Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)


The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 allows Australian employers in regional and low population growth areas of Australia to sponsor skilled overseas workers for permanent residence where the employers have been unable to fill vacant positions with Australian citizens or permanent residents living in the same local area as the nominated positions.

Where an employer decides to nominate a skilled overseas worker for an RSMS visa under the Direct Entry stream, the nomination must be accompanied with an assessment completed by a Regional Certifying Body (RCB).

Direct Entry Stream is for applicants who are untested in the Australian labour market and is for persons who are either on a visa other than a subclass 457 visa; or who are on a subclass 457 visa but have not worked for their nominating employer for the last two years; or who are applying from outside of Australia.

For further information refer to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) website.

Any Australian employer who is actively and lawfully operating a business in a regional or low population growth area of Australia can sponsor skilled overseas workers through the RSMS as long as it meets a certain criterion.

The RSMS – Direct Entry Stream nominations assessment process follows six stages:

  1. Employer seeks assessment of the nomination by a RCB (geographical locations) by submitting Form 1404 –“Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme: RCB advice” supporting documents and payments to RCB. Please note, payment is not refundable if the nomination is redrawn after 24 hours from submission and not processed and not refundable in the event of negative advice
  2. RCB assesses the nomination and provides advice to Home Affairs as whether certain specific requirements for the nomination have been met
  3. RCB provides employer with the certified Form 1404
  4. Employer lodges the nomination application & supporting documentation with Home Affairs online (The nominator has the option of lodging a request for assessment before or after lodging the nomination application with Home Affairs)
  5. Home Affairs advises the employer if the nomination is approved
  6. Nominee lodges their visa application with Home Affairs. If the nomination has already been approved by the time the visa application is made, the application must be made, at the latest, within 6 months of the nomination being approved

Stage 1 – Assessment of the nomination by a Regional Certifying Body (RCB)

Under the RSMS Direct Entry Stream, the employer must seek assessment of the nomination by RCB against the following criterion:

  1. There is a genuine need for the nominator to employ a paid employee to work in the position under the nominator’s direct control;

  2. The identified person would be paid at least the annual market salary rate (AMSR) for the occupation

  3. The nominated position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is living in or would move to the local area where the nominated position exists;

RCB's assess the position nominated by the employer, rather than the person who the employer wishes to recruit (the nominee).

Corresponding Supporting Documents required to meet each criterion:

1. There is a genuine need for the nominator to employ a person to work in the nominated position within the business activity and is under the direct control of the nominator.

  • 1404 form with questions 1-10 completed
  • If using a migration agent or other assistance a copy of the completed form 956
  • A signed letter from the employer including 
    - Details of the business’s goods and services, 
    - Explaining why the position is needed e.g. how the vacant position came about
    - Advising if the vacancy is in the regular ongoing business activity of the employer, due to diversification of the business or a start-up business. Please see additional evidence required below
    - Confirming all information is true and correct. 
    - If the position is held by a temporary resident
  • A copy or draft copy of the online nomination application lodged with Home Affairs 
  • Certificates of business registration
    - ABN registration
    - ACN registration
    - Registration of Business Name
    - Employers Workers Compensation policy
  • Letter from the company auditor/accountant advising that the nominator can meet their financial obligations for an employee’s wages and entitlements for 2 years
  • Detailed position description of nominated position that is in line with the ANZSCO
  • Detailed organisational chart highlighting the nominated position
  • Employment Contract, 
    - Must be full time for at least 2 years (the contract must not exclude provision of employment beyond the 2 years), 
    - Proof the Fair Work Information Statement has been provided

2. The position is paying at least the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR). Where the overseas worker will be paid less than $250,000 AUD, employers will need to demonstrate the following:

  • They have determined the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR) using the specified method
  • The overseas worker will not be paid less than this amount (i.e. less than what an Australian worker would be paid)

If there is an equivalent Australian worker, the AMSR is what you are paying this worker:

  • If their salary is based on an enterprise agreement or industrial award, you must provide the name of the agreement or award as recorded by the Fair Work Commission, where applicable to demonstrate the AMSR. Note: the salary level/occupation group that applies to the nomination must be specified.
  • If there is no relevant agreement or award, or you are paying your Australian employees above the award rate, you must provide: copies of relevant employment contracts and pay slips for this employee.

Important:

  • If the nominated overseas worker will be paid less than the equivalent Australian worker, the nomination will be refused.
  • If a sponsor employs an Australian worker who is more or less experienced than the nominated overseas worker, and that Australian worker is doing similar work at a different pay grade then they are not considered an equivalent Australian worker.
  • Sponsors who only provide generic market salary data/salary surveys will not meet the requirements instead of the evidence specified in the relevant legislative instrument (see  TSS legislative instruments) will have their nomination refused.

If there is no equivalent worker and the salary is based on an enterprise agreement or industrial award, you must provide the name of the agreement or award as recorded by the Fair Work Commission, where applicable to demonstrate the AMSR. Note: the salary level/occupation group that applies to the nomination must be specified.

If there is no equivalent worker but there is no relevant agreement or award, the onus is on you as the employer to demonstrate what the ASMR is. You need to explain how you have used relevant information to determine what the worker would be paid. Relevant information is defined in the relevant legislative instrument (see  TSS legislative instruments) and includes at least two of the following:

  • Job Outlook information
  • Advertisements from the last six months for equivalent positions in the same location (e.g. state, urban vs regional area);
  • Remuneration surveys completed by a reputable organisation; or
  • Written advice from unions or employer associations.

Important:

  • If you provide vague, unlabeled salary surveys and do not explain how you have determined the AMSR, your nomination application may be refused 
  • If the market salary rate determined is a 'range', the sponsor must explain and provide specific details regarding why the particular AMSR has been selected.

3. The position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident who is living in the same local area or who would move to the area where the position is located.

  • Details of the nominator’s efforts to recruit the position as described in the position description– when, where, how long (21 consecutive days), tax receipts, interviews resulting from, applicants resumes*(on request)

*Please note as per Australian Privacy Laws sensitive information should be redacted from information provided

Note: that advertising should have a wider coverage than just locally, to attract potential candidates who would be willing to move to the local area and have the following

  • In English language 
  • Have a wide circulation 
  • Use of different media/platforms 
  • At least two published advertisements 

Examples of credible advertising could include:

  • A prominent or professional recruitment website that has ‘national reach’ and that publishes advertisements for positions throughout Australia (e.g. jobactive.gov.au). A general classifieds website, such as Gumtree, or an advertisement solely through a social media notification, such as Twitter or Instagram, are not acceptable methods
  • Print media with ‘national reach’, including national newspapers or magazines that are published at least monthly and marketed throughout Australia
  • Radio programmes broadcast or syndicated nationally
  • Recent local or regional employment data or reports
  • State/territory skills lists
  • Letters of support from Industry Associations

Scenario A: If the position is in the regular ongoing business activity of the employer:

All points above

Scenario B: If the position is to be involved in the diversification of the activities of the business

All points above plus:

  • Market research supporting the need for business expansion
  • Business Plan detailing proposed expansion, timelines, financial budgets and forecast revenue
  • Financial budgets covering expenditure and anticipated revenue
  • Evidence of available funding
  • Evidence of premises (e.g. lease)
  • Evidence of purchase of equipment

Scenario C: If the position is a vacancy within a start-up business Home Affairs defines a start-up business as one that has been in active operation for less than 12 months.

All points above plus

  • Market research supporting the need for business expansion
  • Comprehensive Business Plan detailing proposed expansion, timelines and relevant information
  • Financial budgets covering expenditure and anticipated revenue
  • BAS
  • Evidence of available funding
  • Evidence of premises e.g. lease, Rates/Electricity notices
  • Evidence of purchase of equipment 
  • Photographs of premises
  • Marketing evidence
  • Website links
  • Relevant pages of Trust Deed

Please note as each case is assessed individually, the evidence required will depend on the circumstances of the case. To discuss your individual case, contact the relevant RCB Officer in the region where the nominated position is located.

For access to CCIQ RCB's Supporting Documentation Checklist, click here.

For the contact details of CCIQ RCB, click here.

Related links


Further information for employers wishing to access the Regional Migration Program can be obtained from: