What’s The Difference? Comparing Australia’s 187 & 186 Visas

 

The 187 RSMS (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) and 186 ENS (Employer Nomination Scheme) permanent residency visas have a lot in common. But these are still two different types of visas, and I think that a lot of prospective applicants are confused about which one of these visas is appropriate for them.

In this post, I will highlight the key differences between the 187 and 186 visas.

One thing that I’d like to point out is that like the 186 visa and despite its name, the 187 visa is an employer sponsored permanent residency visa.

Working in a regional area of Australia

You can only apply for the 187 RSMS visa if your nominated position is located in regional Australia. Your sponsoring employer must also be actively operating its business in this regional area. Regional areas are basically areas that are outside the major metropolitan centres of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Melbourne.

The postcodes of the areas that are classified as regional are listed here. Note that the whole of South Australia, Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are classified as regional areas (including the relevant capital cities of these states and territories such as Adelaide and Perth). In the final section of this post, you’ll find a detailed outline of what needs to be met in relation to working in a regional area.

In contrast, you can apply for a 186 ENS visa irrespective of where your nominated position is located in Australia, including regional areas.

Applying for 187 RSMS visa under the Temporary Residence Transition (‘TRT’) stream

You may be able to apply under this stream if you currently hold a 457 visa and the employer that is currently sponsoring you for your 457 visa is also going to sponsor you for permanent residency.

The eligibility requirements are almost identical to those that need to be satisfied for 186 ENS applications made under the TRT stream. I have outlined the requirements in this post about the 186 ENS visa. I’m not going to outline the eligibility requirements in great detail since they are covered in my earlier post, but I will summarise the requirements:

  1. You’re a primary 457 visa holder and you’ve worked full-time for at least 2 years (out of the last 3 years) in the role that you’re approved to work in under your current 457 visa (work in similar roles may be allow and may count towards the 2 years. See 186 ENS visa for further information)
  2. You’re nominated role for your 187 RSMS visa application must be a full-time position. The position must be made available to you for at least 2 years. The terms and conditions of employment can’t contain any conditions that would preclude the possibility of you extending your employment beyond the initial 2 years
  3. The terms and conditions of employment are no less favourable than the terms and conditions that is or would be provided to an Australian citizen or permanent resident that is working in the same role and location as the nominated position. This requirement is covered in greater detail in my post in relation to the ‘market rate’ requirement
  4. Your nominating employer has met the ‘training requirement’ that it needed to meet when their Standard Business Sponsorship was approved

Unlike a 187 RSMS application that is made under the Direct Entry stream, a 187 RSMS nomination application made under the TRT stream does not need to be certified by a regional certifying body (see below in relation to certification by regional certifying bodies).

What’s the advantage of applying under the 187 RSMS TRT stream?

If you’re a 457 visa holder and you’re looking to apply under the TRT stream after completing 2 years of employment in a regional area, then both the 187 and 186 visa options may be available to you.

The only real difference and advantage of applying for the 187 RSMS visa is that DIAC gives RSMS applications priority processing over ENS applications. DIAC may be able to finalise your application quicker if you go down the RSMS pathway but other than that, I don’t see any other advantages or major differences.

There is an advantage for your sponsoring employer because they do not have to pay a nomination lodgement fee for the 187 RSMS nomination application (the lodgement fee for the 186 ENS nomination application is currently $520).

Applying for 187 RSMS visa under the Direct Entry (‘DE’) stream

  • Your nominated occupation must align with an ANZSCO from major groups 1, 2 or 3. You can search for various ANZSCOs through the ABS website. This differs from applications made under the 186 ENS Direct Entry stream where your nominated occupation can be any occupation listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List
  •  The nomination application needs to be certified by the Regional Certifying body
  • In a nomination application made under the RSMS DE stream, the skill level specified for the nominated role must be at least be equal to the skill level specified for the relevant ANZSCO occupation. This does sound a bit complicated but the following example should illustrate this requirement: if your nominated role aligns with the ANZSCO of Mechanical Engineering Technician, the ‘Indicative Skill Level’ for this occupation is either: AQF Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma or at least 3 years of relevant work experience. So you need to hold at least the required level of formal qualification or have at least 3 years of relevant work experience
  • Your nominating employer does not need to meet the ‘training benchmark’ requirement
  • Your sponsoring employer will need to show that the ‘market rate’ requirement is met

Skills assessment requirement for RSMS Direct Entry stream

The one major advantage of the 187 RSMS DE stream is that for those that are nominated into ANZSCO major 1 or 2 occupations, or a non-trade ANZSCO major group 3 occupation, you won’t need to complete a skills assessment. You still need to have either the required level of formal qualification or relevant work experience that is specified in the ‘Indicative Skill Level’ for the ANZSCO that your occupation aligns with.

So you may be able to apply for permanent residency before you complete 2 years of employment under a 457 visa, and without having to complete a skills assessment. You can also be exempted from having to do a skills assessment if your guaranteed annual salary is at least $180,001, or if you’ve worked for the employer that will sponsor you for at least 2 years as a Subclass 444 or 461 visa holder (New Zealand citizens and relatives of New Zealand citizens).

If your nominated ANZSCO is a trade occupation (from ANZSCO major group 3), then you need to have either a relevant Australian trade qualification or obtain a positive skills assessment for your occupation from VETASSESS or Trades Recognition Australia. This legislative instrument lists all the trade occupations for which you will need to complete a skills assessment or have a relevant Australian trade qualification.

Summary of when 187 RSMS visa may be right for you

If you’re working (or will be working) in a regional area and:

  • If you’ve worked full-time for 2 years as a 457 visa holder and you want to apply under the TRT stream. Applying for a 187 RSMS visa will give you priority processing over 186 ENS visa applications
  • Your occupation aligns with an ANZSCO from major groups 1 or 2, or a non-trade occupation from major group 3. You may be able to apply for a 187 RSMS visa without having to obtain a positive skills assessment
  • Your employer can’t meet the ‘training benchmark’ requirement. This requirement does not apply for RSMS Direct Entry stream applications
  • Your occupation is not in Schedule 1 or 2 but is in ANZSCO major groups 1, 2 or 3. Hypothetical example: Your employer or prospective employer wants you to work in a regional area of Australia, but they can’t sponsor you for a 457 or 186 visa because your occupation doesn’t fall into an ANZSCO that is on Schedule 1 or 2. However, your occupation aligns with an ANZSCO that is from major groups 1, 2 or 3. You may be able to apply directly for permanent residency under the RSMS Direct Entry stream

Your role must be in a regional area

Your nominating employer needs to operate their business in the regional area (although the employer doesn’t need to only operate their business in this area, or have their registered head office in the regional area). As the nominee, you don’t have to live in the regional area. You can travel to the regional area for work purposes. However, you can’t perform your role remotely. You need to be physically in the regional area to perform your role. For instance, if you’re an IT programmer and you’ve been offered a role in Perth, you can’t perform this role remotely from Melbourne and be eligible to be nominated for this role under the RSMS pathway.

If your role requires you to work in several locations, each of these location must be located within a regional area. Occasionally travelling to non-regional areas for meetings, presentations, training etc. is allowed. But if you need to regularly work outside of regional areas, then the nomination application won’t be approved under the RSMS pathway.

In terms of identifying a regional area for the nomination application, the relevant location is where the majority of your tasks and duties are carried out.

Professional Assistance

Need assistance with an Australian migration law matter? Please contact me if you require professional assistance.

See the feedback that we have received from our clients.

312 thoughts on “What’s The Difference? Comparing Australia’s 187 & 186 Visas

  1. Laurelle

    Hi Peng,
    This is such a useful article – thank you so much! It has really helped to clear up my confusion around these two visas. I have 2 short questions which I was wondering if you might be able to answer:

    1) Are either the 186 or the 187 likely to be affected by the 457 reforms that come into effect from now up until March 18?
    2) As an ‘Advertising Specialist’ ANZSCO skill level 1 – do I need to have a formal degree or qualification in my field to obtain a positive skills assessment? I am being given conflicting advice on this matter – I have 3 years of highly relevent work experience but no formal qualification in Advertising. I do have a diploma in Event Management but I don’t think this would qualify as ‘highly relevent’

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    Kind regards,

    Laurelle

    Reply
  2. Grace

    Hi Peng,

    I have lodged an application for 187 RSMS visa through TRT 457. I have been working for my employer for 4 years now, will the condition to stay with my employer for the next 2 years still apply to me? I have been working for him for 4 years on a 457 visa when he nominated me and lodged my 187 visa. I am still awaiting the decision.

    Appreciate your reply.

    Reply
  3. Jass

    Hi Peng
    I have one query regarding my case, I applied 187/RSMS visa as a chef but They already have one cook on the same package as mine. Can it affect on my visa application because cook and chef on same package.My question is chef and cook could have same package?Thanks in advance.I really appreciate for your help.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  4. Francesco

    Hi Peng,

    First of all thank you for what you are doing, really appreciated.
    I’d like to ask: I am currently on 457 visa, will be completing two years on May 2017.
    I have spoken to several migration agents and also Migration officer here in Darwin.
    I wanted to apply for 187 Direct Entry since i meet the minimun requirements, however I’ve been advised to wait until May and apply for RSMS TRT since the processing time will be much quicker than the Direct Entry one. Can you confirm that?

    I’ve been told DE can take up to 10-11 months at the moment, while TRT only 5-6 months (Darwin seems to be lot faster).

    Thank you,

    Francesco

    Reply
  5. Thanh Pham

    Hi Peng,

    In case of no sponsor employer, after submit EOI, how long does it take me to receive the invitation?

    Thanks,

    Reply
  6. Tuan Pham

    Dear Peng Cheng,

    Please advise if it is required to attached the Skill assessment to the EOI for RSMS 187 visa.

    Thanks for your support.

    Reply
  7. Camila

    Peng,
    Being a 457 visa holder, and having had 3+ years of experience in Australia on the sponsored position, is the 186 direct entry also available?

    Reply
  8. Camila

    Hi Peng,
    Thanks for all the useful info.
    I’m on a 457 visa and I saw your post about the guaranteed earnings counted towards minimum wage for the 457 visa. Even though my pay is above the minimum annually, it does vary in a weekly basis. Some weeks do more or less hours.
    Would that be a problem to apply for 186 visa?

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Camila,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  9. Tim

    Hi Peng,

    My employer has different branches all over Australia and I work in Perth (Regional Area). I was wondering if I should apply for visa 187 or 186 because the company I work has branches which aren’t only in Perth?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Tim,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  10. Fahad

    Hi sir
    Thank you so much for a detailed information .

    My brother is citizen he us living in Sydney. He is running an online retail business of wall mirrors through a website and ebay store since last year. Now he is opening physical store in Sydney cbd .

    I did MBA and I have 10 years banking experience as Relationship Manager.

    Can my brother nominate me for manager position of his store as he is also doing 5 days full time job so he can not spend all day on store.

    If yes thn Which type of visa

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Fahad,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  11. Murphy

    Hi Peng,
    good job you are doing here and guess we need people like you more.i am sending this in regards to some few questions to help fill out the RSMS subclass 187 visa application online. My organisation are on the process of sponsoring me, approval already gotten by the RCB and will be nominating with the DIBP soon but just want to get myself ready so i can file in my application too at about the same time they nominate me with the department. I have gone through all the checklist as listed on the website and believe i have all but my point of confusion is got to do with my dependants. In the application, i will only be filing for my mother to join me but have about two to three family members who are dependent on me but are not joining me. As part of the checklist, i found the form 80 and also the form 47A, my question is which of these forms do i fill for my mother who i hope will be joining me here in Australia and which forms will i fill for my other dependent family members who are listed but not joining me soonest? Or am i required to fill both forms for everyone listed in the application both joining me and not? Thanks and hoping to hear soonest from you.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Murphy,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Raya,
      That qualification may be sufficient – See ANZSCO requirements:
      UNIT GROUP 1411 CAFE AND RESTAURANT MANAGERS

      CAFE AND RESTAURANT MANAGERS organise and control the operations of cafes, restaurants and related establishments to provide dining and catering services.
      Indicative Skill Level:
      Most occupations in this unit group have a level of skill commensurate with the qualifications and experience outlined below.

      In Australia:

      AQF Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma (ANZSCO Skill Level 2)

      In New Zealand:
      NZ Register Diploma (ANZSCO Skill Level 2)

      At least three years of relevant experience may substitute for the formal qualifications listed above. In some instances relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification.
      PC

      Reply
  12. Luca

    Dear Peng,
    thanks for your blog, it is a very helpful tool to clarify my mind before actually applying through an immigration agent.
    Can I describe my actual situation?

    I work as a cook/chef since 2013 and I got certificate 3 and 4 through RPL in April 2016.
    -I am on student visa together with my partner and I am almost completed my DIPLOMA in travel and Tourism.
    -My student visa expired in October 2016.
    -I am looking for a sponsorship in regional area so that I can apply for a 187 visa.
    -7 in IELTS

    Once i found an employer willing to sponsor me, which is the stream which apply to my case?I am quite confuse about it. Is it DIRECT ENTRY stream?
    -Do i need skills assessment to apply for this visa as a cook or chef?

    Thank you in advance for your help

    Luca

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Luca,
      I think that you would only be able to apply under the direct entry stream if you satisfy the relevant requirements: http://myaccessaustralia.com/regional-sponsored-migration-scheme-rsms-subclass-187-visa/
      We are sorry but we can’t provide advice just based on the information that you have provided. Please see information in relation to our consultation service if you would like to book a time to discuss your visa options: http://myaccessaustralia.com/professional-services/
      PC

      Reply
  13. Gagan

    If you dont mind could you be able to provide your email id. Actually its not easy to call overseas from my place.

    Reply
  14. Gagan

    Hi Peng. You are doing a great job man. I have a query too. Actually, I want to apply for 187 visa offsure from India. I have 2 years advanced diploma in hospitality and full time 2 years experience as well. I had a barred of 3 years which was finished in Jan 2016. i came back from Australia in Jan 2013. So does this barred have any effect on my case or not??
    Please reply me back.
    Thanks in advance
    Regards
    Gagan

    Reply
  15. Emon

    Hi, what is the current waiting time for 187 visa? I have applied for nomination and visa on 3rd of February 2016. I have got my RCB approved on 4th of February. Would be great if you can help me.

    Best regards
    Emon

    Reply
  16. Rich

    Dear Peng,

    I going to start my studies in Commercial cookery III and then I am planning to apply for Commercial cookery IV. Will I be able after graduating the both courses to apply for 187 RSMS in the regional area?

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rich,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  17. Md Onick Islam

    Hi
    I am in 573 student visa doing MBAP14 in sydney and my visa will finish 30th august 2016. I already completed MBA from Bangladesh and my IELTS score is 6.5. I have a 3.6 years experience as an HR Manager in a Garments factory back my country. Can i apply for 187 visa in a regional area as an Restaurant Manager?

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi MD,
      Sorry but I can’t advise in relation to your visa options just based on the above information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  18. Ash

    Hi Peng,

    Thank you for the useful information.

    As for Direct Entry stream, if the IELTS score is not met to be 6 in all band scores, is there any way around it to be exempted or is it a must?

    Also, for a cook position, if someone holds a cert III from TAFE in Australia as well as more than two years of experience in a relevant position, is a skill assessment still required or not?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  19. Charlie

    Hi Peng, I am currently holding a 457 visa my current employer wants to sponsor me for another 457 visa. Do I need to have a skills assessment to get approve? I was not reqiuired to undergo skills assessment when I apply 457 visa last 2012. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  20. John

    Hi Peng, I am currently on a 457 visa (Ships Officer ANZSCO 231214) which was granted April 2013, previous to that I was on a 417 WHV and then a 442. A different company wishes to sponsor me under the 187 RSMS. Is it possible to use the work experience prior to gaining my qualifications?? and can I use the work experience gained on the417,442 and 457 visas?? I was employed as a watch keeper and required the same skills so in my opinion it is relevant. I hold Australian Qualifications but CERT 3 not Bachelor as demonstrated in the ANZSCO code.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi John,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your family’s visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  21. Miami

    Hi my name is Miami

    I am planning to apply for 457 visa with a kitchen in regional area however I am holding TR and I have certificate 3 and 4 .is it possible I can apply 187 visa after my 457 visa approval

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Miami,
      Sorry but I can’t advise in relation to your visa options just based on the above information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  22. rahul

    hi peng thanx for ur warm replies. can u suggest me that if I have a good employer, what will be the success rate of RCB , nomination n visa ?? looking forward to hear from u

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rahul,
      Sorry but I can’t advise in relation to your visa options just based on the above information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rahul,
      Around 4-6 weeks – suggest that you have a look at their website for current processing times.
      PC

      Reply
  23. rahul

    hi peng

    I m applying for rsms visa for the job of hairdresser/barber in adelaide and I have got cert3,4 and diploma of hairdressing from melbourne along with approved TRA. do I also need 2 years of experience in hairdressing b4 I apply for 187 visa ???

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Rahul,
      You may be able to apply with your Australian Cert IV qualification.
      Sorry but I can’t advise in relation to your visa options just based on the above information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  24. Raz

    Hi Peng,
    I am on 457 visa as a restaurant/cafe manager and have 1.5 years full time experience in total on 457 visa from 3 different businesses. i have completed one year business Diploma in 2011. After completion of my one year business diploma i have 2 years experience(20 hrs/week) until the 457 visa. and have one year (20 hr/week) experience before 2011 .I think ENS186 need 3 years relevant job experience. Will this experience count for ENS 186, i want to apply ENS.
    thankin you. Raz

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Raz,
      Generally speaking you can count work experience after you complete your relevant qualification, including PT work.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  25. ann

    Hi Peng
    i have paid the applicantion fee (187 visa) online, and i want to know how long i have to lodge all the documants? is there a limited time frame to do that?
    Thanks

    Reply
  26. Eugenia

    Hi Peng!
    First of all: Thank you very much for your post, this information is so helpful!

    I am holding a 457 visa as Chef and I want to apply to 187 visa Direct Entry. Do I need skill assessment given I haven´t been working 2 years with my emloyer yet and my degree is from other country?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Eugenia,
      Yes a skill assessment is generally required if you don’t have an Australian trade qualification – see above post.
      PC

      Reply
      1. Eugenia

        What about if I apply to 187 visa with other position, for example restaurant manager, can I do that? Or should I apply with the same position than my current 457 visa ?
        I appreciate so much your help!

        Reply
        1. Peng Cheng Post author

          Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
          PC

          Reply
  27. Sam

    Hi Peng,
    I have been working as Cook for last 4.5 years in Australia but I do not have any formal qualification. Is it possible to lodge 187 visa completely on the basis of my work experience without certificate?

    Thank you
    Sam

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *