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Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa (SESR)

Visa sub-class 494

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) Employer Sponsored stream 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 – evidence that a genuine attempt to do so must 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 qualification in certain occupations (see the ANZSCO list online).

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) Employer Sponsored stream involves the employer applying to an 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 also be supplied to Regional Development Australia Northern Inland as 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 Northern aims to be diligent and requires broader evidence before making a recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs.

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland 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 prepared to assist by directing employers to the relevant information they need and answering questions about the process.

In relation to start-up businesses, RDANI 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 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 addtionally strong argument for the nomination, supporting by documents mentioned above 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 thier to 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.

The attached 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-Northern Inland is the Certifying Body for employer nominations for the region which encompasses the 12 Local Government Areas of Armidale Regional, Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Uralla, Walcha, Tamworth, Liverpool Plains, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Moree, Gwydir and Inverell.

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, will be able to employ the nominee for up to five years, with a minumum of three. RDA Northern Inland (NSW) requires the following:

  • Completed Form 1404
  • Completed Form 956 (agents only)
  • 2 years’ worth of financials (Profit / Loss) plus a letter from the accountant
  • Signed copy of the contract between the employer and employee (referring to the min. three-year period)
  • Copy of the business registration
  • An organisational chart or list of employees and their positions (including if those positions are full-time, part-time, or casual - if applicable)
  • Copy of bank transfer / deposit receipt for the RCB certification / Assessment fee of AUD $770.00 (GST inclusive), which must be paid upon submission of the Form 1404 and documents. 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.
    NOTE: If further documents are requested and take more than two weeks to be received, RDANI will need to consider the complete case as it is, in the context of the regional conditions at that time.
    The Department requires RCB advice to be submitted within 28 days of a request from an employer being submitted and considers that advice to be valid for three months. If these timeframes result in an employer needing to re-apply, a re-assessment fee of AUD $385.00 will apply.

The Department of Home Affairs requires supporting document(s) depicting the genuine recruitment effort for the nominated position. RDANI is no longer assessing this and we do not need job advertising documentation.

Migration agents must supply a completed form 956 as authorisation to act as an agent on the employer's behalf.

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Address 143 Marsh Street
Armidale NSW 2350
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Armidale NSW 2350
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