All News

Understanding RSMS 187 visa processing times and refusals

Understanding RSMS 187 visa processing times and refusals

The permanent, employer-sponsored Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 visa has generated lots of attention recently for a few reasons.

Firstly, there has been a big push for improved regional processing times, seeing some faster decisions for more recently lodged RSMS 187 visa applications, while older, legacy applications may be taking longer.

Secondly, there have been changes enacted to remove the RSMS 187 visa in November 2019 and put in its place a new subclass 494 visa. You can read more about the new 494 visa in our summary here.


Processing times

The Department of Home Affairs’ published processing times for the RSMS 187 visa are some of the longest, dwarfed only by the likes of the Contributory Parent and Aged Dependent Relative visas.

These published times suggest that for the Direct Entry Pathway, 75% of visas are processed within 21 months.


How to improve RSMS 187 visa processing times

Processing times can get longer when the Department needs to issue multiple requests to gather all the documents which they require. A request can often add one or more months to the overall processing time.

Something which can reduce the likelihood of the Department to issue a request is having your application ready for a decision, with police clearances and medical assessments completed.

For RSMS 187 visas, it is also important that it is clear to the assessing officer that you meet the skills requirements. This can be difficult where you may have worked for a number of different employers over your career and with different hours of work.

It is also important that the right documents are provided for the nomination stage, as delays in an RSMS 187 nomination will delay a decision on the RSMS 187 visa itself.


Changes to processing priorities benefit RSMS

On 26 March 2019, a new direction 81 was signed setting out the priorities in which visa categories will be processed. Overall, new nomination and visa applications lodged on or after 18 March 2018 will be processed ahead of those lodged before this date.

For visa processing, the following is the new order of priority:

  • ENS 186 visa nominated under DAMA or Global Talent Scheme labour agreement
  • RSMS 187 visa (those nominated by accredited sponsors will be processed more quickly than other RSMS 187 visa applications)
  • ENS 186 visa in regional Australia (those nominated by accredited sponsors will be processed more quickly than other ENS 186 visa applications)
  • State-nominated 489 visa
  • Family-sponsored 489 visa
  • State-nominated 190 visa
  • Other employer-sponsored visas (the rest of ENS 186 visas, TSS 482 visas)
  • Skilled applications nominating and occupation from the medium- and long-term strategic skills list (with 189 to be the highest)
  • Any other visa application

This means that RSMS visas lodged on or after 18 March 2018 will be given one of the highest priorities and should expect to be processed even faster than most other skilled applications. This aligns with the media discussion around a need to attract more skilled workers to regional areas of Australia.

While this is good news, the RSMS 187 visa will only be generally available until November 2019. If you are considering lodging an RSMS 187 visa application in order to take advantage of the prioritised processing, this will need to be done soon before general access to this visa is removed.


RSMS 187 visa refusals

Genuine position

One of the most common reasons still given for RSMS 187 nomination refusals is that the position is not genuine or that the employer is not able to support the position. It is important that you clearly explain both of these requirements in the nomination application.

Genuine position is a complicated requirement, which turns upon a broad range of factors. We have previously written about this here and recommend that you read through these notes carefully. As the RSMS 187 visa involves a two year employment obligation, the assessing officer must be satisfied that the business can support the nominated salary for two years.

While this can seem obvious from a business perspective, financial documents need to be clearly presented and the connection needs to be made between turnover, past profitability and a projection for the next few years.

Work experience

One of the critical requirements for the RSMS 187 visa is the requirement to have three years of work experience in your nominated occupation at the required skill level. Generally, this means that any full-time work experience being used to meet the requirement must have been completed after you obtained the qualification for your occupation. In some cases, additional work experience can be used to substitute for a formal qualification.


Do you need help with an Australian visa application?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Partner Visas, Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Related Posts

Sign up to our Migration Newsletter

Work Visa Lawyers works on Kaurna Land
We acknowledge and pay respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and
Elders of this land and this nation, and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational
practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This site's contents are for general information purposes only
We recommend you seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent and Lawyer
(such as Work Visa Lawyers) in relation to your factual situation and relevant migration laws

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

Site by Adelaide Websites