Skill Level 3 or Higher
One of the most important aspects of the 187 visa is that the occupation nominated does not have to be on any list such as the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) or Consolidated Skilled Occupation List (CSOL). The only requirement is that the occupation be a Skill Level of 3, 2 or 1 as defined in ANZSCO.
Remember, the 187 is a regional visa which means the work to be done by the visa applicant must be located in a regional area. These are areas outside Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Age and English
The applicant must be under 50 years of age and have ‘Competent English’ (IELTS 6.0). There are exemptions available for certain occupations and wage level.
Also, if you are transitioning from a 457 to 187 you will only need to show Vocational English (IELTS 5.0)
The Process to Apply
The 187 Visa consists of 3 stages:
- Apply to the Regional Certifying Body for approval of the position
- Apply to the Department of Immigration for approval of the position
- Apply to the Department of Immigration for approval of the visa applicant
There are multiple Regional Certifying Bodies (RCB’s) around Australia whose task is to assess whether it is appropriate for an employer to appoint a non-Australian citizen or Permanent Resident to a role.
The RCB you apply to will depend on your location. For example if the occupation is located in South Australia, the RCB will be Immigration SA.
Each RCB will look at the following key factors when deciding whether to approve:
- The organisational structure (size, organisation structure, history)
- The terms and conditions stipulated in the proposed employment contact
- The terms and conditions of other Australian citizen or permanent resident employees
- Whether Labour Market Testing was conducted to an appropriate standard (if required)
- Reasons why existing Australian staff cannot be upskilled to the position
This stage is similar to the RCB stage however in this stage the Department of Immigration decides whether to approve the role. There is some overlap but the Department of Immigration will mostly rely on the advice given by the RCB in stage 1.
The Department of Immigration will also look at:
- Previous compliance by the employer for immigration as well as other (eg. ATO) compliance
- Previous compliance by the employer relating to the workplace relations
- The business is active and lawfully operating in Australia
If the visa applicant currently holds a 457 Visa:
- Whether the nominated occupation has the same 4 digit code as the 457 visa nomination
- The period of employment by the proposed applicant (2 years in the last 3)
Finally, once the RCB and the Department of Immigration have approved the nomination, the visa applicant can apply for a 187 visa.
One of the most important elements of applying for a 187 visa is establishing that the applicant has the requisite skills and qualifications to perform the occupation nominated. For most tradespeople who obtained their qualification overseas this will be done by undertaking a skills assessment. For other occupations, this would be done by evidencing the work experience and educational qualifications.
Public Interest Criteria
Like almost all visas, partner visas carry these general requirements for Health, Character, Debts to the Commonwealth, and Australian Values Statement.
If you are unsure of meeting any of these criteria you should contact a professional to assess your ability to overcome any potential refusal on these grounds. Migration agents can prepare submissions on your behalf to give your application every opportunity for approval.
Period of Visa
The Regional Sponsored Migrations Scheme (187) visa is a permanent visa valid for 5 years.
The 187 visa carries full work rights for both the applicant and the family members.
2 Year Requirement
Remember though that there is an obligation to work for your employer for 2 years. If the employment is broken your visa may be cancelled under s137Q unless you can show a genuine effort to remain in the employment for the 2 year period. If you are concerned about this you should contact a migration agent for advice.
187 vs 186 Visa
The 187 Visa is a much more attractive visa for an employer compared with the 186 visa.
The employer does not need to spend money on meeting training expenditure requirements that are part of the 186 visa (can be 1% or 2% of total payroll expenditure)
There is no requirement for the occupation to be on a list anywhere. It simply needs to be a skill level 3, 2 or 1 as defined by ANZSCO.
The RSMS process can be cheaper as well – there is no Nomination fee.
Often the visa applicant will not need to complete a skills assessment. This saves time and money.
There is no need for the visa applicant to have 3 years work experience.