Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visas

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme or RSMS visa is a permanent employer sponsored visa which requires a job offer in a Regional Area of Australia.

RSMS Application Stages

There are in general three stages to an RSMS application:

  • RCB Certification: the Regional Certifying Body will ensure that the position is genuine and in many cases require that the position has been advertised
  • Nomination: review of the business and position by the Department of Immigration
  • Visa application: there are three pathways, and generally the skill level is lower than for the ENS program. Applicants must be aged under 50, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

RSMS Regional Areas

In order to be granted an RSMS visa, the employee must be offered a position in a “regional area”. The regional areas are specified by postcode by the Department of Immigration.

The following are considered Regional areas for the purposes of RSMS sponsorship:

  • The whole of Western Australia
  • The whole of South Australia
  • The whole of Tasmania
  • The whole of ACT
  • The whole of Northern Territory
  • New South Wales (NSW) – all areas excluding: Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong
  • Victoria – all areas excluding Melbourne
  • Queensland- all areas excluding Brisbane


There are two distinct pathways that enable applicants to obtain this visa:

  • The Temporary Residence Transition Stream enables existing 457 visa holders who have worked for their sponsoring employer for 2 years to apply based on a further Nomination by their existing employer.
  • The Direct Entry Stream enables Visa applicants who demonstrate the required qualifications and/or experience to apply for this visa if Nominated by their employer.

Limited exemptions apply to Age, Skill and English Language ability.

Regional Certification Application

Prior to the lodgement of the Nomination application a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) Application must be lodged  to approve the position on offer to the visa applicant. The RCB has a responsibility for assessing that the employer is offering the Market Rate of salary, that an Australian employee cannot be sourced from the local labour market and that there is a genuine need for the business to employ the visa applicant.

RCB’s are appointed by the Department of Immigration for each different regional area. Each RCB has different criteria for approval. There is a fee determined by the RCB for making an application.


Labour Market Testing

The Nominating business must demonstrate that it cannot find a suitably qualified Australian candidate for the position from the local area.