Visa 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme- RSMS) is a type of work visa for skilled nominated workers. To get this visa, you must have lived in Australia previously under another work visa, and you must be nominated by the same sponsor and the nominated position must be in regional Australia.

A visa 187 allows you to work, study, and live in Australia for as long as you want, and you may apply for citizenship- if eligible.

187 Visa Checklist

You need to provide these documents for a 187 visa application:

  • Passport. You must provide a copy of your passport’s information page- your passport must be valid at the time of application.
  • National ID. In case you have an ID, then provide a copy of your national card.
  • Evidence of skill assessment. You may be required to submit evidence that you have the necessary skills to undertake the work position.
  • Documents of your name change.
  • Form 956
  • Form 965a
  • Documents proving your good character.
  • Proof of licensing, registration, or membership (if applicable).
  • Documents proving your competent level of the English language.
  • If you are bringing your partner with you, submit:
    • Identity documents
    • Character documents
    • Partner documents
    • Evidence of English language proficiency.
  • If you are bringing family members under 18:
    • Identity documents
    • Birth certificate
    • Parent consent form 1229
    • Statutory declaration
    • Adoption papers (if applicable)
  • If you are bringing family members over 18 years old or older:
    • Identity documents
    • Documents about their additional relationships (if applicable)
    • Character documents
    • Evidence of dependence
    • Evidence of Functional English

187 Visa Checklist for Your Sponsor

Your sponsor needs to submit a number of documents for your nomination:

  • Your employment contract. Your contract needs to detail your base salary or the annual market rate. Your employer needs to pay you the annual market salary rate if you are getting paid less than AUD250,000
  • Evidence that the business is legal. Your employer must submit proof of legal business activities, for example, a certificate for tax purposes, certificate of registration of the business name, and so on.
  • Financial statements (if required).
  • A written statement. Your employer must provide a statement saying you satisfied the work conditions while you held a visa 457 or 482. The statement must display the work period, any paid and unpaid leave taken, any trips overseas for business, etc.
  • Documents proving the sponsor change. If there was an employer change during the time you held a visa 457 or a visa 482, your employer must show that you worked for the same sponsor in the same role for at least 3 years or two years. Your sponsor must also provide records of the sale, business takeover or restructure (if applicable).
  • Proof of associated business. If you worked for an associated business, your sponsor must provide evidence that you worked for the same employer, in the same location for that work period.
  • Evidence of training obligations. Your sponsor must provide evidence that they met the training obligations in each year that they have been a sponsor.
  • Proof of eligibility. If the nominated position is subjected to conditions and doesn’t belong to the skills occupation list, then your employer has to submit evidence of why they believe the nominated position is eligible for the nomination.
  • Evidence of genuine need for an employee. Your employer needs to submit evidence that they have a genuine need for overseas workers to fill in the nominated position.
  • Proof of paid levy fund. A sponsor for visa 187 must pay the Skilling Australians Fund, the amount will change according to the size of the business and the period of employment:
    • AUD3,000- for a small business with an annual turnover of less than AUD10 million.
    • AUD5,000- for a larger business with an annual turnover of AUD10 million or more.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa Eligibility Criteria

For your visa 187, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You have the adequate skills and qualifications for the work position.
  • You are nominated by a qualified sponsor (see sponsor qualifications).
  • You are under 45 years of age.
  • You hold one of these visas:
  • You were sponsored by the same employer. You must have been sponsored under a visa 467 or a visa 482 for at least 3 years out of four before applying for visa 187.
  • You were sponsored by your employer for at least two years out of three before applying for a 187 visa if you held a subclass 457 on April 17 of 2017.
  • Your occupation must be on the list of skilled workers for visa 187 (see the list here).
  • Your occupation must have the same four digits of the ANZSCO code as the occupation you had under a visa 457 or a visa 482. The ANZSCO is a classification code Australia and New Zealand use to categorize occupations and the skills required to do that occupation.

*You must have received your bridging visa after your visa 457 or 482 expired.

Exemptions

There are a few exemptions to the eligibility criteria:

  • You are exempt from the age requirement if:
    • You are nominated by a university in Australia for an academic position (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic level B, C, D, or E).
    • You are nominated by an Australian scientific government agency for the position of a scientist, researcher or technical specialist with an ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2.
    • You are a health worker and you worked within your nominated occupation under a 457 visa or a visa 482 for at least three years- two out of which were in regional Australia.
    • You were earning an income as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently AUD153,600) for each year (at least three) you worked under a visa 457 or a 482.
    • You had or were granted a visa 457 or a visa 481 in April of 2017 when you were 50 years old.
  • You are exempt from the skilled occupation list if:
    • On 18 April 2017, you held a subclass 457 visa, or applied for the visa, which you were granted.
  • You are exempt from the Competent language requirements if:
    • You can provide evidence you completed 5 years of secondary education (full-time) in an educational institution with all English instructions. In this case, you must show you have at least a functional level of the English language.

187 Visa Employer Eligibility Criteria

Your employer must also meet a number of eligibility criteria:

  • They must be the same employer who sponsored you for the 457 visa or subclass 482.
  • Their business must not be affiliated with unlawful activities or have a disreputable reputation.
  • Their business is legally active in regional Australia.
  • They have a genuine need for an employer to fill in the nominated position in regional Australia.
  • Your employer must offer you a position for at least two years, but not limited only to two.
  • Your sponsor must be able to pay at least AUD250,000, if not they must pay at least the annual salary market rate during those two years.

Visa 187 Application Process

Here’s how to apply for a 187 visa:

  1. You are nominated.
  2. You get your TRN.
  3. You apply for the visa.

You Are Nominated

Before you can apply for a visa 187, you must have a valid nomination. Your sponsor must submit an online application via the ImmiAccount to nominate you as a future employee.

Your sponsor must complete a nominator application form in the ImmiAccount and attach the required documents. They are not required to pay any application fees for a visa 187.

You Get Your TRN

Once a nomination application has been submitted, your nominator will receive a transaction reference number, your TRN. Make sure you have this number before you submit your visa request since you need it to make a valid application.

You Apply for the Visa

After your sponsor’s application nomination has been approved, you can submit your 187 visa application. To apply for the visa, you must submit an online application via the ImmiAcocunt together with your prepared documents.

You must pay the application fee to finalize your application- without the visa fee, your application is not complete.

How Much Does a 187 Visa Cost?

A visa 187 costs AUD4,045. However, you must pay a second instalment fee of AUD4,890 for each additional applicant over 18 that cannot prove their English language proficiency.

If you are exempt from providing proof of your Competent level of English (see above), then you must submit proof you have a Functional level of the English language. In case you cannot provide evidence of a Functional level, you must pay an additional amount of AUD9,800 when the Department of Home Affairs asks you to.

Additionally, you are required to pay an extra charge for every family member who applies with you for visa 187- see the full fees.

Visa 187 Processing Times- RSMS Timeline

The current processing time for the majority of RSMS visas is a year. However, some visa applications may be processed in six months.

Can I Bring My Family Members on a 187 Visa?

You can include your family members on a 187 visa application if they are:

  • Your spouse or partner.
  • Your minor child or step-child.
  • Your partner’s child or step-child.
  • Your adult dependent child or step-child.
  • Your partner’s adult dependent child or step-child.
  • Your grandchild or step-grandchild (minor or adult dependent).
  • Your partner’s grandchild or step-grandchild (minor or adult dependent).

You can add your family members later on after you apply for the visa, but you must do this before a decision is made on your visa application. All your family members are required to pass the health requirements and character requirements- sometimes even family members who don’t apply with you for the visa.

Can I Travel With a Visa 187?

You can travel with this visa freely for five years. Five years after your visa is granted, the travel facility attached to visa 187 expires and you cannot leave the country without risking your permanent residence status. You can apply for a resident return visa, that allows you to extend your travel facility as necessary.

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), at the moment, is AUD53,900. Your employer is required to pay you at least this amount for your work. However, the TSMIT doesn’t cover other perks such as accommodation or a car.

187 Visa Conditions

You must agree to work for your sponsoring employer for at least two years in regional Australia. If you don’t commit to this agreement you might get your visa cancelled. You must also agree to begin employment 6 months after your visa is granted or after you enter Australia (if you applied out of Australia).

You and your family members are required to obey all Australian laws and regulations during the time you are in Australia.

187 Visa Changes

On 16 of November 2019, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) direct entry stream was closed to applications. Now, visa 187 has only one stream; temporary residence transition stream.

This change happened, because in November of 2019, visa subclass 494 was introduced and the direct entry stream 187 was no longer necessary.