The Subclass 187 visa was abolished on 16 November 2019, but why is it still haunting us?

Whilst the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – Subclass 187 Direct Entry Visa closed to new applications on 16 November 2019, the transition stream for 187 remains open.

The Australian Government introduced an interesting legislative amendment on 31 October 2019 when they issued yet another definition of “Transitional 457 Worker” which only applies to the RSMS transitional arrangements.

“A transitional 457 worker means a person who held a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa at any time occurring on or after 18 April 2017.”

And to make matters more confusing, there is an entirely separate definition of a “Transitional 482 Worker” who can also access the RSMS transitional arrangements.

“A transitional 482 worker means a person who, on the 20th March 2019, held or applied for a Subclass 482 Visa, with an occupation on the Medium Long Term List.”

The original definition of Transitional 457 Worker enables certain applicants access the Subclass 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme Visa.  This definition requires the visa holder to hold, or have applied for, a 457 visa, on 18 April 2017.  However, the newest Transitional 457 Worker definition was supposed to open a very real opportunity for permanent residence for 457 workers in regional Australia.  So why is this not the case?

Based on the above definition, a person would not be eligible for the transitional Subclass 187  if they do not hold a 457 visa on their 3rd year anniversary with their Sponsor or if they do not hold a 482 visa with an occupation on the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (‘MLTSSL’).  This eliminates all 457/482 visa holders after 18 April 2017 with occupations on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (‘STSOL’) despite having worked in regional Australia for their Sponsor.

The Australian Government introduced the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 494) visa on 16 November 2019 to replace the Subclass 187 visa.  Visa holders who would have been eligible for the transitional 187 visa but for the new definition, must now consider a pathway to permanent residence under the new Subclass 494 visa whereby they must work for at least three years whilst holding a 494 visa.

The Department has allocated a total of 9,000 places annually to the 494 program.  If you would like our consultants to assess your eligibility for the regional visa, please contact us on (+61) 2 8234 8400 or email us at