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Regional Migration Agreements

Employer Sponsored Workers

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The Regional Migration Agreement (RMA) programme was announced by the Australian Government in the 2011–12 Budget.

The RMA programme is a new temporary skilled migration initiative to help address the acute skill and labour shortages facing parts of regional Australia. This initiative will enable employers to sponsor workers from outside Australia in circumstances that are not otherwise permitted under the standard migration programmes. The programme is designed to increase capacity in regional labour markets that are experiencing these shortages.

What are Regional Migration Agreements?

An RMA is an agreement between the Australian Government and a state or territory government, local council, or another local stakeholder. The programme will facilitate increased labour flows to regional areas experiencing acute labour shortages, in particular, regions that are isolated from large populations and do not have Australian skills and labour available.

RMAs will specify the occupations, numbers and visa requirements for the sponsorship of workers from outside Australia to certain regional locations. The RMAs will not limit the use of other migration programmes in the nominated location.

The Northern Territory government has been working towards a submission for an RMA since late last year.

Following the release of the RMA programme guidelines other regions will have the opportunity to submit an application for an RMA.

Why have a Regional Migration Agreement?

The major benefit of the programme is to allow employers in certain regional areas to sponsor workers in a broader range of occupations that are currently not included in standard skilled migration programmes. An RMA is a streamlined process for small to medium businesses wanting to gain access to workers from outside Australia.

What is the process for undertaking a Regional Migration Agreement in a region?

The department will release the RMA submission guidelines shortly. The guidelines will provide further guidance on the process for undertaking an RMA.

What consultation was undertaken concerning the development of the Regional Migration Agreement programme?

Extensive stakeholder consultations were held during the development of the RMA programme. Stakeholder consultations were held between Federal Government Agencies, Federal Ministers, Tourism Industry Roundtable, State Ministers and Departments, Employer and peak bodies through 'townhall' discussions, National Union and Regional Development Committees.

Consultations were held in:

  • Esperance, Broome and Perth in Western Australia
  • Gladstone and Brisbane in Queensland
  • Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Regional Migration Agreement Submission Guidelines

More information about the RMA programme will be available in the coming months.

More information

More information is available.
Booklet 9 – Temporary Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) Visa ([an error occurred while processing this directive]B PDF file)
Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) – About this Visa


Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014