The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa Direct Entry stream will no longer be available and new visas (subclass 491, 494, and 191 visas) will become accessible instead on the 16th of November 2019. My previous article talked about the 491 visa which replaces the 489 visa. See the Philippine Times August edition or check the link below if you are interested in the 491 visa.
My article today intends to provide a comparison of the RSMS 187 visa and the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Class PE) subclass 494. I also discuss the Permanent Residency pathway for 494 visa holders.
SIMILARITIES OF THE 187 AND 494 VISAS
Under the nomination requirements, both visas require that the nominated position should be located in regional Australia. Presently regional Australia is defined as all post codes in Australia except Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth. By the 16th of November 2019, a definition for “designated regional area” will be released. This will be the replacement term for regional Australia. It is unclear if it would be the same as the current definition of regional Australia.
Similar nomination criteria for both visas also apply including the sponsors providing a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) approval, sponsors being able to satisfy the salary requirements, being able to demonstrate the genuine need for the nominated position and finally, being able to show evidences that they have the capacity to pay the salary of the nominated employee.
Both visas also require that the applicant has not turned 45 years old at the time of application, has a nominated role enlisted on the appropriate skills occupation list, has at least competent English (a 6.0 in IELTS or its equivalent), and has a valid skills assessment.
DIFFERENCES OF THE 187 AND 494 VISAS
Here are the key differences that I have identified based on the proposed visa amendments (source: Migration Amendment (New Skilled Regional Visas) Regulations 2019).
For the 494 visa, the employer should be a standard business sponsor or a party to a work agreement. This is the same requirement for a 482 visa; but this is not required for the 187 visa. Similarly, the 494 and 482 visas have two streams: the employer sponsored stream and the labour agreement stream. These streams do not exist on the 187 visa.
In my opinion, the most important difference is the 494 visa requires that the nominated occupation is likely to exist for at least five years. Under the 187 visa, it only requires that the nominated employee be employed in the nominated position for at least two years on a full-time basis. I can foresee difficulties in providing evidences that the nominated position will be there in the next five years.
494 VISA PATHWAY TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY
The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) subclass 191 visa will be available on the 16th of November 2022, three years after the 494 and 491 visas are launched. 494 and 491 visa holders who have held any of these visas for at least three years, those who have complied with their visa conditions, and can satisfy the salary requirements are eligible to apply for the 191 visa. The required salary amount is still unpublished.
Note that holders of 494 visa cannot apply for other Permanent Residency visas including 189, 190, or 186 visa if they have held their 494 visa for less than three years.
In summary, the 494 visa has similarities with both the current 187 visa under Direct Entry Stream and the 482 visa, with a few key differences with the 187 Direct Entry Stream. In my honest opinion, the 494 visa is not the exact replacement of the 187 visa Direct Entry Stream. It is the combination of the 494 and the 191 visas that will replace the 187 visa Direct Entry Stream.
If you think you will be affected by these visa changes, it is best for you to get advice from a Registered Migration Agent or an Immigration Lawyer.