187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) is for skilled workers who want to work in regional Australia. This visa involves a two-step process, firstly, nomination by an approved Australian employer an​​​d then an application under the nominated stream. It is part of the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa program.

The visa has three streams:

The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for two years, while holding a subclass 457 visa, in the same occupation with their nominating employer (who is not subject to a labour agreement and who has lodged a valid nomination with us under the Temporary Residence Transition stream), who wants to offer them a permanent position in that occupation.

The Direct Entry stream is for:

      • people who have been nominated by their employer under the Direct Entry stream
      • people who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
      • temporary residents who do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

The Agreement stream is for subclass 457 visa holders nominated by an employer through a labour agreement.

You can apply for this visa only after you have been nominated by your employer in Australia. You must lodge your application within six months of the nomination being approved. You must apply for the visa in the stream in which your employer nominated you or your visa application could be refused.

  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer in regional Australia (outside of the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong and Melbourne) within six months before you apply
  • are under the age of 50 at time of application lodgement, unless you are exempt
  • at time of application lodgement, have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for – you must hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or you must already be fully assessed as suitable by the relevant body
  • at time of application lodgement, have appropriate English language skills for Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and Direct Entry (DE) stream unless you are exempt
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply.

Age requirements

If you are older than 50 years of age, you can still apply for this visa if you:

  • are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia
  • are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level one or two by an Australian government scientific agency
  • are a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) who has been working in your nominated occupation as the holder of a Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) or Medical Practitioner (subclass 422) visa for at least four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is located in regional Australia
  • are a medical practitioner who 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 at least two years of the four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is in regional Australia
  • are applying through the Direct Entry stream and you hold a Subclass 444 (New Zealand citizen) or Subclass 461 (New Zealand citizen’s family member) visa and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years in the last three years immediately before applying
  • are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, and you have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least four years immediately before applying and that employer paid you at least as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold in each of the four years.
  • are applying through the Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 50 to be employed.

More information on these exemptions is in Classes of persons (Exempt from the Age Criteria).

English language requirements

You can show that your English is adequate by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • achieving the minimum English language test score either for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream you are applying for in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately before lodgement of your application
  • holding a valid passport  issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and evidence that you are a citizen of that country.

You might not need to show adequate English skills if you:

  • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax (currently AUD 180,001), however if you are not able to demonstrate that you have functional English, you will be required to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge.
  • 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.

Health requirements

You and all family members must meet certain health requirements.

 

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

This applies to you and all members of your family unit listed in your application, whether they are migrating or not. ​​

Temporary Residence Transition stream

You might be able to get this visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if:

  • you are the holder of aTemporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) and you satisfied the primary criteria for that visa.

At the time you make your application, you must provide evidence with your online application that:

  • you have at least vocational English (unless you are exempt from this requirement) or have completed at least five years of full time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English
  • you have worked for two years in the position your employer nominated you for while you held your Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) visa as the visa holder who satisfied the primary criteria
  • your employer has nominated you for a permanent position under this stream and the nomination has been approved
  • you meet the requirements for health and character.

Your skills do not need to be assessed because you have already worked for your nominating employer for two years in Australia.

Direct Entry stream

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

  • have been nominated for a position under this stream and that nomination has been approved
  • you have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
  • you hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) but do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • you are applying directly from outside Australia.

At time of application lodgement, you must provide evidence with your online application that you:

  • have at least competent English (unless you are exempt from this requirement)
  • meet the skills requirements, unless you are exempt. Please note that if you require a skills assessment, some skills assessments are issued for the purpose of a Subclass 485 visa.  Skills assessments which have been obtained for the purposes of a Subclass 485 visa are assessed solely on qualifications and do not assess the applicant’s work experience. As a result, these types of skills assessments are not appropriate to demonstrate skills under the RSMS programme. The skills requirements are:
    • if your occupation is listed on the relevant legislative instrument, and you have not obtained a necessary Australian qualification suitable to your occupation, then you must obtain a valid skills assessment prior to your application. Skills assessments obtained for a Subclass 485 visa will not be accepted as they are not considered full skills assessments for permanent skilled migration purposes. 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 your occupation is listed on the relevant legislative instrument, and you have obtained the necessary Australian qualification relevant to your occupation as listed in ANZSCO, then you must provide this as evidence towards meeting the skills requirement
    • if your occupation is not on the relevant legislative instrument, you must demonstrate that you have the qualifications listed in ANZSCO as necessary to perform the tasks of your occupation.

You might not have to meet the skill assessment and qualification requirements if you:

  • have nominated earnings at least equal to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (currently AUD 180,001)
  • are in Australia as the holder of a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa (subclass 461) and have worked with your nominating employer in your nominated occupation for the past two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the three years before you apply for this visa.

Agreement stream

You might be able to get this visa under the Agreement stream if you are being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement. Your employer can advise if such an agreement is in place for your industry or occupation.

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

You can nominate a skilled worker for this visa if:

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

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

Temporary Residence Transition stream

Use this stream if you have already sponsored the applicant for aTemporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457):

  • You must be the standard business sponsor of the 457 visa holder to nominate.
  • You are not subject to a labour agreement.
  • The employee must have worked in the same nominated position in your 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 has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the 457 approved occupation.
  • 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 your business, unless the person nominated was previously nominated for their subclass 457 visa on the basis of performing an occupation mentioned by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in an instrument in writing (certain medical occupations).
  • You must have met the subclass 457 training requirements in each year you have been a standard business sponsor.​
  • You must not be an approved overseas standard business sponsor under the subclass 457 visa programme.

If, during the two years prior to nominating, the 457 visa holder has worked for an associated entity of the current standard business sponsor, evidence must be provided that the 457 visa holder has been working in the same role, with the same employer and in the same location, for the entire two years they held their subclass 457 visa.

If, during the two years prior to nominating, the 457 visa holder has been working for an associated entity of the current standard business sponsor, and the associated entity intends to nominate the 457 visa holder, they must first become an approved standard business sponsor and provide evidence that the 457 visa holder has been working in the same role, with the same employer and in the same location, for the entire two years they held their subclass 457 visa.

If, during the two years prior to nominating, a new standard business sponsorship was required at any stage to ensure the applicant complied with condition 8107 of their subclass 457 visa obligations, you will need to provide evidence that the previous standard business sponsor and yourself as the current standard business sponsor might be considered the same employer of the 457 visa holder. This might occur in situations where the standard business sponsor has undergone business sale, takeover or restructure, which might have changed their entity, requiring a new standard business sponsorship approval.

The period of time already worked with the previous subclass 457 visa standard business sponsor might be considered towards the two-year requirement of the Temporary Residence Transition stream only in those cases where you are able to demonstrate that the nominated person has been working in the same role, with the same employer and in the same location for the whole two years they held their subclass 457 visa.

Direct Entry stream

Use this stream if you want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:

  • an occupation as specified by legislative instrument IMMI 15/083 and IMMI 15/109 with lists certain occupations at ANZSCO skill level one, two, or three
  • full-time, ongoing and available for at least two years.

You must obtain advice from a regional certifying body about the position you want to fill. You can send us the advice before or after you lodge an employer nomination application online. You might have to pay a charge to obtain advice from a regional certifying body for the position you want to fill. Please contact the relevant regional certifying body for more information.

Regional certifying bodies are a diverse network of state and territory government agencies, local chambers of commerce, local government councils and regional development bodies. A nomination made under the RSMS Direct Entry stream cannot be approved by us unless a regional certifying body has provided their advice in regard to the application.

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 might be able to provide information on regional matters which we might 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.​

 

Agreement stream

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. You might consider entering into a labour agreement if there is a genuine and systemic shortage of suitably skilled Australian workers in your 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.

You can use a labour agreement if there is one for your industry or your worker’s occupation. If this does not suit your needs you can negotiate an individual agreement.

Market salary rate

You must provide terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that would apply to an Australian citizen or an 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.

You must prove to us that your offer to the nominated people will meet the requirements of the market salary rate. Depending on whether you have an Australian doing similar work, you can do this by:

  • reporting the terms and conditions that apply to an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is already employed in a similar job in a similar location in your workplace
  • referring to an industrial award or enterprise agreement that outlines terms and conditions for Australian citizens or permanent residents 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.