Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) – Subclass 187 Visa

 

The Subclass 187 RSMS visa is a permanent residency visa that requires the sponsorship of a nominating employer for a role that is located in ‘regional Australia’.

The main difference between a 187 RSMS visa and a 186 Employer Nominated Scheme visa is that for a 187 visa, you need to be nominated by your employer to work in their business which is located in a part of regional Australia. Regional Australia is defined by postcode. Your nominated role must be performed in one of these eligible areas.

While only certain postcodes are eligible for RSMS in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Queensland, the entire states of Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory are deemed to be regional and eligible for RSMS. This means that you may be able to apply under RSMS even if you are  nominated to work for an employer in metropolitan Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra or Darwin.

There are two separate pathways or streams for the 187 visa. You can satisfy the requirements of either stream before applying for the 187 visa. The streams are called the Direct Entry stream, and the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

 

Main eligibility requirements for 187 visa

 

In order to obtain a 187 visa, the visa applicant and the employer will need to satisfy a number of requirements, including the following key requirements:

  • The visa applicant needs to perform the nominated role at the employer’s business premises which is located in a regional area. Regional areas which are eligible are defined by postcode. While only certain postcodes are eligible for RSMS in New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Queensland, the entire states of Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory are deemed to be eligible
  • If the visa applicant is applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, then the applicant needs to complete 2 years of full-time work as a 457 visa holder
  • If the visa applicant is applying under the Direct Entry stream, then the role that the visa applicant is nominated to perform needs to align with an eligible ANZSCO occupation which are all ANZSCO occupations that specify a Skill Level of 1, 2 or 3
  • If the visa applicant is applying under the Direct Entry stream, then the employer will need to lodge an application to the relevant Regional Certifying Body to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for the visa applicant and that the position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is living in that area. This generally means that the employer will need to advertise the nominated role in the local newspaper and/or online for a period of 2-4 weeks
  • Visa applicant must satisfy the English requirement for this visa, or one of the available exemptions
  • Visa applicant’s salary must be consistent with the ‘Australian market rate’ for the nominated role

Please note that the above listed requirements are not the only requirements that the visa applicant and the employer/sponsor need to satisfy in order to obtain a 187 visa. The above does outline the key requirements.

 

 

Commitment that you make as a Subclass 187 visa applicant

 

In the visa application form, as the applicant, you are required to declare that you:

  • Agree to work in the nominated position for at least two years
  • Understand that if you as the applicant, or any family members included in the application or third parties acting your behalf, provide (or have provided in a previous application) false or misleading information, or bogus documents either knowingly or otherwise, the visa application will be refused and you may be subject to three year bar in relation to visas to which the fraud criterion applies. Any visa granted may be cancelled.

Effectively, this means that when your visa application is lodged, you must have the intention to work for your sponsoring employer in your nominated role for at least 2 years from the date that the 187 visa is approved.

What are the consequences if you end your employment before completing 2 years following the approval of your visa? Have a read of this post which explains the potential consequences.

 

Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream

 

To apply under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, you need to complete two years of employment with the employer that sponsored you for your 457 visa. Employment with a different 457 visa sponsor cannot be counted towards the two years. You need to have been working in the role that you will be sponsored for under the Subclass 187 visa application for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (excluding periods of unpaid leave).

 

English language requirement – TRT stream

 

You need to have ‘vocational’ English language ability which is satisfied if any of the following applies to you:

  • If you hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand; or
  • The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Vocational English are as follows:
Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 5 5 5 5
TOEFL iBT 4 4 14 14
PTE Academic 36 36 36 36
OET B B B B

 

You are exempted from having to satisfy the English language requirement if:

  • You are a Minister of Religion nominated by a religious institution, or
  • Your guaranteed annual earnings for your nominated position is at least equivalent to the highest current Australian individual income tax rate (currently $180,001 per annum), or
  • If you have completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all the tuition was delivered in English

 

Direct Entry (DE) stream

 

To apply under the DE stream, the following needs to be satisfied:

  • The tasks required (and accordingly the nominated position) corresponds to an occupation at an ANZSCO skill level of 1, 2 or 3. These skill levels generally correspond to occupations which are managerial, professional, or trade based.
  • There is a genuine need for the nominator to employ this employee and that the position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is living in that area. Applicants need to show, amongst other criterion, that the position is required and genuine given the nature of the employer’s business, the business’ size and operations, whether the business is expanding or diversifying their activities and whether there is a vacancy in the business. Some Regional Certifying Bodies require evidence of advertisement and responses to them from job applicants to demonstrate that the position had been advertised locally and that no suitable candidate was found.
  • The relevant Regional Certifying Body (RCB) has approved the relevant 187 nomination application.

 

Regional Certifying Bodies (“RCB”)

 

A RCB is required to provide advice to the Department in relation to whether the above criteria have been satisfied, that is, the position is genuine given the nature of the business and the position could not be filled by an Australian permanent resident or citizen. They basically conduct their own assessment using similar evidence as that provided for the 187 nomination application, and any additional supporting evidence as specified by the relevant RCB.

RCB application and approval is only required for the 187 DE stream. It is not required for the TRT stream.

Each region has its own RCB and you need to choose the appropriate RCB to conduct this assessment based on your employer’s location (a list of RCBs can be found here). It is also important to note that most RCB charge a fee for this service.

 

 

Relevant work experience

 

The work experience requirement was recently changed. Previously, for certain trade occupations such as Cook, Chef, Plumber etc., you needed to demonstrate 2 years of on-the job training completed as part of your course, or 2 years of relevant work experience.

For these trade occupations, the visa applicant now just needs to demonstrate that he or she has the relevant qualifications or relevant work experience to satisfy the ANZSCO framework. If the applicant relies on an Australian qualification, that qualification must be as specified within the ANZSCO framework for that occupation. For example, if the nominated position were that of a cook (ANZSCO 351411), the applicant must demonstrate one of the following:

  1. hold a relevant AQF Certificate IV or
  2. hold a relevant AQF Certificate III including at least two years of on the job training or two years of post-qualification work experience or
  3. have at least 3 years of relevant experience.

 

Skill Assessment

 

A skill assessment for your nominated occupation is generally not required unless your nominated occupation is one of these listed trade occupations. If your nominated occupation is one of these listed trade occupations, then you need a positive skill assessment or you need to have a relevant Australian qualification that satisfies that ANZSCO requirement.

 

English language requirement – DE Stream

 

The English language requirements for the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition streams are different.

You need to have ‘competent’ English language ability which is satisfied if:

  • If you hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand; or
  • The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Competent English are as follows:
Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 6 6 6 6
TOEFL iBT 12 13 21 18
PTE Academic 50 50 50 50
OET B B B B

 

You are exempted from having to satisfy the English language requirement if:

  • You are a Minister of Religion nominated by a religious institution, or
  • Your guaranteed annual earnings for your nominated position is at least equivalent to the highest current Australian individual income tax rate (currently $180,001 per annum)

 

Common eligibility requirements

 

Irrespective of whether you are applying under the Direct Entry or Temporary Residence Transition stream, you need to satisfy these common requirements:

  • You can apply for this visa if you hold a substantive visa, or a bridging visa A, B or C. If you hold a bridging visa, you won’t need to address Schedule 3
  • Age requirement
  • Equivalent terms and conditions of employment
  • If it is compulsory for you to obtain registration or licencing for you to practice in your nominated occupation, then you need to obtain this at the time of your application

 

Age requirement

 

You need to be under 50 years of age at the time that you lodge your application. There are only a few allowed exceptions to this requirement for those applicants that are 50 years of age or over which are outlined below:

  • Ministers of religion nominated by a religious institution
  • Researchers, scientists and technical specialists at ANZSCO skill levels 1 or 2 who have been nominated by an Australian government agency
  • Senior academics employed by a university in Australia
  • And for Temporary Residence Transition stream only: Persons holding subclass 457 visas, who have a) worked for their nominating employer for at least the 4 year period preceding the visa application and b) been paid at least the Fair Work High Income Threshold (as of 1 July 2013, this amount is $129,300) for each of these 4 years

 

Equivalent terms and conditions of employment

 

  • Your sponsoring employer needs to demonstrate that the terms and conditions of your employment are no less favourable than the terms and conditions of employment for an equivalent Australian citizen or permanent resident (known as the ‘market rate’ requirement). Your employer can show this by providing a copy of the contract of an Australian citizen or permanent resident that is working in the same position and location as your nominated role under the Subclass 187 visa application (other evidence of the Australian’s salary may be acceptable such copies of payslips or payment summaries).
  • If there is no much equivalent Australian, then your employer can provide evidence of what the Australian market salary rate is for your nominated role and show that your guaranteed annual salary is at least equal to the market rate (e.g. provide salary survey data for your industry and role).

.

Dependents who are over 18 – Functional English language ability

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This applies for both the DE and TRT streams.

All adult dependents who are over 18 years of age will need to demonstrate ‘functional’ English language ability. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways:

  1. Achieve English examination results outlined below; or
  2. Complete all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  3. Complete at least 5 years of secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  4. Complete in Australia at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma at an institution or institutions where all the instruction was conducted in English; or
  5. Hold an award (being a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate) that required at least 2 years of full-time study or training; and all instruction (including instruction received in other courses for which the person was allowed credit) for that award was conducted in English.

Required Scores to establish Functional English are as follows:

Test component Average test score
IELTS 4.5
TOEFL iBT 32
PTE Academic 30

 

The application process

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You can only lodge an application using the Department’s online portal.

You can only prepare the online visa application form once your nominating employer has at least started to prepare the nomination application for your role (which is also prepared using the online portal). This is because you need the nomination application TRN which will be issued to your employer once they have started to prepare the nomination application.

You can lodge your visa application while you are inside or outside of Australia (but you won’t be granted a Bridging Visa A that is associated with your Subclass 186 visa application if you are outside of Australia at the time of lodgement).

After you have lodged the application, you upload the supporting documents electronically. As part of the initial application, you do not need to submit any actual paper work or forms. It is all online.

In my experience with NSW applications, normal processing time is 3-8 months.

 

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How much does this visa cost?

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The below is just a list of the relevant government lodgement fees:

  • 186 nomination application: $540
  • Base application fee: $3520
  • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years and over: $1760
  • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years or under: 880

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Secondary visa application charge (SVAC)

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This needs to be paid if anyone in your application who does not satisfy the English language requirement that applies to them. However, as the primary applicant, you need to meet the English language requirement. If you do not meet the English language requirement – then one of the exemptions outlined above must apply to you. If one of the exemptions apply to you as the primary applicant, then you need to pay the SVAC if you also do not have ‘functional’ English language ability.

This fee is paid at the time of decision so your case officer will contact you at the time that the payment is required.

As the primary applicant, if you don’t have functional English language ability, then the SVAC is $8,520. For other adult dependents that can’t demonstrate functional English, the SVAC is $4,520.

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Frequently asked questions

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  1. Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work that I completed under another visa like 485 and student visa?
    A: No
  2. Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work completed with a different employer?
    A: No
  3. Q: For the TRT stream, can I lodge my application before I complete 2 years of full-time work if I am close to completing 2 years?
    A: No – you must satisfy the 2 year requirement at the time of application

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How we can help

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678 thoughts on “Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) – Subclass 187 Visa

  1. GO

    Hi Peng
    As the immigration office has announced about the regulations of the visas yesterday, I am now wondering if I transfer from my 457 to RSMS after March 2018.
    Is it still possible ?
    I have just found new sponsorship, they will start my 457 visa application which takes a longer process than normal because of a long holiday ( Christmas and New years) . So my new sponsor expects my visa can be granted in Fed 2018.
    Thank you very much for your time
    Kind regards,
    Go

    Reply
  2. John

    Hi peng
    We apply 187 visa end of april 2017. Immi site shows processing time 8/9 month. I applied from regional area in qld. But i lodge my file in sydney parramata office. I see some comment that someone waiting 15/ 18 month. Is their any different by state by state. Or all state application has same waiting period?
    Other thing is when we apply i haven’t submit my wife ielts paper. Now i have ielts paper, can i attach this ielts on my file? Or i have to wait untill case officer ask ?
    Please let me know.
    Thanks

    Reply
  3. nathan Nguyen

    Hi Peng,
    I am Nathan, I and my wife applied visa 187 via online, when I submitted and I got automatic bridging visa A reply but only my one, I have not got my wife bridging visa. It will come later or something wrong when I did apply online? I really concern. Hope you can answer what is happen. Thank you so much
    Nathan

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Nathan,
      All bridging visas should be issued shortly after lodgement. You can call/email the department if you are missing this.
      PC

      Reply
  4. Shamira

    Hi Peng

    Hope you are doing well. Our rsms application has been allocated to a case officer on the 3rd of oct 2017. However the case officer did ask for some updated documents from the company and we have already submitted the required documents since 2 weeks.
    Do you have any idea when we will get an answer from them? The status on immi website is still showing the application is being assessed.

    Thank you

    Reply
          1. Shamira

            Its ok Reet. So our nominations got approved last year in May 2016 and we applied for the subclass 187 in august 2016. And the state we are is NSW in regional area. Actually we got our Permanent Residency today itself..

          2. Reet

            Congratulations then shamira
            It’s relief for u really

            I applied from perth
            N DIBP processing is very painful
            So till approval it’s hard to pass time

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Department can take anywhere between 4-8 weeks or longer to finalise an application once they have all required information and documents, although there is no set processing time for a final decision.
      Best of luck with your application.
      PC

      Reply
  5. Samrat

    Hi Ping, I appllied RSMS in Oct 2016 from Perth. According to the new regulations the pending applications will not approved from 17th of November 2017. Can you please give me advice what the immigration will give options to us or we have to go back home.

    Reply
    1. Reet

      No mate
      I think we r safe
      Before 11 march 2017 all files will proceed according to the old rules n regulations
      Finger cross it’s really stressful condition till result for everyone who applied from perth region

      Reply
  6. John

    Hello peng,
    I have a question. Is there a reason why immigration is taking way so long to process RSMS application most people are waiting minimum of 12 months and i m waiting since past 16 months so whats holding them back and making people wait too long? Kindly reply please

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi John,
      I am sorry to hear about your long processing time. Unfortunately, the Department’s processing time is very slow at the moment and there are a lot of applicants in the queue. Sorry but there isn’t much that anyone can do about this.
      You can contact the Department if you wish to follow-up.
      PC

      Reply
    2. John

      Hello peng,
      I just got the news that a new legistlation is saying that any rsms nominations that are lodged prior to 11 march 2017 and are not finalised until 17th november 2017 will not be approved is this news true? I have heard that DIBP might be taking this step to reduce there workload?

      Reply

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