Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (subclass 187)

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187) is a Permanent Resident Visa for skilled workers who have been nominated by an approved Australian employer and want to work in regional Australia.

This visa involves a three-step process, firstly, approval from Regional Certifying Body (RCB), secondly, nomination by an approved Australian employer and then finally visa application under the nominated stream.  If the visa application is lodged after receiving an approved nomination, it should be done within six months of the nomination being approved.

Regional Certifying Body (RCB)

A nomination made under the RSMS Direct Entry stream cannot be approved by the department unless a regional certifying body has provided their advice in regard to the application.

The prospective sponsor, an eligible Australian business in the regional area, must obtain advice from the relevant regional certifying body about the position they want to fill prior to approval of the nomination and the advice can be sent to DIBP before or after the lodgement an employer nomination application.

Regional certifying bodies are a diverse network of state and territory government agencies, local chambers of commerce, local government councils and regional development bodies. The advice provided by a regional certifying body is intended to ensure all RSMS Direct Entry stream nominations have been scrutinised by a third party who is familiar with local labour market conditions and who may be able to provide information on regional matters which the department may not be aware of. The regional certifying body assesses the nomination against the following criteria:

  • there is a genuine need for a paid employee in a business operated by the employer that is actively and lawfully operating in a regional area of Australia
  •  the terms and conditions of employment are the same as those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident performing the same work in the same location
  • the nominated position cannot be reasonably filled from the local labour market. ?
Nomination: who can nominate a skilled worker for this visa?

Employer can nominate a skilled worker for this visa if:

  • they actively and lawfully operate a business in regional Australia (regional Australia does not include the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong or Melbourne)
  • they have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • they offer a skilled position in the applicant's field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years
  • they pay a market salary rate
  • they comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • there is no adverse information known about your business or any person associated with your business.

Employer must nominate the applicant in one of the three streams and meet the requirements of that stream.

1. Temporary residence transition stream

The employer can use this stream if they have already sponsored the applicant for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and meet the following requirements:

  • The employee must have worked in the same nominated position in the business, as the primary visa holder of a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, for at least two years before the nomination is lodged.
  • The nomination must identify an occupation (for the position) that is listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List and has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the occupation being carried out by the employee
  • The nominated position must be full time, ongoing and available for at least two years and be consistent with the position in which the applicant has already worked in the business
  • The employer must have met the subclass 457 training requirements in each year you have been a standard business sponsor. ?

2. Direct entry stream

The employer can use this stream if they want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:

  • an occupation as specified by DIBP under lists of certain occupations at ANZSCO skill level one, two, or three
  • full-time, ongoing and available for at least two years.

3. Agreement stream

The employer can use this stream to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement that has been negotiated with the government before you lodge the nomination.

A labour agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an Australian employer and the Australian government. The employer might consider entering into a labour agreement if there is a genuine and systemic shortage of suitably skilled Australian workers in the industry and/or geographic location, and standard immigration options are not suitable.

A labour agreement comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations and is typically valid for three years.

Market salary rate

The employer must provide terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident doing equivalent work in the same workplace.

Terms and conditions include the nominated position's salary, hours of work and leave entitlements (among other things). The salary paid to an Australian worker under these terms and conditions of employment is known as the market salary rate.

The employer must prove that it will pay its skilled worker the market salary rate. Depending on whether the employer has an Australian doing similar work, the employer can do this by:

  • reporting the terms and conditions that apply to an Australian worker who is already employed in a similar job in a similar location in the workplace
  • referring to an industrial award or enterprise agreement that outlines terms and conditions for Australians performing similar work in similar locations
  • providing relevant data from reputable remuneration surveys
  • providing evidence of the salaries of employees performing equivalent work in similar locations.
Visa application: who could get this visa

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa if s/he:

  • has been nominated by an approved Australian employer in regional Australia (outside of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne). If the nomination has been approved, the visa application should be lodged within six months for the date of nomination approval.
  • is under the age of 50 at time of application lodgement, unless exempted
  • has the required skills and qualifications for the nominated position at time of application lodgement – the applicant must hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or must already been fully assessed as suitable by the relevant body.
  • has appropriate English language skills at time of application lodgement for Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream or Direct Entry (DE) stream, as applicable, unless exempted
  • meets the health and character requirements
  • meets the requirements of the stream in which the application has been made.

1. Temporary residence transition stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if s/he meets the following criteria at the time of visa lodgement and provides documented evidence of the same:

  • at least vocational English(unless exempted)
  • has worked for two years in the nominated position with the nominating employer, while holding Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) as the primary visa holder
  • has been nominated by the employer for a permanent position under this stream and the nomination has been approved
  • satisfactory health and character requirements

Skill assessment is not required as the employee has already worked for the nominating employer for two years in Australia.

2. Direct entry stream

The visa applicant might be able to get this visa under the Direct Entry stream if one of the following applies to the applicant:

  • has never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
  • holds a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) but does not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • is applying directly from outside Australia.

At time of application lodgement, the applicant must provide evidence that s/he satisfies the following requirements:

  • has at least competent English (unless exempted)
  • meets the skills requirements, unless exempted. The skills requirements are:
    • if the applicant has not obtained a necessary Australian qualificatio suitable to the occupation, then s/he must obtain a valid skills assessment prior to the application. A skills assessment is only valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, or for a period of three years from the assessment's date of issue, whichever occurs first.
    • if the applicant has obtained the necessary Australian qualificationrelevant to the occupation as listed in ANZSCO, then s/he must provide this as evidence towards meeting the skills requirement.

3. Agreement stream

The applicant might be able to get this visa under the Agreement stream if s/he is being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement. The employer can advise if such an agreement is in place for the industry or occupation.

The applicant must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

English language requirements

The visa applicant can show that s/he possesses adequate English skills by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • achieving the vocational or competent test scores in a specified English language test, for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream respectively, that has been conducted within three years prior to the date of application lodgement
  • holding a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and evidence of citizenship of that country.
  •  Minimum score for English Language proficiency level across the various type of test
English Language
Proficiency Level
Test component IELTS TOEFL
iBT
PTE
Academic
Cambridge English:
Advanced (CAE)*
OET
Vocational All Modules 5.0 each 4 each in Listening and Reading; 14 each in Writing and Speaking 36 each 154 each B each
Competent All Modules 6.0 each Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening-12, Reading – 13, Writing – 21 and Speaking -18 50 each 169 each B each


Note: *From 1 January 2015 and only for a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test taken on or after 1 January 2015.

Health and character requirement

The visa applicant must meet certain health requirements. The results of health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

The visa applicant must meet certain character requirements and provide a police certificate from each country s/he has lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after s/he turned 16 years of age.

Health and character requirements applies to the main applicant and all the dependent family members listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not. ???

Visa holder’s obligations

The visa holder has to begin employment with the nominating employer within six months of:

  • first entry to Australia if s/he was granted this visa while residing outside of Australia; or
  • the visa being granted if s/he was granted this visa while residing in Australia.

The visa holder also needs to live in the regional area and remain in the position for the full two years. DIBP may cancel this visa if the visa holder fails to do so.

Including family in the visa application

The main applicant can include the following people in the visa application at the time of lodgement:

  • partner
  • dependent children

The visa application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to the main applicant and family members must meet health and character requirements.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It lets the visa holder and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is there any charge for applying for advice from a Regional Certifying Body (RCB)?

Yes, the prospective sponsor may have to pay a charge to obtain advice from a RCB for the position they want to fill. The charges may vary based on the regional certifying body.

Q. Who can be exempted from age requirements for this visa?

An applicant older than 50 years of age can still apply for this visa if the applicant:

  • is nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia
  • is nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level one or two by an Australian government scientific agency
  • is a medical practitioner who has been working in the nominated occupation as the holder of a subclass 422 or subclass 457 visa for at least four years immediately before applying and at least two years of that employment was located in regional Australia and the nominated position is located in regional Australia or has been working in your nominated occupation as the holder of a subclass 422 visa before becoming the holder of a subclass 457 visa for two years in the four years immediately before applying and at least two years of that employment was located in regional Australia and the nominated position is located in regional Australia.
  • is applying through the Direct Entry stream and holds a subclass 444 (New Zealand citizen) or subclass 461 (New Zealand citizen's family member) visa and has been working for the nominating employer for at least two years in the last three years immediately before applying
  • is applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, and has been working for the nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least four years immediately before applying and that employer paid at least as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold in each of the four years.
  • is applying through the Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 50 to be employed.
Q. Who can be exempted from English language requirements for this visa?

The visa applicant might be exempted from English language skills if s/he:

  • has nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax (currently AUD 180,001).
  • are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and:
    • have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution
    • all of the tuition was delivered in English.

However, if the applicant is not able to demonstrate that s/he has functional English, s/he will be required to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge.

Q. Can a skill assessment for 485 visa used for the purpose of this visa application?

No, a skills assessment which is issued for the purpose of subclass 485 visa is not appropriate to demonstrate skills under the RSMS programme.

Q. Is it required for the applicant to undertake skill assessment for this visa?

If the applicant has not obtained a necessary Australian qualification suitable to the occupation, then s/he must obtain a valid skills assessment prior to the application lodgement. However, if the applicant has obtained the necessary Australian qualification relevant to the occupation, s/he is not required to obtain a skill assessment.

Q. What are the English Language proficiency level across the various types of tests?

 

English Language Proficiency Level Test Component IELTS TOEFL
iBT
PTE Academic Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)* OET
Functional Average/total/overall across test components only 4.5 32 30h 147 n/a
Vocational All Modules 5.0 Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening and Reading – 4, Writing and Speaking -14 36 154 B
Competent All Modules 6.0 Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening-12, Reading – 13, Writing – 21 and Speaking -18 50 169 B
Proficient 
(for points tested Skilled visas)
All Modules 7.0 Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening and, Reading – 24, Writing – 27 and Speaking -23 65 185 B
Superior
(for points tested Skilled visas)
All Modules 8.0 Minimum score in each band as follows: Listening-28, Reading – 29, Writing – 30 and Speaking -26 79 200 A


Note: *from 1 January 2015 and only for a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test taken on or after 1 January 2015.

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