Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) – Employer Sponsored stream (SESR)
Visa sub-class 494
RE. 187 VISA PROGRAM – PLEASE NOTE:
***This visa program ceased to exist at 11:59pm AEST on 15 November 2019***
The new provisional subclass 494 visa came into effect on midnight of 16 November 2019.
Information about the new visas can be found on our website below, or the Department of Home Affairs website by clicking HERE.
SKILLED EMPLOYER SPONSORED REGIONAL (PROVISIONAL) VISA (SUBCLASS 494) (SESR ViSA) – ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 494) (SESR Visa) enables Australian employers in areas specified by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs in a Legislation Instrument to sponsor (nominate) skilled overseas workers. This is to assist employers in regional and low population growth areas of Australia where they have been unable to fill vacant positions with Australian citizens or permanent residents living in or wishing to move to the regional area where the nominated position is located.
Where an employer decides to nominate a skilled overseas worker for a SESR visa in the Employer Sponsored (ES) stream, the nomination must be accompanied by advice completed by a relevant Regional Certifying Body (RCB) at time of decision. The RCB must have responsibility for the area where the nominated position is located. These requirements are legislated in the Migration Regulations 1994 under Regulation 2.72C. If the nominating employer has not requested the RCB to provide the advice, and the advice has not been received by the Department of Home Affairs, then the lodged employer nomination application cannot be progressed.
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) – Employer Sponsored stream (SESR)
Visa sub-class 494
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) – Employer Sponsored stream (SESR) is a visa program that allows employers in regional and low population growth areas of Australia to sponsor workers from overseas in order to fill skilled vacancies that cannot otherwise be filled. This is an important option for employers who cannot find the skilled workers they need locally (we require evidence that a genuine attempt to do so be supplied, along with other supporting documents about the nominating employer and their genuine need for the suitable skilled position).
The 494 visa requires that the sponsored migrant remain with the employer for at least three years, to be eligible to apply for permanent residency (PR).
A sponsored occupation must be skilled. According to the Department of Home Affairs, skilled occupations are those classified as level 1, 2 or 3 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). This generally means occupations requiring a degree, diploma, trade certificate or Certificate IV, however a minimum level of experience can be substituted for qualifications in certain occupations (see the ANZSCO list online).
The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) Employer Sponsored stream involves the employer applying to a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) and the Department of Home Affairs, plus the skilled migrant applying to the Department for their Visa.
The Department of Home Affairs is required to consider RCB advice about a nominating employer before making their determination. Regional advice is meant to contribute to or influence the final outcome, not determine it.
The same level of documentation should be supplied to Regional Development Australia Far South Coast as that supplied to the Department. As a RCB, our assessment of employer data, combined with our local knowledge, means that the Department of Home Affairs has the benefit of local knowledge in order to make a determination regarding an employer nomination.
Ultimately, the RCB’s advice is required to confirm that the pay and conditions that a skilled migrant is to receive, are no less that an Australian would receive in the same position in the region. RDA Far South Coast prides itself on its diligence and therefore requires broader evidence before making a recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs.
Regional Development Australia Far South Coast (RDA FSC) is not permitted by legislation to advise. That is the role of a registered migration agent. Obviously, making an assessment and providing advice to the Department of Home Affairs would not have integrity if we were providing advice and instructions to those who apply for RCB assessment. However, we are able to assist by directing employers to the relevant information they need and by answering questions about the process.
In relation to start-up businesses, RDA FSC requires a particularly sound case be put in respect to the genuine need for the position and nomination. If it is clear that a skilled migrant was required from the inception of a business, then why go ahead with the business? How genuine could the efforts to fill the position locally really have been? If a business is less than six months old, it is the responsibility of the nominating employer or their Registered Migration Agent to provide an additionally strong argument for the nomination, supported by documents mentioned in our Check List (below) and more – a business plan and explanation about what led to the need for the position are good examples.
It is recommended that employers read as much information about this visa program as possible to understand what is involved and what their obligations entail.
The Immigration Department’s website is a good resource. This is also where the application to the Department can be made:
The employer may submit a request for RCB assessment before or after lodging the nomination application with the Department. However, the nomination must be approved before the 494 visa application is lodged. Please note that this RCB usually does not accept an application for assessment until after we have conducted a site visit and met with both the employer and proposed visa recipient. However, due to COVID-19 limitations, RDA Far South Coast may undertake remote interview techniques.
The Visa sub-class 494 is a pathway to permanent residency, with the visa having a five-year duration and only permitting recipients to live, work or study in a regional location.
RDA FSC is the RCB for employer nominations for the region which encompasses the three Local Government Areas of Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.
Employers wishing to submit a request for RCB assessment must supply supporting documents that demonstrate their business or organisation is financially viable, is a sound going concern and will be able to employ the nominee for (at least) the three year visa period.
BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION, PLEASE NOTE:
The Department requires RCB advice to be submitted within 28 days of receipt of an application from an employer, therefore you are required to submit a complete application. The fee for assessment is $AUD770.00 (incl. GST). Once your application has been confirmed as received, processing will begin and we will be unable to accept any further documentation or amendments. Incomplete applications will be assessed as submitted and may not satisfy the requirements. Due to the tight time-frame, we may be unable to seek further information from you. We do not refund if your application is incomplete, therefore, we strongly urge you to ensure all the requirements have been met before you submit your application to the RCB. In order to ensure you have all required documentation, we are happy to discuss the requirements with you prior to submission.
The Department considers RCB advice to be valid for three months. If the time-frame results in a need to validate expired advice, the RCB fee for such validation is $AUD385.00 (incl. GST). If an employer needs to reapply and the RCB has concerns that circumstances may have changed significantly, a new assessment may need to be conducted. If that is the case, the full fee will apply.
Migration agents must supply a completed Form 956 as authorisation to act as an agent on the employer’s behalf.
Please download the Form 1404 HERE:
The required documents are outlined via the Check List below:
RDA FSC RCB SESR 494 Visa Application Checklist – Essential Documentation
|1.1||Date of RDA FSC site visit and name of RCB officer (No fee is payable for this visit. Please note we cannot accept your application until after the site visit has occurred.)|
|1.2||Evidence of payment of Processing Fee – include your bank receipt which must note the visa type and name of the nominee (e.g. 494 ‘SMITH’). The fee is non-refundable (except for special circumstances). This fee must be paid in advance, as it is the service and not the outcome that is being paid for.|
|1.3||RCB (RDA FSC) SESR Coversheet|
|1.4||DoHA Form 1404|
|1.5||Form 956 if application submitted by Migration Agent (if applicable)|
Evidence of advertising for the position locally (local newspaper, etc.)
Evidence of advertising for the position via the internet (SEEK, Indeed, etc.)
|Addressing the Criteria|
|2.1||Business Registration (ABN or ACN Certificate)|
|2.2||Business description outlining the goods and services provided|
|2.3||Job Description detailing the duties of the nominated position|
Employment Contract or Letter of Offer. The Employment Contract or Letter of Offer must indicate the total remuneration package and clearly include details of the following:
– Applicable Award or Agreement;
– Base salary and total remuneration package including superannuation and any other allowances/benefits;
– Superannuation percentage;
– Remuneration for overtime;
– Detailed leave entitlements;
– Core hours and days of the week to be worked;
– Other benefits, terms and/or conditions.
|2.5||Payslips for Australian employees in equivalent positions (last names may be blanked out to protect privacy)|
|2.6||Employment contracts for Australian employees in equivalent positions (last names may be blanked out to protect privacy) or,|
|Where there is no equivalent Australian employee you must provide the following:|
|2.7||Evidence from ABS|
|2.9||Relevant job vacancy advertisements with salary given|
|2.10||Data for unions or employer associations|
|Additional Evidence to Support your Application|
|3.1||Organisational Chart indicating the nominated employee’s position within the nominated business|
P&L for previous two years;
Balance Sheet for previous two years.
DO NOT INCLUDE BAS REPORTS OR OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION UNLESS REQUESTED ABOVE.
|3.3||Registration with a local employment service provider (if applicable)|
|3.4||Evidence of response to advertising including any applications for the position, employer’s selection criteria, and rationale behind the successful employee’s selection|
|3.5||Copy of DoHA application (if already submitted with DoHA) or draft copy if application not yet submitted|
|3.6||Transaction reference Number if application already submitted to DoHA|
187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
***This visa program ceased to exist at 11:59pm AEST on 15 November 2019***
The new provisional subclass 494 visa came into effect on midnight of 16 November 2019. RSMS employer nominations lodged with the Department of Home Affairs on or prior to 15 November will need RCB (Regional Certifying Body) Assessment.
Information about the new visas can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website by clicking HERE.
RDA Far South Coast continue to act as a Regional Certifying Body. The introduction of the new regional visa will not impact people who already hold existing visas. Applications lodged prior to November 2019 will continue to be processed as normal.
Changes to Regional Visas: What it Means for Far South Coast Visa applicants
RDA Far South Coast is the Regional Certifying Body for the Department of Home Affair’s Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and we also previously provided assessments on behalf of the NSW Government for regional sponsorship for the 489 visa sub-class. In 2019 the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs advised that two new visas would be introduced from November 2019. We continue to act as a Regional Certifying Body for the 494 Visa.
What are the new Visas?
The new skilled regional provisional visas will be for skilled migrants, and dependent family members, who want to live and work in Australia.
There were two skilled regional provisional visas introduced in November 2019:
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa – 494: for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia. The previous Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa has been replaced by a new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa – 491: for people who are nominated by a State or Territory Government or sponsored by an eligible family member to live and work in regional Australia. This visa replaced the 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa.
Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will need to live and work in regional Australia. Visas will be granted with a validity period of up to five years. Holders of the new skilled regional provisional visas will be able to apply for a Permanent Residence visa. The Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) Visa will commence in November 2022.
Importantly, to be eligible for permanent residence, holders of the 494 and 491 skilled regional provisional visas will need to demonstrate they have lived and worked in regional Australia while holding one of the new Skilled Regional Provisional visas.
Stay up to date
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date via our website. Information about the 494 and 491 visas will be posted there as and when available.
More information on new visas can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
New definition of regional Australia and the SESR visa.
Any Australian employer who is actively and lawfully operating a business in an area specified by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs in a Legislation Instrument can sponsor skilled overseas workers through the SESR visa ES stream.
The SESR visa covers all of Australia except Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Areas of Australia is further defined by reference to a Legislative Instrument that specifies regional areas by post code.
Role of a Regional Certifying Body
The role of a RCB is to provide advice to the Department on the SESR visa, ES stream nomination applications, using local area knowledge to advise on whether the nominee for the position will be paid at
least the annual market salary rate for the occupation.
ES stream nominations must be accompanied by advice from an RCB; however, this advice can be provided before or after lodgement of the ES stream nomination application with the Department of Home Affairs. The
Department cannot approve a nomination where advice from an RCB has not been provided.
Departmental decision makers will assess ES stream nominations against a range of criteria, including but not limited to those that RCBs provide advice on. Local knowledge about businesses operating in the
specific RCB’s jurisdiction adds value to the assessment process.
Timeframe for assessment and validity period
RCBs must provide their assessment advice within 28 days of receipt of the request.
‘Requests for Assessment’ can be sent to:
Regional Development Australia – Far South Coast
PO Box 1227
Nowra NSW 2541
or emailed (preferred) to:
After receiving the application RDA FSC will assess the nomination according to the criteria outlined above and in the Essential Documentation Checklist (see below) and provide a ‘statement of advice’ to DHA as to whether the Minister should be satisfied that the nomination meets the criteria. During assessment RDA FSC will not ask for additional evidence or supporting documentation. The application will be assessed as submitted. RDA FSC will provide detailed advice to DHA and inform the agent/applicant as to whether or not RDA FSC has assessed your application as meeting the criteria. The agent/applicant will NOT receive details regarding reasons behind an assessment outcome.
Note: The fee charged is for the processing of the application by this RCB and is not based on the outcome. Once you have received your acknowledgement email, your application has commenced processing and in general no refund is available as the service has begun. An unsuccessful outcome is not grounds for a refund.
Standard processing fee: $770 including GST.
Processing time: Maximum of three (3) months from receipt of both the application and full payment.
Electronic Funds Transfer
Bank Institution: St George Bank
Address of Bank: Kogarah, 4-16 Montgomery Street, NSW, Australia
Account Name: RDA FSC Funded Projects Account
BSB: 112 879
Account Number: 41 066 5970
Reference: 494, “Name of nominating business”
Processing of applications will not begin until the processing fee is paid and the application is received. Include the EFT receipt with your application. The EFT receipt must show the deposit date as well as the reference noted above.
Please note this RCB conducts its assessment by utilising the documents requested in the Essential Documentation Checklist above and by utilising our specialist knowledge of the region. By applying, you accept all the Terms and Conditions required by this RCB. Employers should note, they are not compelled to provide the documents requested, though it is in their interests to do so. Failure to provide all documentation in the above list may result in a NOT RECOMMENDED result. If this occurs no fees or any portion thereof will be transferred or refunded.
Please note that RDA FSC expects applicants or their agents to demonstrate their suitability via a complete and accurate application as per the requirements noted on this website. Inaccurate and/or incomplete applications will not be be approved. You must ensure that ALL Essential Documentation is submitted with your application and labelled as per the Essential Documentation Checklist (above). Once your application has been submitted and you have received your acknowledgement e-mail, you are unable to add any further documentation.
What if my nomination does not meet the requirements?
RDA FSC will not enter into any discussion regarding unsuccessful applications.
Checking Your Application
Please do not call the office to check the status of your application, you will receive an email from us in due course.
PLEASE NOTE: the overload of email requests asking for processing updates has caused a significant backlog to our processing times, therefore, RDA Far South Coast WILL NOT respond to telephone or email requests for updates on processing times. As noted, processing may take up to THREE MONTHS. Contacting us within the allotted processing period may result in your application being further delayed.
Contact RDA FSC
Phone: 02 4422 9011
Postal Address: PO Box 1227, Nowra, NSW, 2541
Your Information: Please note, by law we are required to hold your information for a period of seven (7) years. Once RDA FSC has processed your application, your file is archived at a secure location. RDA FSC will not share your information with anyone. Should you, as the nominating business owner, require any information from your file, you must provide your request in writing with proof of identity. A processing fee of $250.00 is payable to access information that has been archived.
Things you should know
For both the 494 and 491 Visas, please note that RDA FSC requires applicants to demonstrate their suitability via a complete and accurate application as per the requirements noted on this website. Inaccurate and/or incomplete applications will be assessed as unsuccessful. This RCB takes matters of identification seriously. An anomaly or inconsistency in identification may result in an unsuccessful outcome. We may be unable to seek clarification or request missing documentation due to required time-frames – applications are usually assessed as submitted. Please ensure that ALL Essential Documentation is submitted with your application. Once your application has been submitted and you have received your acknowledgement e-mail, you may be unable to add any further documentation. Please be aware that we are unable to provide refunds.
With regard to the requirement for Certified Copies: PLEASE NOTE: Electronic documents are able to be certified under certain conditions according to the most recent Justice of the Peace Handbook (page 37). RDA FSC does not accept digital certificates.
According to RDA FSC, colour copies are not classified as certified.
If your documents are not in English, you will need to provide official translations.