The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) is a permanent residence visa that enables Australian employers to sponsor skilled migrant workers to take up employment in positions where there are skills shortages. Usually, the employer has to prove their inability to fill the positions locally. The workers can be from abroad or residents living and working in Australia.
The RSMS visa allows an applicant to work in Australia under one of three streams:
- The Temporary Residence Transition stream – for holders of aTemporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
- The Direct Entry stream – for those nominated for a position under this stream whose nomination has been approved
- The Agreement stream – for those being sponsored by an employer via a tailored and negotiated labour agreement.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) gives the following criteria for an employee applying for an RSMS Direct Entry visa:
- They should be nominated by an approved Australian employer with a business based in regional Australia.
- The applicant should have qualifications and skills that are relevant to the nominated occupation at the time of application.
- If the employee’s qualifications are acquired outside of Australia, they’re required to undergo a positive skills assessment. Additionally, the skills assessment must be provided by the relevant assessing authority.
- Appropriate English language skills in each band.
- Employees should be under the age of 50 (for the temporary residence stream) or 45 for the direct entry stream.
- Should meet health and character requirements.
The RSMS offers several benefits to skilled migrants who wish to settle and work in regional Victoria, allowing them to have dependent family members included in their visa application and live as permanent residents in Australia.
The benefits conferred include:
- Living and working in Australia on a permanent basis
- Studying at school or university in Australia
- Accessing subsidised healthcare through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- Receiving certain social security payments (subject to waiting periods)
- Potential to acquire Australian citizenship (subject to the residency eligibility criteria)
- Ability to sponsor relatives for permanent residence.
For employers who are looking to fill skills needs in their businesses which can’t be met locally, the RSMS visa has many benefits. For one there is only one obligation – to offer a full-time job for a minimum of two years to the applicant. Compared to other visa mechanisms which place more obligations on the employer, the RSMS is beneficial.
As an employer, you can nominate a skilled worker for an RSMS visa if:
- You actively and lawfully run a business in regional Australia (not including Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Wollongong, or the Gold Coast,)
- You genuinely require the services of a paid employee to fill a skilled position
- The position on offer is a skilled position matching the applicant’s field of expertise and is full time and ongoing for at least two years
- You offer a market rate salary
- You observe Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
- Your business or any person associated with it is not adversely mentioned