The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 is a permanent visa for skilled workers who want to work and receive a job offer in a regional area of Australia.
The position needs to be approved by a Regional Certifying Body, but otherwise, the skill level criteria are lower than for an ENS visa. The resulting RSMS visa is subject to cancellation if the employee leaves employment within two years of obtaining the visa.
New applications under Subclass 187 visa scheme will be closed from 16th November 2019, unless transitional provisions apply.
187 Visa Requirements
You might be able to get this visa if you:
- have been nominated by an Australian employer in regional Australia and this nomination has been approved within six months before you apply
- are under the age of 45 years at the time of application
- have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for – including holding (or being eligible for) any mandatory registration, license or professional membership
- at time of application lodgement, have appropriate English language skills
- meet health and character requirements
- meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply.
187 Visa Pathways
There are three possible application pathways for an RSMS visa:
- Temporary Residence Transition: where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. In this case, no RCB certification is required.
- Direct Entry Stream: the position will need to be certified by an RCB, and the employee will need English level equivalent to IELTS
Applicants in trade occupations may require a formal skills assessment.
- Agreement Stream: where the employer has a Labour Agreement
RSMS application stages
There are in general three stages to an RSMS application:
- RCB Certification: the Regional Certifying Body will ensure that the position is genuine and in many cases require that the position has been advertised
- Nomination: review of the business and position by the Department of Immigration
- Visa application: there are three pathways, and generally the skill level is lower than for the ENS program. Applicants must be aged under 50, unless exceptional circumstances apply
RSMS Regional Areas
In order to be granted an RSMS visa, the employee must be offered a position in a ‘regional area’. The regional areas are specified by postcode by the Department of Immigration.
The following are considered Regional areas for the purposes of RSMS sponsorship:
The whole of Western Australia The whole of South Australia The whole of Tasmania The whole of ACT The whole of Northern Territory New South Wales (NSW) – all areas excluding: Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong Victoria – all areas excluding Melbourne Queensland- all areas excluding Brisbane
What you and your family can do after receiving 187 Visa approval
It lets you and your family members who have also have being 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 you are eligible)
- sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
- travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia)
Considerations about RSMS 187 Visa
The requirements for RSMS are more straightforward than ENS in a number of important ways:
- The employer does not need to meet the training requirement for the Direct Entry Stream
- The visa applicant requires a lower level of skill for the Direct Entry Stream – most applicants do not require a skills assessment, and there is no minimum work experience requirement
- It is possible to apply for RSMS in a wider range of occupations than ENS. RSMS is the highest priority visa in the skilled migration stream
The main difficulties employers face when obtaining RSMS visas are as follows:
- Identifying the correct eligibility stream
- Obtaining an RCB approval – each RCB has different criteria and an approval may need to be individually negotiated with the RCB
- Showing exceptional circumstances where visa applicants would not meet the usual requirements for Age, English language ability and skill level
187 Visa to Citizenship
After a certain time, you might be eligible for Australian citizenship. Find out more about Australian citizenship.