The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187)
For temporary residents in Australia, or for applicants that are outside Australia and intend on working and living in the regional areas of Australia may be eligible for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187).
Ethos Migration provides specialised strategy and advice to both employers and applicants considering pursuing the RSMS visa pathway.
Once a visa has been granted under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, the visa holder and any additional applicants are required to live and work in various regional areas of Australia.
In general, regional Australia is considered to be any area of Australia other than Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Newcastle, Wollongong, Brisbane or Gold Coast however specific postcodes do apply for eligible areas.
This visa is a three-step process and allows visa holders to work in Regional Australia and gain permanent residency.
Similarly to the subclass 186 programme, this visa has three streams:
- The Temporary Residence Transition Stream – this is for subclass 457/TSS visa holders who have worked with their employer in a regional area for a minimum of two years and have been offered permanent employment with the business.
- The Direct Entry Stream – this is for people who have never, or only for a short time, worked in Australia. It allows a business to sponsor the applicant as a permanent employee of their business.
- The Agreement Stream – this stream is for people being sponsored by their employer via a labour agreement, or regional migration agreement.
Each of the streams have their own specific criteria, depending on the application being assessed.
An overview of the three stage process
1. Certification of the position by a Regional Certifying Body (RCB)
This step involves making an application to a certifying body to establish that the local market cannot fill the position, the position has been available for a minimum period of at least two years, it is a genuine permanent position, the terms and conditions of employment are in line with the industrial and fair work laws, an employment contract has been created.
There are specific Regional Certifying Bodies for each regional area of Australia that must be applied to.
2. Employer Nomination Application
Once the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) has approved the position the employer must make a Nomination application to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for their approval.
The Department will ensure the criteria for the nomination is met including but not limited to, the position being sponsored by a lawfully operating business in regional Australia, the position being nominated is genuine, the position is full time and ongoing for at least two years and that the terms and conditions of employment are no less favourable to those that would be offered to an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident.
The occupation being nominated must be on the MLTSSL or Regional Occupation List (ROL).
3. Subclass 187 Visa Application
A visa application must be then lodged to allow the skilled worker to be granted the visa to work in the nominated position. The Department will again ensure that all the criteria is met for the visa application including but not limited to, the applicant is applying to live and work in a regional area of Australia, the applicant has been nominated by an eligible regional employer, the applicant is under 45 years of age, obtains the relevant English language requirements and has the skills or qualifications required to undertake the position.
It is important to also note that if the visa is granted, the visa holder must remain in the nominated position for at least two years to avoid a visa cancellation. In some instances, if the applicant ceases employment but can show evidence that they have made a genuine effort to maintain their employment a visa cancellation can be avoided.
What are the conditions on an RSMS visa?
Once you have been granted a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (Subclass 187) visa, the visa may be cancelled if the employee cannot show a genuine effort to start and maintain their employment with the sponsoring employer for the entire two year period.
In certain circumstances, if the employer terminates their position prior to the two year period, exemptions to a visa cancellation may apply.