Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)
The regional-sponsored migration scheme allows foreign nationals who meet the requirements to live and work in Australia on a permanent visa.
If you are pursuing permanent residence in Australia, contact Total Law for assistance from our team of qualified immigration experts. Call +1 844 290 6312 or use the online contact form to receive advice on this visa category or others that may be right for you.
What is the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)?
The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) allows foreign nationals who meet the requirements to live and work in Australia without becoming Australian citizens.
The subclass 187 visa is a possible route to Australian permanent residence or citizenship. The primary visa holder can sponsor eligible relatives or family members for permanent residency and is free to travel to and from Australia for the duration of their visa, generally five years.
Visa holders can also work and study in Australia without limitation, travel to and from Australia, become Australian permanent residents, and apply for Australian citizenship following an eligibility period.
The regional area must be accepted for the purposes of regional-sponsored migration scheme sponsorship. Eligible areas include:
- South Australia
- The Northern Territory
- Victoria – all areas except Melbourne
- Queensland – all areas except Brisbane and the Gold Coast
- Western Australia – all areas except Perth
- New South Wales – all areas except Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong
Because there is a shortage of skilled labour in regional areas of Australia, visa applicants may find the subclass 187 visa and associated employer sponsorship to be less complicated than the subclass 186 visa.
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Subclass Streams
There are two streams of the subclass 187 visa category for the regional-sponsored migration scheme.
- Temporary Residence Transition Stream: This is for those with subclass 482 and subclass 457 visas whose sponsoring employer wants to promote them to a permanent position. Current subclass 457 or subclass 482 visa holders who are sponsored by regional Australian firms may be eligible to apply for the subclass 187 visa. Applicants in this stream must have previously worked in the same field as the sponsoring company and fulfill one of the following requirements
- The applicant is eligible for a grandfathering arrangement with two years of holding a subclass 457 visa, provided that the visa holder continues to retain that visa or a subsequent subclass 457, subclass 482, or comparable bridging visa and obtained or had filed for a subclass 457 visa by April 18, 2017.
- The applicant has three years holding a subclass 482 or subclass 457 visa obtained after April 18, 2017, and is employed in a profession listed on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and/or the Regional Occupation List (ROL) provided by the Australian office of home affairs.
2. Direct Entry Stream: Visa applicants who a company or employer has sponsored through a labour agreement can apply under the direct entry agreement stream when it is open for new applications.
There are a number of eligibility requirements you must meet to qualify for the regional-sponsored migration scheme. If you do not meet the following eligibility requirements, consult a qualified immigration lawyer at Total Law who can advise you on alternative visas and immigration schemes.
Requirements for Visa Applicants:
- The applicant must be a minimum of 18 years of age and a maximum of 45 years of age at the time of application.
- Applicants from a native English-speaking country such as the United States are not required to take an English language competence test.
- The applicant must meet health and character requirements.
- The applicant must possess one of the following: a subclass 457 visa that they have held as their primary visa on or after April 18, 2017, a subclass 482 visa in the medium-term stream that they must have held as their primary visa on or after March 20, 2019, or a related bridging visa A, B, or C.
- The position or proposed job is equivalent to the one held while on subclass 457 or TSS (482) visa. The applicant must have a 457, TSS (482), or related bridging visa A, B, or C.
- If an applicant has a 457 visa or had one in the past, they may be eligible to transfer to permanent residence after an eligibility period of two years, even if they are now on a TSS visa.
- If the applicant has never had a 457 visa and their first visa was a TSS (482) visa, they must have worked with the same approved Australian employer on the visa for a minimum of three years before applying for another visa. The employer must provide the visa holder with a long-term position in the same field as the 457 or 482 visas.
If you are older than the maximum age requirement of 45 years of age, you may still be eligible for a regional-sponsored migration scheme if you meet the following requirements:
- You are under the age of 50 and are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, hold a Subclass 457 visa, or have applied for a Subclass 457 visa that was approved by April 18, 2017.
- You are chosen as a senior academic by an Australian university.
- You have been recognized by an Australian government scientific agency as a scientist, researcher, or technical specialist in the field of science.
- You are a medical professional with a Subclass 457 or Subclass 482 visa and have worked for your an approved Australian employer for a minimum of four years before applying.
- You are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have worked for your nominating employer as a subclass 457 visa holder for a minimum of four years immediately prior to application. During those four years, you must have been paid the Fair Work High-Income Threshold or more.
Requirements for Sponsoring Employers:
- Sponsoring regional employers must demonstrate that they have a regionally active business and have the financial ability to continue paying the visa applicant’s wage at the market salary rate.
- The nominated position while on subclass 457 or 482 visas must be comparable to the job or post.
- The employer should display a genuine need to hire overseas workers. Before being presented to a holder of subclass 457 or 482 visas, the job should have been publicized on Workforce Australia to equivalent Australian workers.
- Once the visa has been approved, the visa holder must have access to the position for a minimum of two years.
- The nominated position’s terms and conditions must meet the annual market salary rate for equivalent Australian workers, and they must also satisfy the $53,900 Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) requirements or provide an explanation of exceptional circumstances if the salary is less than the threshold.
- If the sponsoring employer’s annual revenue is under $10 million, a sum of $3,000 or $5,000, depending on the size of the business to satisfy the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) to support skilled workers.
- The employer must provide supporting documents that the position is valid and that there is a demand for it.
How to Apply
Applying for the regional migration scheme is a process that consists of several steps for both the sponsoring employer and the visa applicant.
Step 1: Certification Application
The sponsoring employer must apply to the correct regional certifying body (RCB) to confirm that the position is legitimate, that it is necessary to hire overseas workers for the position in question, and that it is not possible to find qualified Australian employees.
The regional certifying body will advise the immigration department on whether the requirements have been met.
The exact requirements for the sponsoring employer may change depending on the RCB. Note that the certification phase may be done before the nomination is made, although it is not recommended.
Step 2: Nomination Application
The sponsoring employer must then submit a nomination application. Finding a position that needs to be filled by a skilled person is what this process entails.
The nomination application must demonstrate:
- The position in question is located in regional Australia and cannot be filled by an Australian citizen in the local labour market.
- The applicant will be given comparable employment terms to an Australian citizen and circumstances, receives the market rate salary, and meets the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold.
- There is a genuine need to hire overseas workers.
- The sponsoring employer has passed the Labour Market Test, except if an International Treaty Obligation is applicable.
- The employer has paid the SAF levy for the Skilling Australia Fund.
- The visa holder will be directly employed by the sponsor unless otherwise exempted
- The nominated position must be listed under the Australian Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Regional Occupation List (ROL).
Step 3: Visa Application
The primary applicant must provide sufficient evidence that they meet the requirements for the visa and complete the visa application.
The application may ask questions about personal details and intent for your travel to Australia.
Application question content may concern personal details such as finances, health, character, employment, and business activities.
The visa applicant will need to include a number of supporting documents as part of their application for the regional migration scheme. All documents should be submitted in English. Documents may include:
- Your current valid US passport
- Financial statements such as tax returns or bank statements
- Proof of significant ties to your home country
- Certificates of achievement in your field of work such as industrial awards
- Proof of employment
- Letters of reference
Visa applications are typically processed in 13 to 57 months.
Your Total Law advisor can keep you up to date on any additional delays or changes in processing times. Ensure your application is complete and correct prior to submission to avoid delays or rejection.
Costs and Fees
The exact costs of the regional sponsored migration scheme application can vary depending on your circumstances but generally starts from AUD 4,240.
You may incur additional charges for obtaining support documents, passports, or expedited services.
How Can Total Law Help?
At Total Law, our team of qualified immigration experts can assist you in determining your eligibility for the regional migrant scheme subclass 187.
Your Total Law advisor will assist you in putting together the best application package possible according to your individual circumstances.
For additional information, contact us at +1 844 290 6312 or use our online contact form to get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers today.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Your sponsoring employer can contact the regional certifying body to determine the exact stipulations they must meet in order to sponsor your employment contract.
It is possible to apply to bring dependents and they should apply at the same time as you. You will need to provide documentation to support their application.
Generally, you must have worked in the same occupation for the same employer for a period of three years on a full-time basis prior to applying.