Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme

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Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme: RSMS

The RSMS visa requires a job offer in a regional area. The position needs to be approved by a Regional Certifying Body, but otherwise the skill level criteria are lower than for an ENS visa. The resulting RSMS visa is a permanent visa, but is subject to cancellation if the employee leaves employment within two years of obtaining the visa.

There are in general three stages to an RSMS application:

  • RCB Certification: The Regional Certifying Body will ensure that the position is genuine and in many cases require that the position has been advertised
  • Nomination Review of the business and position by the Department of Immigration
  • Visa application: There are three pathways, and generally the skill level is lower than for the ENS program. Applicants must be aged under 50, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

RSMS Regional Areas

In order to be granted an RSMS visa, the employee must be offered a position in a ‘regional area’. The regional areas are specified by postcode by the Department of Immigration.

The following are considered Regional areas for the purposes of RSMS sponsorship:

The whole of Western Australia The whole of South Australia The whole of Tasmania The whole of ACT The whole of Northern Territory New South Wales (NSW) – all areas excluding: Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong Victoria – all areas excluding Melbourne Queensland- all areas excluding Brisbane.

Application Pathways

There are three possible application pathways for an RSMS visa:

  • Temporary Residence Transition: Where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. In this case, no RCB certification is required and an English level equivalent to IELTS 5 is required.
  • Direct Entry Stream: The position will need to be certified by an RCB, and the employee will need English level equivalent to IELTS 6. Applicants in trade occupations may require a formal skills assessment.
  • Agreement Stream: Where the employer has a Labour Agreement
    • The requirements for RSMS are more straightforward than ENS in a number of important ways:

      • The employer does not need to meet the training requirement for the Direct Entry Stream
      • The visa applicant requires a lower level of skill for the Direct Entry Stream – most applicants do not require a skills assessment, and there is no minimum work experience requirement
      • It is possible to apply for RSMS in a wider range of occupations than ENS RSMS is the highest priority visa in the skilled migration stream

      The main difficulties employers face when obtaining RSMS visas are as follows:

      • Identifying the correct eligibility stream
      • Obtaining an RCB approval – each RCB has different criteria and an approval may need to be individually negotiated with the RCB
      • Showing exceptional circumstances where visa applicants would not meet the usual requirements for Age, English language ability and skill level
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