Government uses RSMS to ease visa rules for Perth
Visa rules have been eased for Perth employers who wish to sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency in Australia.
The change results from the Australian Government’s recognition that the skills shortage in the resources sector in Western Australia had resulted in skills shortages in other industries and throughout the State, particularly in Perth.
Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Chris Bowen, told the Australian Mines and Metals Association conference in Perth (19 July 2011) that Perth will join Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart as capital cities eligible under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).
The introduction date for this change is yet to be announced but, once the change in status occurs, employers based anywhere in Western Australia will be able to sponsor overseas workers for permanent residency under the RSMS program.
Currently, Perth and surrounding areas are excluded from the RSMS program, requiring those employers to sponsor workers under the more stringent Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 856).
Mr Bowen said the change would provide employers with another, easier avenue to recruit the skilled workers they needed from overseas and give skilled temporary visa holders in Perth a more streamlined pathway to permanent migration.
The RSMS program benefits employers as the migration thresholds for applicants are lower than for other permanent visa categories. In most cases, a RSMS applicant needs only “functional” English and a diploma-level qualification. The RSMS also provides for an exemption from English, skills and age requirements, if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. RSMS applications are currently given the highest processing priority (Level 1) by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship – with current processing times of about three months.
Another attractive feature of the RSMS program is that the sponsoring employer is only required to provide employment for two years, rather than the three required under the ENS program.