Regional sponsored migration

The 494 Visa is a permanent work visa that allows employers in regional or low population areas fill skills shortages with overseas workers.

We know what it’s like for employers to struggle with skills shortages, and we’re passionate about making the sponsorship process easy for everyone. Here’s how the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) works.

What is a regional area?

The RSMS considers the following areas to qualify for the 494 Visa:

  • All of Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, and the Northern Territory
  • New South Wales (NSW) – all areas except Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong
  • Victoria – all areas except Melbourne
  • Queensland – all areas except Brisbane
Regional Sponsored Migration

Step 1: Choose an application stream

There are three ways of applying for Regional Sponsored Migration, including:

Temporary Residence Transition Stream – where holders of a 482 visa have worked for an employer for two years and in the nominated occupation and are now being offered a permanent position. Passing relevant English tests is a requirement.

Direct Entry Stream – for those who haven’t held a 482 visa with the same employer for the last two years, or for those applying directly from outside Australia

Agreement Stream – where the application is part of aLabour Agreement.

Application Stream

Step 2: Nomination

The employer nominates the employee and must meet certain conditions and benchmarks, including:

Actively and lawfully operating in Australia

Proving a genuine need for an employee in the nominated occupation

Offering a position that is permanent and full-time for a minimum of two years

Paying the employee at market rate

Meeting the requirements for the position according to each stream. For Stream 1 or 3 (above) it must be the same position as the employee received sponsorship for the 482 visa. For Stream 2, it must be a position classified as a skill level 1-3 in ANZSCO guidelines

Meeting training benchmarks for the relevant stream (none for direct entry)

Step 3 (Direct Entry Only)

For the Direct Entry Stream, there’s an extra step where the sponsoring employer applies to the relevant Regional Certifying Body (RCB). They need to demonstrate

Direct Entry
The employee applies for a visa

Step 4: The employee applies for a visa

The employee applies for a visa and must meet certain criteria such as English skills, skills assessments, health and character checks (also applicable to family members on the visa). Unless there’s an exemption, the applicant should be under 50 years of age at the time of the application. For the Temporary stream, the employee must have worked for the employee for two years with a 482 visa.

A common question: RSMS VS ENS?

Employers often ask us whether to apply for an RSMS or ENS. Although it depends on your individual circumstances, the RSMS does have easier requirements, including:

No employer training conditions

Lower skills requirements for the Direct Entry Stream

A wider range of occupations that apply to the RSMS

The highest priority in the skilled migration stream


Contact our friendly team of expert migration agents today for a chat about your employer sponsorship options