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A Wrench Apparently Thrown Into the RSMS Programme in WA

The Migration Alliance has received a concerning report from a Registered Migration Agent in Western Australia about apparent actions by the Western Australian government in relation to the Regional Sponsored Migration scheme.

We are informed by our colleague in WA that the new premier of WA, Mark McGowan, had stated during the recent election campaign that he would seek to have Perth “removed” from the scheme.

And indeed, a news article in the West Australian reports that Premier McGowan asked Prime Minister Turnbull to remove Perth from the RSMS scheme within hours of his election victory on Saturday 11 March 2017. The West Australian says that the purpose of this request was “to make it easier for locals to find work”.

Our colleague in Western Australia advises us that two days after the election, on Monday, 13 March 2017, the Department of Training and Workforce Development in WA took a decision to “freeze in time” the entire RSMS process in the whole of Western Australia. 

It does not appear that there was any “government in control” in Western Australia at the time this action was taken by the Department of Training and Workforce Development.  It would appear that the government that was in power before the election would have been in “caretaker” mode through the election period and until the new McGowan Government was installed, and further, that the McGowan Government was not sworn into office until after  this decision was taken by the Department of Training and Workforce Development.

Consequently, it appears that the decision of the Department of Training and Workforce Development may  have been made without any lawful authority.

We are advised by our WA colleague that the decision was made without any formal warning or communication.

This decision has obvious potential to cause very serious prejudice and hardship to applicants and employers who had applications already lodged and being processed when this apparent “freeze” was apparently imposed.

There is also a significant question as to whether a state or Territory has legal authority to impose such a freeze “unilaterally” and without the consent and approval of the Federal government.

We invite Registered Migration Agents in Western Australia or elsewhere who have knowledge of this development to provide comment on this situation and information on how this action is affecting their clients.

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  • Guest
    WA Monday, 20 March 2017

    I do not believe the State has any legal stand without the consent of the Federal government. However, DIBP suspended the lodgement of RSMS 2 days after the election. It sounds like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

    Reply Cancel
  • Guest
    Frustrated RMA Monday, 20 March 2017

    Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) outcome in 2015–16 was 12,269 places. This is for the whole of Australia, so I cannot see how this small figure will actually provide more jobs to local WA Australian citizens. At the end of they day, Labor ran a good scare campaign and this is an election promise that can be easily pushed to promote their commitment without affecting major change to the state. There are ways to make RSMS approval more difficult, but it does not provide the greater impact of removing Perth metro from the scheme. I would have been happy if Labor actually provided a budget plan and an executable process to achieve their outcomes, but it is easier to complain about the shortfalls of their opponent to win votes and hope people don't see through their deceptive schemes. Trump won by deceiving the nation that he will bring back jobs to America and right now, corporate America is raking in the benefits. And guess what, most of corporate Americas' money are hidden in tax havens around the globe as manufacturing in cheap foreign countries have not decreased.

    Reply Cancel
  • Guest
    Daphne Monday, 20 March 2017

    This is news has devastated my client whose working holiday visa from the UK expires mid April. I was just about to put in the RCB submission on Monday 13th March and get a message on the site saying "all new applications to certify positions for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme are temporarily suspended. New information will be posted on the migration portal as it becomes available". I think doing this without any communication and sufficient lead time to bed down issues such as this is just wrong. :(

  • Guest
    A Lawyer Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    Anyone for a class action regarding this?

  • Guest
    Danish Tuesday, 09 May 2017

    Yes i have an action against this, they did not gave any notice of closing RCB from the states even the election was also so hidden. and all of sudden they took the RSMS out and finalized. They should be giving some more time to the public. not only when they had an election and stopped everything from that time. this is not fair.
    They still should give some time to people how were doing hard work on their job for this and they got nothing now.
    There was no time limit given action happened just after they won election,

  • Guest
    Barbara Friday, 24 March 2017

    Oh yes!

  • Guest
    Preeti Tuesday, 21 March 2017

    This is just another example of "bandaid solutions". Is RSMS the problem for people not being able to find jobs? I mean come on. Whole of WA is not able to get sponsorship let alone Perth. Requirements including advertising the position, genuine position are in place and still they feel they are not getting it right after all these checks in place then they need to sit and think about their whole migration program. I understand there may be some non genuine applications but that can be in any field or visa class. What about fake partner visas? Are we going to stop all visa programs then? More and more checks on visas, policies, RMAs but no real outcome. Genuine position, labour market testing etc nothing can solve the unemployment problem. I am so over this that I feel may be they should stop skilled migration program once and for all so Australia can really see whether they can survive without overseas skilled workers.

  • Guest
    Deb Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    Who monitors the actions of these muppets that make knee jerk reactions. RMAs are tightly regulated yet Govt. depts. are able to take matters into their own hands without following due process. Ethics - is that just something for RMAs to follow? We now have a client that lodged a 187 on the Friday with just one more document to upload for submission of the WA RCB approval and wham - that's him and his employer shafted! A genuine Perth based position that genuinely requires European experience. Surely there are protocols that must be followed before decision of this magnitude can be made.

  • Guest
    Linda Geronimo Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    It is a Federal matter, State has no jurisdiction
    Grandstanding from the new Premier!

  • Guest
    Bruce Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    Mark McGowan officially wrote to the Prime Minister requesting that Perth be removed as regional area for the Subclass 187 Visa. It only affects Direct Entry applicants. Agree that the numbers would be minuscule and have no impact on the 100,000 unemployed in Western Australia. Also 187 visa is for skilled occupations where the company is unable to find a Western Australian that is suitably qualified and experienced. I would think that the Federal Government would have the option to use some other organisation as a RCB such as RDA or business association.

  • Guest
    Charles Wu Wednesday, 22 March 2017

    At a time when WA needs foreign investments like never before, WA Labor is shooting itself in the foot as the repercussion in removing Perth from the RSMS will certainly discourage investments in the state. Mark McGowan has obviously not properly considered the full implications of his action. He has probably been directed by the unions and has not looked at the other side of the equation. If this is the approach the new Premier is taking, it spells further trouble for the WA job market and more importantly the overall economy of the state. He needs to focus on creating an environment to attract foreign investments into WA including Perth. So far his pronouncements have little hope for attracting investments into the state. Hopefully he will seek comprehensive and better counsel from the captains of industry and the like rather than relying on just the unions for good advice. It may be helpful if like minded WA migration agents can get together to initiate some serious proposals to help McGowan run the economy of WA. Perhaps Migration Alliance can pave the way?

  • Guest
    MB - anon Thursday, 23 March 2017

    Dear Migration Alliance,

    Please see email below from the MIA.

    While we are most grateful for your article regarding a ‘wrench’ in the RCB, it would be wonderful if an industry body would call these people to account and not be fearful to ‘put the new government offside’ or advise industry professionals to do the same(!).

    I may be incorrect, but I have grave concerns regarding the lawfulness of this action to ‘temporarily suspend’ the RCB application process. I would question what the ‘separation of powers’ exists for if actions such as these can occur. Essentially, RSMS (SC187) in WA is accessible by law (at this time). However, someone needs to take responsibility for preventing access to a lawful process – particularly when it occurred while we had no government. Further, the action was not reversed by the new government but almost flaunted with the social media promotion of the Premier’s letter to the PM regarding the state’s status as Regional. I am flawed by the blatant lack of regard for the existing legislation and process for legislative change.

    We require some URGENT and COMPETENT industry representation on this issue.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.


    MIA BULLETIN 21 March 2017

    Western Australian Immigration Policy

    Dear WA MIA Member

    As you will be aware, the new State Government of Western Australia has indicated significant change will be made to the Western Australian immigration policy.

    While we recognise the new government’s need for a review of the WASMOL and the requirements of the WA RCB in relation to the RSMS program due to our transitioning economy, we are making representations to the WA State Government to ensure that WA’s skilled migration program is appropriate to the needs of industry and the development of the state.

    Accordingly, we seek your input to ensure that our submission is accurate and comprehensive. We wish to represent MIA members as the pre-eminent professional body with a comprehensive knowledge of the law, and to work with the new government to achieve a resolution that will satisfy the needs of all parties. Please consider this prior to making comments online as we do not wish to weaken our position by putting the new government offside.

    Representations will be both in person and in writing and need to be made as soon as possible.

    We should be obliged if you would respond to us with your suggestions for inclusion in our submission by 5 pm Tuesday 21 March 2017.

    Suggestions should be emailed to

    Kind regards

    WA MIA State Committee

  • Liana - Allan
    Liana - Allan Thursday, 23 March 2017

    It would appear that the MIA released their news on this a day after Migration Alliance. The MIA released their news on the 21 March and MIA members (majority are also Migration Alliance members) were given until the end of the same day, 21 March, to comment on it. I am aware that an agent in WA raised this with the MIA well before he raised it with Migration Alliance. Perhaps because Migration Alliance decided to do something about it, and put it in the media, that the MIA was left thinking it should probably get on and do something about this important issue, too. The MIA member who reported this to us told me that the MIA did not seem all that interested to take up the issue when he told them about it. I am glad we are able to put a rocket up the MIA. MIA members pay an annual fee for that kind of service.

  • Guest
    Lucinda Tuesday, 28 March 2017

    Any new news on RSMS for perth?? I was going to lodge the day that it got suspended.... not sure if it a good thing or a bad thing...

  • Guest
    Manrico Thursday, 30 March 2017

    Hi Lucinda,
    Check the Migration WA website, here's the link.

  • Guest
    Marc Ribber Wednesday, 29 March 2017

    Dear Liana,
    Any imminent action from Migration Alliance - MA towards lobbying for a resolution?
    I operate on Mr Dutton's electorate (Dickson), emailed his office requesting an interview to discuss Perth - when he is back in Strathpine, but no response.
    Also emailed MA a few weeks ago seeking assistance on another issue (coincidentally related to 187 - RCB in Byron Bay), and had no response.
    We need your help, this is serious enough to put many of us out of business. As Chris used to say on the beginning of MA, we need to fight the "dragon" together, being MA our Saint George.

  • Guest
    Michelle A Wednesday, 05 April 2017

    Just came across this post and I am glad i did! Can anyone shed some light on what would happen with a 187 lodged without an RCB! The visa was lodged and then was literally going to do the RCB the day it was suspended. I am aware the RCB should be gotten first but surely they are breaking the law as the RCB are not doing what they are employed to do by the Department as legally Perth is still a regional area? Please correct me if I am wrong!
    Any info would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks in advance :)

  • Guest
    Jessica Thursday, 22 June 2017

    Hi Michelle,
    I am in the same situation as you. Any news on what would happen? Have you taken any action?
    Thanks :D

  • Guest
    Janine Ward Wednesday, 21 June 2017

    Hi, Just heard on ABC radio that Federal Govt has agreed to removing Perth from RSMS. Can anyone confirm?

  • Guest
    linda geronimo Thursday, 22 June 2017

    Yes. The present WA government wants to protect the union members who it claims are
    being replaced by migrants. A long time ago, I arrived here in Australia for the first time as a permanent resident. I applied for a job as a copy editor with a government authority. I passed the written exam and interview with flying colours. Guess what? I did not get the job although I was prepared to join the union. I was told I was too qualified being a university graduate, and will disadvantage the union members who did not finish a university degree. And I WAS A PERMANENT RESIDENT AT THE TIME! C'EST LA VIE!

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