Could Perth’s RSMS Window Be Closing?

Last month, the current State opposition leader, Mark McGowan, announced that if elected, he would remove Perth from its regional classification for the purposes of the Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (“RSMS”) visa.

In fact, The West Australian reported that Mr McGowan would “tear up the list on his first day if elected premier”.

Perth has been classified as a “regional” area for RSMS purposes for some years now. It has actually made a huge difference, both for Perth employers and potential visa applicants, in respect of permanent visa pathways.

Under RSMS, there are significant concessions both to employers and visa applicants, which make it a much more attractive visa than the standard Employer Nomination Scheme (“ENS”) visa (permanent residency for employment in non-regional areas) or even the Subclass 457 visa (which is a temporary work visa).

Some advantages are as follows:

  • Employers and visa applicants have access to a larger list of occupations than under the ENS and Subclass 457 visas. Essentially, occupations requiring a degree, diploma or Certificate III (with on-the-job training) may be nominated under RSMS.
  • Employers are not required to satisfy a training benchmark, i.e. they are not required to expend funds to train their Australian workforce or contribute to an industry training fund.
  • Unlike the 457 regime, employers are not “sponsors” of visa applicants. They are merely “nominators”. This means that the employer will not become subject to often onerous sponsorship obligations imposed by the Migration Act 1958 and potential compliance measures.
  • From an employer’s perspective, they enjoy some form of security in that, if the visa holder fails to remain employed in the business for two years following visa grant, the employee will risk visa cancellation. The RSMS visa is one of the few visas with a specific cancellation power attached to it.
  • Visa applicants generally only need to demonstrate that they have the qualifications for the position, without having to demonstrate (as they would be required to do under the ENS visa) post-qualification work experience.

The election campaign has already started.

If Labor is elected, it could spell the end of the RSMS visa for Perth employers

If you need assistance in relation to an RSMS visa application, please get in touch with us.