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.   Please book a phone consultation with our visa specialist to discuss your visa requirements.

The 187 visa has three streams:

187 Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 or TSS 482 visa holders who have worked for their nominating employer for atleast:

  • three out of the previous four years (before the nomination is made) in the same position that they have nominated you for or
  • two out of the previous three years before the nomination is made, if transitional arrangements apply because you either held, or were an applicant for, a subclass 457 visa (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.

and who has lodged a valid nomination with us under the 187 Temporary Residence Transition stream), who wants to offer them a permanent position in that occupation.

The 187 Direct Entry stream is for:

      • people who have been nominated by their employer under the 187 Direct Entry stream
      • people who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
      • temporary residents who do not qualify for the 187 Temporary Residence Transition stream.

The 187 Agreement stream is for subclass 457 or TSS 482 visa holders nominated by an employer through a labour agreement.

You can apply for this 187 visa only after you have been nominated by your employer in Australia. You must lodge your 187 visa 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 within six months before you apply
  • are under the age of 45 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 187 Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and 187 Direct Entry (DE) stream unless you are exempt
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply.

187 Age requirements

If you are older than 45 years of age, you can still apply for this 187 visa if you:

    • you are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia (Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams)
    • you are nominated as a scientist, researcher, or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level one or two by an Australian government scientific agency (Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams)
    • you are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a TSS or subclass 457 visa for the last three years and your earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold Fair Work High Income Threshold for each year over that period
    • you are a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) (Temporary Residence Transition stream)and you meet all of the below:
      • you have been working in your nominated occupation as the holder of a TSS or subclass 457 visa for at least three years immediately before applying
      • for two of those years, you were employed in regional Australia
      • the nominated position is located in regional Australia
    • you hold a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461) and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before applying (Direct Entry stream only)
    • you are applying through the Labour Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 45 to be employed.

    Important: you may also be able to apply for a visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you are over 45 years of age but under 50, if transitional arrangements apply because you either held, or were an applicant for, a subclass 457 visa (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.

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 187 Temporary Residence Transition stream or the 187 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 must demonstrate that you have the required English language proficiency for the visa and stream that you are applying for unless you are exempt.

For the Temporary Residence Transition or Direct Entry streams, applicants are required to have at least competent English.

As a result, you must provide evidence of having achieved the required minimum test scores in a specified English language test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of your application unless you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland as evidence that you are a citizen of that country.

Applicants for the Temporary Residence Transition stream are also exempt from demonstrating their English language proficiency if they have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English. You cannot include short courses studied for this purpose.

Applicants for the Labour Agreement Stream must demonstrate that they have English language skills that are suitable to perform the occupation to which the position relates. This will be the same level of English as for the other visa streams outlined above, unless otherwise specified in the labour agreement.

Skill requirements and exemptions

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

  • evidence that you have at least three years of relevant work experience
  • a positive, valid skills assessment in your nominated occupation if you are applying for a:
    • subclass 187 visa under the Direct Entry stream in an occupation specified in a legislative instrument and you hold overseas qualifications.Important: a skills assessment will be required for all nominated occupations in the future. More information on this will be provided closer to time.

Note:

  • 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
  • skills assessments obtained for a subclass 485 visa will not be accepted as these are not considered full skills assessments for permanent skilled migration purposes
  • visa applicants applying through the Temporary Residence Transition or Labour Agreement streams will generally not need to have their skills assessed. A skills assessment may, however, still be requested where this is considered to be necessary.

Direct Entry stream applicants are exempt from the requirement to apply for a positive skills assessment as outlined above, where they have applied for:

  • a subclass 187 visa and are in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa and have worked with their nominating employer in their nominated occupation for the last two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the period of three years before the visa application is made.

187 Health requirements

You and all family members must meet certain health requirements.

187 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. ​​

187 Temporary Residence Transition stream

You might be able to get this visa under the 187 Temporary Residence Transition stream if:

  • you are the holder of aTemporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) or TSS 482 visza 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.

187 Direct Entry stream

You might be able to get this visa under the 187 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 187 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 187 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.

187 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.

187 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 or 482 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.

187 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 187 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 187 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.​

187 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.

Please contact our visa specialist in Perth , Brisbane or Sydney for an initial assessment to ensure you are applying for the correct Australian visa.

187 News Updates

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