Update on RSMS Applications in Western Australia

Last month, I suggested in a post that there was a possibility that the window for lodging a Subclass 187 RSMS visa may be closing shortly for nominations by Perth employers. I had written this in response to reports that Mark McGowan, if elected Premier, would try to remove Perth as a “regional area” for RSMS purposes on his first day of the job.

Interestingly, despite my view on this, many took the contrary view that it would be fairly difficult to “close the window” as it would require, at the very least, the co-operation of the Federal minister to sign a new legislative instrument.

Things have since moved quickly.

On Monday 13 March 2017, after the weekend’s State elections (overwhelmingly won by the Australian Labor Party), the Department of Training and Workforce Development (“DTWD“) acting as the specified Regional Certifying Body (“RCB“) shut down processing of applications by announcing the following on its website:

New applications to certify positions for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme are temporarily suspended. New information will be posted on the migration portal as it becomes available.

Given that DTWD was the RCB for most truly regional areas in WA as well, it would appear that the only parts of WA in respect of which employers are (for now) able to access the RSMS visa is Esperance and the Goldfields.

Not only that, but it also became apparent that the DTWD also ceased processing RCB applications lodged before 13 March 2017 which had not yet been finalised.

The DTWD also announced that it was reviewing its occupation list for State nomination under the Subclass 190 visa and that it would not be inviting intending migrants to apply for WA State nomination whilst the review was in progress.

All of this, and it wasn’t even yet the Premier’s first day of the job!

I expect that the “temporary suspension” will crystallise into a permanent one, in light of the incoming Premier’s earlier comments. The suspension may simply be a mechanism to prevent the DTWD receiving a large number of “placeholder” applications, which would have eventuated had the DTWD announced a prospective date to cease processing applications. It may also be that in due course, RCB processing may open up again for areas outside of Perth but which are within the DTWD’s purview, given that traditionally, areas outside the capital cities were always able to access the RSMS visa.

There has also been talk of changes being made to the Skilled Occupation List for points-tested migration.

It is clear that, at least in Perth, if not more broadly in Australia, the skilled migration landscape is changing. If you are eligible to apply for a visa now, don’t delay. Lodge your application whilst you still can!

If you require any assistance with skilled or employer-sponsored visas, please get in touch with us.