What is a RSMS visa?
A Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (onshore- subclass 857, offshore-subclass 119) is a permanent visa which allows employers in regional Australia to sponsor skilled workers either from overseas or currently in Australia as temporary residents to fill skilled vacancies in their business.
Three stages for a RSMS application
Different from GSM applications, a RSMS application consists of three stages, namely Certification from RCB, Employer nomination and Employee lodging an application.
Stage 1: Certification from RCB
A nomination made under the RSMS cannot be approved by the department unless it has been certified by a Regional Certified Body (RCB) at the time of lodgement.
Employer will need to submit a Form 1054 Employer nomination under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme to a relevant RCB. (Further information about RCB can be found through the link: www.immi.gov.au/skills/regional-certifying-bodies.htm
Please note that different states have different requirements and processing time for RCB Certification. However, basic assessment criteria include:
- The Employer's Business as well as the nominated position, must be located in regional areas. A list of postcodes which specify which parts of Australia are regional for the purposes of RSMS can be found on DIAC website http://www.immi.gov.au/employers/rsms_postcodes.htm
- There is a genuine vacancy of a full time paid position available for at least 2 consecutive years.
- The position requires a person with at least an Australian Equivalent diploma or higher qualification (unless exceptional circumstances apply. Following are two scenario where exceptional appointments may apply .)
- Scenario 1: If the visa applicant's occupation under ANZSCO occupation group 3 - Technician and Trades workers and the applicant is holding a AQF Certificate III or higher qualification, he or she may apply for exceptional appointments without submission of further evidence or explanation.
- Scenario 2: If the visa applicant does not have an Australian Equivalent diploma or higher qualification and his or her occupation is not in ANZSCO occupation group 3, however the applicant is holding a 457 visa - Temporary Business (Long stay) and have been working in the nominated position for at least 2 years prior to lodgement, then he or she may apply for exceptional appointments without submission of further evidence or explanation.
Stage 2: Employer Nomination
After receiving the approval from RCB, Employer must lodge the nomination application form, which has been certified and signed by the relevant RCB to the Centres of Excellence of the department.
Stage 3: Employee/ Visa applicant lodge an application
To lodge an application, Employee/Visa applicant must submit a completed Form 47ES with all necessary documentation. The application can be lodged together with a nomination or after a nomination has been approved, however, it must be lodged within 6 months of the approval of a nomination.
Requirements for visa applicant include but are not limited to the following:
- Hold a qualifying visa (http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/qualifying-visas.htm)
- Have relevant Australian or Australian equivalent diploma of higher qualification unless exceptional circumstances apply.
- Have been offered a full time position for at least 2 years (Evidence of a contract or letter of appointment required)
- Under 45 years old- exceptional appointments may apply
- Have functional English language ability- exceptional appointments may apply
- Meet health and character requirements (This requirement also applies to all dependent family members)
- Student visa holders must also demonstrate that they have completed the award course at diploma or above level for which the current student visa was granted.
Pros and Cons
The advantages of RSMS are obvious. Visa applicants are only required to have functional level English competency (unless a higher English level is required for the registration, licence or professional membership for the nominated occupation) and do not have to obtain a skills assessment.
Unlike ENS applications, there is no certain salary threshold or strict work experience requirements attached for RSMS applications although they do need to in accordance with current local labour market salary rates. Some occupations that do not meet the skill level requirement of ENS may be nominated under RSMS. Our office has seen clients who lodged RSMS Decision Ready applications being granted permanent residency within 10 days.
Here are some examples which may give you a better understanding of the possibilities brought by RSMS.
1.) Sam came to Australia to study a two years diploma course in Hospitality and Commercial Cookery in a vocational college in 2009, hoping that once the course finishes he can apply for a GSM permanent visa. However the Job Ready Program which is said to be the most costly and time consuming skill assessment process first introduced in January 2010 made his PR dream gloomy.
Luckily after graduation he got a job offer from a restaurant in Northern Territory as a cook. The contract is for a two years full time position. In this case, he may be eligible to apply for a RSMS visa as long as the employer is willing to sponsor him.
2.) Steve finished his bachelor degree in his home country and came to Australia to study MBA in Macquarie University. Just after starting his master program, he found a part time job in Oporto at Macquarie shopping centre. At time of graduation he had been working there for over a year and when he found a job advertisement looking for a store manager for an Oporto branch in South Australia, he seized the opportunity and got the job. In this case, he may be eligible to lodge a RSMS application under the occupation of retail manager.
3.) Jess finished her master program in Translation and Interpreting in early 2011 and was successfully accredited by NAATI as a professional translator. However due to the change of Skilled Occupation List in July 2010, she was not able to apply for a Skilled Independent visa- Subclass 885 as Translator was no longer on the current SOL. Facing this obstacle she did not give up. She applied for 485 temporary residency visa according to the Transitional Arrangement and kept looking for employment opportunities. Finally she found a full time job as a translator in a mining company in Western Australia which enabled her to apply for a RSMS visa.
4.) Maria completed Diploma of Community Welfare Work in TAFE Sydney in 2011, hoping to find a job as a welfare worker. However, against her wish she could not find any vacancy after a certain period of job hunting. She then turned to other job options and got a 2-year offer for a full time position as a Disability Services Officer in a community centre in Western Australia. With this contract she may be able to apply for a RSMS visa.
However, as you may have noticed, the hardest part here is to find a sponsor from regional Australia. Even a RSMS visa is granted, to live and work for at least 2 years in regional areas as the visa condition regulates is a great commitment to make.