The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (Subclass 187), commonly known as RSMS visa or 187 visa, is an Australian permanent residence visa for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia.
The RSMS visa allows you to work in a regional area of Australia under one of two streams.
1. 187 Visa Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream
You may be eligible for the RSMS visa TRT stream if you hold:
- a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482); OR
- a subclass 457 visa that is not granted under labour agreement; OR
- a related associated bridging visa
AND you have worked for your employer for:
- at least 3 years out of the 4 years, before the 187 visa nomination is made, under the same occupation with your nominating employer; OR
- at least 2 years out of the previous 3 years before the 187 visa nomination is made, if transitional arrangements apply because your either you have held or were an applicant for a 457 visa (and was granted subsequently) on or before 18 April 2017.
A skills assessment is generally not required for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme TRT stream, but it may still be requested where the department considers being necessary.
2. 187 Visa Direct Entry (DE) stream
The 187 visa Direct Entry stream may be for you if you:
- have an Australia employer who wants to nominate you under the Direct Entry stream
- have at least 3 years full-time relevant work experience
- have a positive and valid skills assessment (conducted by the relevant assessing authority) in an occupation specified in a legislative instrument AND you hold overseas qualification.
IMPORTANT: A positive skills assessment will be required for all nominated occupations for all 187 visa applications lodged on or after 1 July 2018.
- have at least competent level of English (unless you are exempt).
Applicants are exempt from obtaining a positive skills assessment for the regional sponsored migration scheme subclass 187 visa if:
- they are in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa, AND
- have worked with their nominating employer in the nominated occupation for the last two years (excluding the period of unpaid leave) in the period of three years before the visa application is made.
Eligibility Criteria for ALL RSMS Visa Streams
- You have been nominated by an Australian employer in a regional area of Australia within six months before you apply for the 187 visa
- Your Australian employer has offered you full-time position that is at least 2 years
- If the occupation requires a license or registration, you must hold them or is eligible to obtain one
- You are under the age of 45 years old at time of the visa 187 application
- At the time of the 187 visa application, you have the required skills and qualifications for the position that you have been nominated for
- At the time of the 187 visa application, you have the appropriate English language skills for TRT stream or Direct Entry stream
- Meet health requirements
- Meet character requirements
- Meet the requirements of the stream in which you are applying for.
IMPORTANT: You may still be able to apply for the 187 visa TRT stream if you are older than 45 y.o but is younger than 50 y.o at time of application if transitional arrangement applies. This means that you must have held, or was an applicant for a subclass 457 which (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.
Eligible Skilled Occupations for RSMS visa
There are two occupation lists for the regional sponsored migration scheme visa:
- A list of eligible skilled occupations for the RSMS visa can be found HERE.
- A list of eligible skilled occupations which require skills assessment can be found HERE.
The RSMS Visa
The RSMS visa lets you and your family who has been granted the Australia visa:
- Live in Australia and work permanently in regional Australia
- Stay in Australia indefinitely
- enrol in Medicare
- travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time you will need to apply for a resident return visa to return to Australia)
- apply for citizenship (when and if eligible)
- sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency (if eligible)
Family members include:
- Your partner
- Your child/step-child or your partner’s child/step-child.
Location for RSMS Visa Applicants
You can be in or outside Australia when you apply for the 187 visa.
If you are in Australia, you must hold the following visa:
- Substantive visa – any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa which allows you to stay in Australia temporarily. This can be, for example, a student visa or a visitor visa.
- Bridging visa A, B or C
English Language Requirements for RSMS Visa
Applicants are required to show that they have the following English language test scores for the RSMS visa TRT and Direct Entry stream.
Click on each English test to learn more about the test!
|English test||Competent Level of English|
|Important Note:||Your test must have been undertaken in the three years immediately prior to lodging the visa application.|
|Exemptions for English language requirements:||
RSMS Visa Processing times
For up to date RSMS visa processing time please see HERE.
RSMS Visa Employers
Your employer can nominate you for the RSMS visa if they meet all of the requirements below.
Your employer must:
- be actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia
- have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
- offer a skilled position in your field that is full time and ongoing for at least 2 years
- have the capacity to at least pay you at Annual Market Salary Rate for 2 years
- they comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations law
- no adverse information is known about the business or any person associated with the business
Want to know more about other work visas?
Find out more about Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
Read more about Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.
How Can We Help
Extensive requirements are involved for an employer to nominate a skilled worker for the different streams available for the RSMS visa. If you have an Australian employer who is looking to nominate you, we can assess eligibility and help you understand the requirements and processes involved.
You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents (formally known as Crux Migration). We will go through more specific requirements with you, tailoring your application according to your circumstances to ensure a smooth 187 visa application.
RSMS Visa FAQ
You will have access to the TRT transitional arrangements if:
- You held a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 and continues to hold this visa or a TSS visa/related bridging visa at the time of TRT application, OR
- You had applied for a subclass 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 and was subsequently granted and continues to hold this visa or a TSS visa/related bridging visa at the time of TRT application.
If the answers to question 1 above apply to you, you will be able to access the following grandfathering provisions under the TRT stream:
- If you continue to work with the same employer in the same position and occupation as approved for your subclass 457 visa or your new TSS visa, your eligibility for the 186 visa application or 187 visa application TRT stream will not be affected.
- The 2 years’ work requirement will remain the same i.e. you must have worked at least 2 years out of the previous 3 years in the same occupation and with your nominating employer, before the 187 visa application or 186 visa application is made.
- The occupation list requirements will not This means even if your occupation had been removed from the skilled occupations list, you can still apply for TRT stream.
Please note that additional requirements may apply for 186 visa application or 187 visa application for Temporary Residence Transitional stream, and this includes English language requirements and salary arrangements.
Yes, you may be eligible as long as you have been approved a new nomination for the changed occupation (see 5 & 6) and have worked for 2 years.
If you held a subclass 457 visa, or had applied for a subclass 457 visa (and was subsequently granted) on or before 18 April 2017, you can still apply for the temporary residence transition stream if you are over 45 years old but less than 50 years old.
Exemptions may apply for medical practitioners, university lecturers, and people earning over the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently AUD142,000).
If you are applying for the 186 visa or 187 visa TRT stream you will generally not required to obtain a skills assessment for your occupation. However, the department may still request for this if they consider this to be necessary.
The ANZSCO 4-digit number is extremely important when it comes to determining your eligibility for Temporary Residence Transitional stream.
Your occupation’s 4-digit ANZSCO code that you were originally nominated on MUST be the same as the 4-digit code for the occupation that you will be nominated on for TRT stream.