The purpose of the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) is to promote the economic development of regional Australia by encouraging skilled migrants to settle in these areas. The scheme is designed to assist employers in regional Australia who are unable to meet their skilled workforce needs from the local labour market.

The minimum requirements of the Direct Entry stream of this visa are set out below:


For applicants who are applying directly from overseas, or for another reason do not meet the requirements of the Temporary Residence Transition stream e.g. students in Australia


The business seeking to employ you must:

·       be actively and lawfully operating in a regional area of Australia

·       genuinely need a paid employee to fill the nominated position

Nominated Position

The position to be filled must be:

·       full-time and available for at least 2 years from the time your visa is granted

·       unable to be filled from the local labour market (i.e. there is a shortage of people with the required skills in the local region)

·       classified as skill level 1–3 in the Australia & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), and be included in the list of eligible occupations for this stream

·       be subject to terms and conditions of employment (which includes the wage/salary) that are no worse than those provided to Australians working in the same position for the same business (or in the same regional area, if there are no equivalent positions with the business)



Visa Applicant

As the visa applicant, you must (unless a specific exemption applies in any case):

·        have competent English i.e.

o   hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland (and you are a citizen of that country) OR

o   an IELTS test score of at least 6 in EACH test component OR

o   an OET test score of at least B in EACH test component OR

o   a TOEFL iBT test score of at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking OR

o   a PTE test score of at least 50 in EACH test component OR

o   a CAE test score of at least 169 in EACH test component

NOTE: In each case, the test must have been undertaken within the last three years (with the exception of the CAE test, which must be dated on or after 1 January 2015)

·        have the qualifications required by ANZSCO for your nominated occupation

NOTE: This does not apply to applicants who are nominated for certain trade occupations, and have no Australian qualifications. Such applicants must instead obtain a formal skills assessment.

·        be under 45 years of age

·        meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements


Stage 1: Nomination Application

This application is lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) on behalf of your employer, and relates to the skilled position that you have been offered, which must meet the requirements referred to above. Your employer is required to supply documents to the DIBP in support of this application, the nature and extent of which will vary depending upon the particular circumstances of the business.

Note: The skilled position must also be assessed by the local Regional Certifying Body (RCB), the advice of which the DIBP takes into account when making its decision. RCB assessment applications are lodged with the relevant RCB on the employer’s behalf, in most cases before the nomination application is lodged with the DIBP.

Stage 2: Visa Application

Your visa application is lodged with the DIBP either at the same time as the nomination application, or within six months of the DIBP’s approval of the nomination.  The main criterion is that you fulfil the above requirements, along with the standard health and character checks.

Once the DIBP has approved both applications, you will be granted a permanent visa. You may be in Australia or outside Australia when your visa is granted. You must then work in the nominated position with your employer for a term of at least 2 years from the visa grant date.

PLEASE NOTE: We estimate that it may take several weeks to prepare and lodge your application, with the time taken largely dependent on how promptly you (and your sponsor, if applicable) provide us with the necessary supporting information and documents.

The time that it takes the DIBP to process your application is dependent upon its processing time service standards, and may also vary due to a number of other factors, including the complexity of your case, perceived risk factors and processing priorities.

Please book consultation with our registered migration agent for current information regarding likely processing timeframes for this type of application, eligibility assessment and lodging visa application on your behalf.