Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Frank LanzaProcessing Times

The lead up to the legislative changes of 1 July 2012 saw an unprecedented number of applications. As a result, the expected waiting times have become longer. In June, the Immigration Department went from having four months of processing work on-hand to nine months. Clients who lodged an application in June should expect to wait for nine months for their case to be allocated.

The Processing Centre is currently allocating applications that were lodged in December 2011 to case officers for assessment. The Department of Immigration has requested that applicants do not make current status requests unless your application is outside the timeframes above.

After an application is allocated to a case officer, they are expected to assess the case in the following week. They may decide the application at that time. If this happens, they will write advising of the decision. If it will take longer for a decision to be made, they will write advising that they are your case officer and providing their contact details.

Twenty-five per cent cases are finalised outside of the expected time frames. There are a range of factors that affect processing time, including:

  • the completeness of the application at time of lodgement;
  • how quickly applicants respond to requests to provide more documents;
  • complications in obtaining health clearances;
  • if police checks have not been completed, they may take significant time to obtain; and
  • checks with third parties to verify claims made in an application.

Changes to the RSMS after July 1st 2012

The recent changes to this visa have led to some uncertainty about who is eligible.

On some points, what is written in the Migration Act appears to contradict the way the Department of Immigration has said it will make decisions. As Migration Agents, it difficult to advise our clients with certainty in these circumstances, so we hope these problems will be resolved soon.

One of the major changes affects people who do not have an Australian educational qualification or work experience in Autralia. Current students in Cairns who hope to apply for a permanent visa need not worry, as they will be able to rely on their Australia diploma or degree.

However, other applicants, for example working holiday visa holders, may have to obtain trade recognition before applying for an RSMS visa. This means that it will take longer and cost more to obtain a permanent visa for some people.