The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa allows skilled workers to come to Australia, work for a nominating regional employer and live in Australia permanently. The employer may nominate a worker who is in or outside of Australia and depending on the circumstances, may nominate under one of three streams.
- The Temporary Resident Transition (TRT) stream - for employers who have sponsored the nominee (worker) on a subclass 457 for at least 2 years;
- The Direct Entry (DE) stream - for employers who have not sponsored the nominee (worker) previously;
- The Agreement stream - for employers who have a labor agreement in place with the Australian Government.
As expected, each stream has specific criteria and each is subject to change as the Australian Government introduce measures to meet skills shortages. Generally, a regional employer will be able to nominate an overseas worker if the occupation is on the relevant skills list, the nominated worker is highly skilled and the employer is unable to find local (Australian) workers to fill the position.
A Nomination application is required for all 187 visas, and it is the employer's responsibility to pay for the nomination, warrant they will not recoup the money from the 187 applicant, and ensure that in all business documents the information is true and correct in every sense. Depending on the stream chosen, there are either two or three stages to successfully nominating a worker for a subclass 187 visa:
- The employer must nominate their currently sponsored subclass 482 or 457 visa holder, in the same occupation, business and location as was held by the nominee for at least the past three years;
- The nominated employee must apply to fill the nominated occupation (position) with the nominating employer (187 visa) within 6 months of the nomination being approved.
- The employer must apply to a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) for approval;
- The employer must apply to nominate an occupation (position) from the list of subclass 187 occupations;
- The employee must apply to fill the nominated occupation (position) with the nominating employer (187 visa) within 6 months of the nomination being approved.
Transitional (TRT) Nomination
The TRT nomination application is for employers who already sponsored the nominated employee for a subclass 482 or 457 visa. The essential requirements to lodge a 187 TRT nomination application include:
- The nominating employer must be the standard business sponsor of the 457 visa holder;
- The employee must have worked in the nominated position in your business, on a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa as a primary visa holder, for at least three out of the previous four years before the nomination is made;
- The nomination must identify an occupation (for the position) that has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the subclass 482 or 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;
- The nominating employer must have met the subclass 457 visa training requirements in each year they have been a standard business sponsor, even if the SAF levy means they no longer have that obligation;
- The nominating employer must not be an approved overseas standard business sponsor under the subclass 482 or 457 visa program.
Tip The period of time already worked with any previous subclass 482 or 457 standard business sponsor might be considered towards the three year requirement of the Temporary Residence Transition stream, but only in those cases where the nominating employer demonstrates the nominated person has been working in the same role, with the same employer and in the same location for the whole three years they held their subclass 482 or 457 visa.
Direct (DE) Nomination
The direct entry nomination application is for employers who want to nominate a worker for a subclass 187 visa, but have not previously sponsored them, or who can not use the TRT stream. The essential requirements for a successful 187 direct entry application include:
- The terms and conditions for the position must meet the minimum standards set out under Australian employment law;
- The nominated occupation (position) must be on the consolidated subclass 187 occupation list;
- The position must be made available for at least two years, with no expressed exclusion of future employment;
- Salary for the position must be paid at or above the current Australian Market Salary Rate (AMSR) and no less than $54 000;
- The employer must evidence there is no Australian citizen or PR willing to re-locate to work in the nominated position;
- The employer must be financially viable (able to afford the nominated employee);
- The employer must actively operate a lawfully constituted business in regional Australia;
- The employer must obtain advice from the relevant Regional Certifying Body.
Regional Certifying Bodies (RCB) applications are required for a 187 DE nomination. RCBs are area-specific, comprised of government and industry agencies and are responsible for providing advice on regional issues with respect to 187 nominations to the Department. It is essential that employers have the advice from the relevant regional certifying body prior to proceeding with the subclass 187 DE nomination and visa applications.
The relevant RCB will assess 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 and no other person is willing to relocate to undertake the work;
- Results of the LMT undertaken by the business.
A regional employer may be a business actively and lawfully operating in any of the following areas:
|Australian Capital Territory||Anywhere|
|New South Wales||Anywhere except Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong|
|Queensland||Anywhere except Brisbane|
|Victoria||Anywhere except Melbourne|
|Western Australia||Anywhere except Perth city|
Labour Market Testing is not required for the 187 regional nomination, however we strongly recommend employers comply with the subclass 482 (457) LMT requirements to assist them evidence no Australian citizen or PR is availabel to work, or willing to re-locate to fill the position.
This means you should provide evidence of your attempts to recruit Australians, including the details and expenses of any advertising you conducted. If this evidence does not accompany your RCB application, it may be declined. The type of evidence you must provide will depend on the application lodgement date.
If the salary is below $250 000, employers must show that the salary is the same as the Australian Market Salary Rates (AMSR) for the same occupation in substantially the same business operating in the same location.
If there is an Australian working in the equivalent position in the same location, or if contracts or salary indicators can be obtained from similar businesses in the same location, then comparison is made between the gross incomes of the Australian and the employee to be nominated. Benefits where the value cannot be estimated ahead of time may not be included in base salary.
If there is no Australian working in a similar position in the location, then the following market rate assessment should be used:
- Local knowledge sourced from unions or employer associations;
- Salary data published by the ABS or market surveys;
- References to the Government's 'Job Outlook";
- Recent job ads for equivalent positions;
- Any applicable industrial instruments.
The Department will require you to provide evidence the position you are nominating the 457 worker for is a genuine position. Genuine position evidence may be made up of a number of things, including a genuine position statement which addresses key policy questions that Department case officers must ask themselves when assessing the application.
Go to the genuine position page for example questions and answers to include in your written submissions to the Department.