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Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa (SESR)

Visa Sub-class 494

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa program allows employers in regional Australia to sponsor workers from overseas in order to fill skilled vacancies that cannot otherwise be filled. This important option for employers results in the visa sub-class 494 being granted by the Australian Department of Home Affairs if the skilled migrant and the employer are successful.

The 494 visa has a five year duration and requires that the sponsored migrant remain with the nominating employer for at least three years, to be eligible to apply for the 191 Permanent Residency (PR) visa.

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 494 page on the Home Affairs website is a good resource. This is also where the application can be made to the Department.

Included Occupations

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 Role of the Regional Certifying Body (RCB)

The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa program 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 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 a range of supporting documents, as evidence before making a recommendation to the Department of Home Affairs.

RDA-Northern Inland is the Certifying Body for employer nominations for the region which encompasses the 12 Local Government Areas of:

  • Armidale Regional
  • Glen Innes Severn
  • Gunnedah Shire
  • Gwydir Shire
  • Inverell Shire
  • Liverpool Plains Shire
  • Moree Plains Shire
  • Narrabri Shire
  • Tamworth Regional
  • Tenterfield Shire
  • Uralla Shire
  • Walcha

Further information is available on the Our Region page.

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland is not permitted by legislation to advise. That is the role of a registered migration agent or a lawyer.


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 by answering questions about the process.

Submitting a Request for RCB Assessment to Us

The employer may submit a request for RCB assessment before or after lodging the nomination application with the Department. However, the nomination should be approved before the 494 visa application is lodged.

Employers wishing to submit a request for RCB assessment must supply supporting documents that demonstrates 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)
  • 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.

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

If you have any questions about the assessment process for the 494 Sub-Class, contact our Skilled Migration Officer, Gary Fry on migration@rdani.org.au

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Armidale NSW 2350
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