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Regional Work Visas

There are a number of Regional visas which provide both temporary and permanent residence in Australia.

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa – subclass 187

Firstly, there is the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa, subclass 187. This is an employer sponsored visa by a business lawfully operating in a regional area (this is determined by the post code of the business). The occupation of the person must be on a list of occupations published by the Department of Home Affairs. It is a more extensive list than that which applies under points tested visa applications, or even the lists which apply for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) or subclass 482 visa

The employer must first apply to a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) for approval of the position, based in part that there is no local person available to do the particular work. A market salary must be paid (there is a formula for establishing this), and an employment contract providing the visa applicant at least 2 year employment renewable, must be lodged.

At the same time or soon after, the employer lodges a nomination, a copy sent to the RCB officer. It is not essential that the RCB approval be got for the employer’s nomination (assessed by the Department of Home Affairs), for the nomination to be approved.

The third step is the lodgement of the visa application itself. Before this can be done, the applicant must have competent English – a minimum score of 6 in each of the 4 IELTS testing areas, or a minimum score of 50 in each of the PTE Academic testing areas (although there are some other English tests acceptable to the Department, these are the most common).

The visa applicant must have three years relevant experience in the nominated occupation (a change introduced in March 2018). If approved, there is a grant of permanent residence.


The visa applicant must be under the age of 45 at the time of lodging the application.

One particular obligation of a 187 visa holder is that s/he must commence work for the nominating employer, and do the nominated work for at least two years, unless the visa holder can show s/he has made a genuine effort to commence or continue that work.

The Skilled Nominated visa – subclass 190

The subclass 190 Skilled Nominated visa which requires nomination by a State or Territory. The visa applicant must pass a points test (currently set at a statutory minimum of 65 points, but in practice requiring more points to be invited to apply for the visa by the Department of Home Affairs). A person must obtain a skills assessment for the nominated occupation. The nominated visa itself comes from a list which is more extensive than that for a subclass 189 visa (this is an independently lodged but skilled visa, which provides permanent residence). Many applicants who cannot apply for a 189 visa because their occupation is not on that visa’s list, can apply for a visa on the 190 list.

A skills assessment must not be older than 3 years, or the date of expiry on the assessment itself.

A visa applicant for a 190 must have competent English (see above), and be under the age of 45 at the time the Department may offer an invitation to apply.

Other Regional work visas

There is also a temporary visa – the subclass 489 – which can lead in time to eligibility for lodging a permanent application.

The Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) or subclass 482 visa also has a regional component to them.

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