The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme is the term for work permits 119 and 857. It's not suitable for contract workers generally because of the restrictions on work location.
Under this scheme employers can bring skilled labour into reional or low population growth areas of Australia for full-time, permanent work. There is a test to show that the labour can't be sourced from the local work force. It is a bit easier to qualify for employers and employees than the 457 business sponsored work permit scheme because there are far less resources in regional Australia and it is harder to attract workers to these places.
In effect the scheme covers all regions of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, NSW Central Coast and Canberra (in fact all of ACT). But you can also check whether your postcode is covered - please see the page Eligible Regional Australia Low Population Growth Areas.
Employers can nominate candidates who are either overseas or in Australia on temporary visas. The nominated candidates can bring their accompanying family with them.
The role must meet a few criteria to be considered valid (although exceptions are made).
- It must be in one of the regional areas mentioned
- It must be shown to be unable to be filled by a local employee (Australian Citizen)
- It must be full time work and available for at least 2 years
- It must be skilled work, i.e work that requires qualifications of at least Australian diploma or Trade Certificate with full apprenticeship level
The candidate must also meet a few criteria:
- They should be less than 45 years old (although exceptions are made)
- They should be able to speak functional english.
- They, and their family, must meet the minimum health and character requirements. Note that this can be quite strictly enforced as proven by this controversial case in October 2008 regarding a German Doctor providing crucial services in regional Victoria whose permanent residency application was turned down because his son has Down Syndrome.
What does this visa let me do?
This visa allows you and any dependent family members included in your visa application to live as permanent residents in Australia.