SBO) stream
  • Check your eligibility for business
  • Check how many scores you get by submitting the Canberra Matrix
  • If you receive the invitation then you can apply for the ACT nomination by following your invitation letter. You’re supposed to apply for ACT nomination within 14 days from the invitation date.
  • You’ve to pay AUD 300 while applying for the ACT nomination.
  • If you’re nominated by the Government of the Australian Capital Territory so you can apply for a visa from the Department of Home Affairs.
  • You can apply for the visa within 60 days of the nomination date.


Precautionary Measures 

You cannot change or cancel your Matrix once it’s submitted. In case if your situation has been changed so you have to submit a new Matrix.


The Government of the Australian Capital Territory offers only one nomination place to one person. So you have to make sure that your application for Matrix and nomination must be accurate. Moreover, you must not miss any deadline for the application.


Non-Eligible Business Types for SBO Stream 

There’re some businesses that aren’t eligible for the Small Business Owner stream.

  • Sub-tenancy
  • Ride-share, Taxi
  • Courier services
  • A business that’s used to get the ACT nomination



The Government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has made some amendments to the Skilled Migration Program. It has added one more stream into the Skilled Migration Program which is Small Business Owner (SBO). This New ACT CANBERRA SMALL BUSINESS OWNER PATHWAY  stream has specific eligibility criteria and requirements which need to be fulfilled. Queensland, Tasmania and ACT have introduced this SBO stream. Therefore, people who want to apply for the SBO stream (491 Visa) can check out their eligibility and apply through the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).


If you meet all the requirements and eligibility criteria for the ACT Canberra SBO pathway so you can consult with our registered migration agents in Australia.


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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.

Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.