Regional Certifying Bodies for the RSMS visa – What’s the dealio?

I’ve spent the last few days reviewing various regional certification bodies and their requirements and it’s exhausting. RCBS as they are commonly referred to.

Who are these bodies you ask…well if you are a person getting sponsored by an Australian employer based in regional Australia for the regional sponsored migration visa subclass 187, then you need these guys.

Essentially, the goal of the RCB is to assess that the employer genuinely needs you. I know sounds strange doesn’t it. Wouldn’t the employer be the best judge of who they need to hire in their business. Anyway RCBs exist and if you want to apply for an RSMS, they are going to be a real part of your application process.
I’m not complaining about RCBS, there isn’t any point. It’s an RSMS visa requirement that you have approval from the RCB and that’s it. But I am questioning the system.

The location of your future employer will influence which regional certification body needs to be approached for their blessing of your potential RSMS application. So say, Patrick, an experienced Irish restaurant manager has been offered sponsored by Max’s restaurant in Braddon, Australian Capital Territory. Well good news Patrick, there is only regional certification body for ACT that you have to deal with. Drum roll please….it’s the Skilled and Business Migration section of ACT Economic Development Directorate. A mouthful but at least it’s one centralised body for any and all potential applicants looking at sponsorship by ACT based employers.

Now, ACT, Canberra in particular it’s a pretty good city but like a lot of people in Ireland, my preference for Australian states would be Queensland and New South Wales. I used to live in Brisbane and love the place. Its where I met my husband and he’s awesome so QLD is pretty tops. New South Wales, well Sydney is amazeballs. I went to school in a NSW country town called Armidale and made some great friends many of who are from families that run sheep and cattle farms in Northern NSW. So NSW to me is a pretty cool state as well.

So for all this coolness which I’ve just explained, QLD and NSW are not so cool when it comes to their RCBs in relation to the RSMS visa. Why you ask, well unlike their ACT cousin, QLD and NSW together have a total of 30 RCBs. QLD wins with 17 bodies and NSW follows with 13. Here is a link to the list of RCBs on the Immigration website if you want to verify this just for fun.

Most of the 30 RCBs each have their own contact details and individual websites explaining their requirements for applying for regional certification approval. Some websites are generally user friendly and you find the relevant information within a few seconds. Other websites you need to hunt around and then what you find is a lot of text referring you back to the Immigration website.

In addition to this, making an application to an RCS is going to cost you. Keeping with the theme of individuality, the application fee differs from RCB to RCB. For example employers in the Riverina region of NSW will expect to pay a tidy fee of AU$660, whereas an employer in Western NSW will be pleased to know the fee is only AU$280.

In QLD quite a few of the RCBs are actually the Chambers of Commerce QLD. So say for example, if your employer is located on the Gold Coast, the Chambers of Commerce QLD, charges an application fee of AU$450 if the employer is also a member of the Chambers and for non-members it goes up to AU$550.

Is this all necessary? Right now, I want to say no. I’m tired from all the reading trying to make sense of all the web content I’ve read. Naturally, I’m wondering why there can’t be one centralised body for each state (like the ACT, SA, TAS) where they can pool all their resources and data from the outlying regional areas so they would be equipped to make good decisions but also give applicants/employers one place to apply. Before you say well QLD and NSW are very big states so they need multiple bodies, well Western Australia is a huge state and they only have 2 RCBs to deal with applications.
The other small lucid part of me is all for it. Why not let regional certification bodies have a direct say in their local job markets and whether migrants are needed in their particular regional area. The federal government is the all-powerful granter of visas so RCBs are like guardians for the state, an expression of each state’s own policy on its economy, immigration and employment on a local level. I get that but…

I think it could be less complicated from a procedural point of view. But the application system is what it is. If you or someone you know is looking at an application for regional certification approval, a couple of pointers, have a cup of strong coffee beforehand before embarking on your online research. Find the employer’s location on a Google map to figure out the region they are in, and to be sure, email the particular RCB you think is correct to get their confirmation before you start into the application process. More than that email them any other questions you have about applying.

All the best!

Mege Dalton