Group of workmen standing alongside a truckIntroduction

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) enables regional employers to employ skilled overseas nationals to fill genuine, full time positions where it can be shown that these positions cannot be filled from within the local labour market.

The whole of the Northern Territory is considered regional for the purposes of RSMS.

There are three RSMS streams, the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the Agreement stream and the Direct Entry stream. Each of these streams has different eligibility criteria, requirements and application processes.

The Northern Territory (NT) Department of Business (Workforce Growth NT / Skilled Migration Unit) has been appointed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as the Regional Certifying Body (RCB) for all RSMS Direct Entry stream nominations by NT employers.

  • Temporary Residence Transition stream
    This streamlined visa pathway enables regional employers to nominate an overseas skilled worker for permanent residence if that worker:
    • is currently on a Subclass 457 visa working for the nominating employer, and
    • has held a Subclass 457 visa and worked for the nominating employer in the nominated occupation (or a very closely related occupation) for two (2) years.

    NT RCB assessment is not required for RSMS nominations under the Temporary Residence Transition stream.
  • Agreement stream
     This is a permanent residence visa pathway for applicants whose employer holds a labour agreement for the occupation in which they are being nominated. Applicants applying under this stream will need to meet the skills and experience, English language proficiency, age and other requirements in the applicable labour agreement.

    NT RCB assessment is not required for RSMS nominations under the Agreement stream.

    For detailed information about this visa, eligibility criteria and the DIBP processes visit Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
  • Direct Entry stream
    This is a permanent residence visa pathway that enables a regional employer to sponsor a skilled overseas worker directly from overseas or an overseas national who is in Australia but is not eligible to be sponsored under the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

    NT RCB assessment is required for RSMS nominations under the Direct Entry stream.

    For detailed information about this pathway and the DIBP criteria and processes visit Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.

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 Summary table

 

​Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme

Stream​ Temporary Residence Transition stream​ Agreement stream​ Direct Entry stream​
Who is this for? The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for Subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for two (2) years and their employer wants to offer them a permanent position.​ The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement.​ The Direct Entry stream is for people who are onshore and have not held a Subclass 457 visa for the last two (2) years, or if they are applying directly from outside Australia.​
Employee criteria The employee's skills do not need to be assessed because they have already worked for the nominating employer for two (2) years in Australia. The employee must have at least vocational English (International English Language Testing System  (IELTS) 5.0 in each band). Must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the labour or regional migration agreement. ​ The employee's qualifications and skills are relevant to the nominated occupation. Have competent English (IELTS 6.0 in each band).​
Employer criteria
  • Operate an active and lawful business in regional Australia (all of the NT).
  • Have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position.
  • Offer a skilled position in the applicant's field that is full-time and ongoing for at least two (2) years.
  • Pay a market salary rate.
  • Comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws.
  • Have no adverse information against you or your business.
  • Nominate a skilled position. This position must be:
    • for Direct Entry stream this position must be an occupation that is classified at Skill Level 1 to 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupation
    • for Temporary Residence Transition stream this position must be consistent or similar to the position sponsored by the Standard Business Sponsor under the Subclass 457 visa program.
  • for the Temporary Residence Transition stream the business continues or is committed to meet the training requirements under the Subclass 457 visa program . ​ ​
Where and how do you apply The employer and employee apply direct to DIBP electronically. The NT RCB is not involved in this process.​ The employer and employee apply direct to DIBP electronically. The NT RCB is not involved in this process.​ The employer and employee apply electronically directly to DIBP. In addition either prior to or after applying to DIBP, a request for advice is made to the NT RCB (Form 1404 and supporting documents).​
 

 Eligibility

 

​Both the regional employer nominating the position under RSMS and the overseas national being nominated must meet a range of eligibility criteria.

Detailed information can be found under Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme on the DIBP website.

Employer eligibility

For an employer to be eligible to nominate a position under RSMS it must:

  • be operating an active and lawful business in regional Australia
  • have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • offer a genuine, skilled position in the applicant's field of expertise that is full-time and ongoing for at least two (2) years
    Note: the two (2) years employment is calculated from the date of grant of the RSMS permanent residence visa by DIBP to the overseas nominee.
  • offer no less than a market rate salary and employment terms and conditions that accord with those provided to Australian citizens and permanent residents in a similar position
  • comply with all relevant Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • nominate a skilled position. The position must be an occupation that is classified at Skill Level 1 to 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations.

Employee eligibility

For an overseas national to be sponsored under RSMS under the Direct Entry stream the business must have the skills, qualifications and language requirements required for that visa stream.

The employee must have:

  • qualifications and skills relevant to the nominated occupation
  • if the employee's qualifications are obtained from outside Australia, where required, a positive skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority is mandatory. See the Offshore Skills Assessment Program on the Department of Industry website for more information.
  • competent English (IELTS 6.0 in each band).
 

 What regional employers must do

 

​Step 1

Employers must submit an electronic nomination to DIBP by completing the online form and attach supporting documents.

Step 2 (Direct Entry stream only)

A RSMS nomination made under the Direct Entry stream cannot be approved by DIBP unless the RCB has provided its advice in regard to the application.

Employers have the option of submitting RSMS nominations to the RCB for assessment either before or after their nomination has been lodged with DIBP.

NT employers must submit an application for assessment to the NT RCB including the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - Regional Certifying Body advice Form 1404 and supporting documents.

The NT RCB will return the completed Form 1404 to the nominating employer and will also forward a copy of the form and assessment outcome to DIBP.

The employer will need to submit the RCB advice to DIBP by attaching the signed form, using the DIBP eLodgement facility, to the corresponding nomination application.

An RCB assessment should not be dated more than three (3) months prior to lodgement of the RSMS nomination or DIBP may request the employer to obtain a new RCB assessment.

Step 3

The nominated employee must submit their visa application online within six (6) months of DIBP’s approval of the employer’s RSMS nomination. Please note that the employer's nomination is only valid for six (6) months.

Step 4

DIBP assesses the nomination and the visa application.

 

 Fees and charges

 

​The NT RCB does not charge a fee for RCB nomination assessments.

DIBP does not charge a fee for RSMS nominations lodged by regional employers.

A visa application charge applies to RSMS visa applications and this must be paid to DIBP when applicants submit their electronic visa applications. The current initial visa application fee is available from the DIBP website on Form 990i under the Employer Sponsored Migration (Permanent) section, Visa application fees category.

A second fee, that applies only to applicants and dependents aged eighteen (18) years or over who have less than functional English, is payable before a visa can be granted.

 

 When do I need to apply to the NT RCB for an assessment?

 

​NT employers wanting to sponsor an overseas employee under the Direct Entry RSMS stream must submit an application for assessment to the NT RCB.

The NT RCB does not charge a fee for RCB nomination assessments.

DIBP does not charge a fee for RSMS nominations lodged by regional employers.

A visa application charge applies to RSMS visa applications and this must be paid to DIBP when applicants submit their electronic visa applications. The current initial visa application fee is available from the DIBP website on Form 990i under the Employer Sponsored Migration (Permanent) section, Visa application fees category.

A second fee, that applies only to applicants and dependents aged eighteen (18) years or over with less than functional English, is payable before a visa can be granted.

NT employers wanting to sponsor an overseas employee under the Direct Entry RSMS stream must submit an application for assessment to the NT RCB.

The application can be made before or after the RSMS nomination is lodged with DIBP.

If an employer seeks RCB assessment prior to lodging a nomination with DIBP it is DIBP policy that the RCB assessment can be no older than three (3) months when the nomination is lodged.

Additionally, if an RCB assessment is not received by DIBP within three (3) months of the lodgement of the nomination that nomination may be rejected.

DIBP cannot make a positive decision on a Direct Entry RSMS nomination lodged by a NT employer unless it has received the assessment from the NT RCB.

 

 What the NT RCB assesses

 

​The Department of Business is the RCB for all NT RSMS nominations.

The NT RCB assessment undertaken:

  • examines whether the nominating employer has a genuine need for a paid employee to work in the position that is under the nominating employer’s direct control
  • determines that the position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is living in the same local area where the nominated position exists
  • determines that the terms and conditions of employment for the position will be no less favourable than the terms and conditions that are provided to, or would be provided to, an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident for performing work in the workplace at the same location.

In assessing these criteria the NT RCB will closely examine whether:

  • there is a genuine business and a genuine position and hence a genuine need for an employee
  • the terms and conditions being offered for the position are at least the same as those being offered to Australian employees within the organisation / business and in other similar organisations / businesses in the region for the type and level of the occupation. In undertaking this assessment the NT RCB will also look at the level of experience and skill for a position and / or the overseas employee’s profile
  • there is a direct and genuine employer / employee relationship between the organisation / business and employee
  • there is a workforce shortage in that region and / or in the NT
  • the NT RCB is the correct RCB to be making an assessment.
 

 Applying for a NT RCB assessment

 

​A NT employer wishing to make an application for assessment to the RCB should complete the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - Regional Certifying Body advice Form 1404.

The following checklist provides a list of documents that need to be submitted to the NT RCB when a NT employer is applying for a RCB assessment.

Required documentation must be provided as an Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word DOC / DOCX attachments to the email only, no 'cloud' downloads.

The documents required vary depending on whether the sponsoring employer is:

  • a public company (listed on the ASX) or is a government department / agency, or
  • any other organisation or business.
Publicly listed companies / government departments or agencies​ All other employers​
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - Regional Certifying Body advice Form 1404.
  • If the business is using a migration agent an Advice by a migration agent / exempt person of providing immigration assistance - Form 956 or other written documentation, signed by both the agent and the nominating employer, confirming that the agent is providing advice on the employers behalf.
  • Australian Business Register and Australian Securities & Investments Commission database extracts for the nominating business.
  • Letter of offer / employment contract outlining terms and conditions and referencing either:
    • the relevant enterprise agreement, or
    • where there is no enterprise agreement, the relevant award.
  • A statutory declaration (pdf 19 kb) | statutory declaration (docx 31 kb) (this is not required for a government department / agency) stating that the terms and conditions applicable to the position will be no less favourable than the terms and conditions that:
    • are provided, or
    • would be provided

    to an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident for performing equivalent work in this business.

    The declaration must include the business name, ABN and the terms and conditions being offered. It must also be signed by a person authorised by the nominating employer to make such an undertaking.

    The terms and conditions will be no less than those as expressed in the attached contract / letter of offer.

    There is a genuine need for the nominator to employ a paid employee to work in the position under the nominator's direct control.

    The position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is living in the same local area where the nominated position exists.

  • Employee profile containing evidence of age, education profile, qualifications, duration and type of work experience, number of dependants and current visa or last substantive visa if on a Bridging Visa (if applicable).
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - Regional Certifying Body advice Form 1404
  • If the business is using a migration agent an Advice by a migration agent / exempt person of providing immigration assistance - Form 956 or other written documentation, signed by both the agent and the nominating employer, confirming that the agent is providing advice on the employers behalf.
  • Business profile (or link to the business’s website if the website has a business profile or annual report).
  • If the business is involved in a Trust arrangement, please provide a copy of the Trust Deed.
  • Organisation chart of less than six (6) month old (showing the position, reporting structure and number of employees).
  • Job description.
  • Financial statements and BAS statements.
  • Australian Business Register and Australian Securities & Investments Commission database extracts for the nominating business.
  • If there is another employee employed in the same job by the employer a copy of that employee’s employment contract / terms and conditions of employment.
  • Documents showing the current employment terms and conditions if the nominee is currently employed by the nominating business, for example, payslips, or previous employment contract.
  • Letter of offer / employment contract outlining terms and conditions and referencing either:
    • the relevant enterprise agreement or
    • if there is no enterprise agreement in place the relevant award.
  • statutory declaration (pdf 19 kb) | statutory declaration (docx 31 kb) stating that the terms and conditions applicable to the position will be no less favourable than the terms and conditions that:
    • are provided, or
    • would be provided

    to an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident for performing equivalent work in this business.

    The declaration must include the business name, ABN and the terms and conditions being offered. It must also be signed by an appropriate person within the nominating employer.

    The terms and conditions will be no less than those as expressed in the attached contract / letter of offer.

    There is a genuine need for the nominator to employ a paid employee to work in the position under the nominator's direct control.

    The position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is living in the same local area where the nominated position exists.

  • If the occupation is not on the Northern Territory Skilled Occupation Priority List evidence that the business is unable to recruit locally (genuine job advertisements, recruitment outcomes and other evidence of recruitment activities).
  • Employee profile containing evidence of age, education profile, qualifications, duration and type of work experience, number of dependants and current visa or last substantive visa if on a Bridging Visa (if applicable).​

There may be circumstances where NT RCB case officers request additional documents to support their assessment decision.

Requests for assessment can be submitted as:

  • an electronic application, by emailing an application scanned as a single PDF to migration@nt.gov.au
  • hardcopy, by mail to:

    Darwin
    Department of Business
    Workforce Growth NT / Skilled Migration Unit
    GPO Box 9800
    Darwin NT 0801​

    Alice Springs
    Department of Business
    Workforce Growth NT / Skilled Migration Unit
    PO Box 9800
    Alice Springs NT 0871​

  • Or courier / hand delivered to:

    Darwin
    Development House
    76 The Esplanade
    Darwin NT 0800​

    Alice Springs
    The Green Well Building
    50 Bath Street
    Alice Springs NT 0871​

 

 How the NT RCB will contact a NT employer

 

The NT RCB case officer will usually contact the Australian registered migration agent if:

However there may be occasions when the NT RCB case officer contacts the business directly. Such occasions may include where there are integrity or timeliness concerns or in any other situation where the case officer believes direct contact is warranted.​

Contact details

For further information please contact Business and Skilled Migration.

 

DISCLAIMER: The Northern Territory Government and the Department of Business disclaim any liability or responsibility or duty of care towards any person for loss or damage (including special, indirect or consequential loss or damage such as loss of revenue) suffered or caused by any use or reliance on this information. While care has been taken in the production of this web page, it is provided as general information only. The Northern Territory Government and the Department of Business accept no responsibility (including for negligence) for errors or omissions and do not assert or imply that it is complete, accurate or current. No person should rely upon the information in this web page for the purpose of making any serious, business or investment decisions without obtaining independent and / or professional advice in relation to their particular situation. 

 

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