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Employer Sponsored Visa

Employer Nomination Scheme - Subclass 186

Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visas are permanent residence visas. The scheme allows an employer to sponsor a worker to work in a position anywhere in Australia. However, if the position is located outside of the major Australian cities, in most cases it will be best to use a subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa as they have easier requirements for applicants and lower fees for sponsors.

This page focuses on the direct entry stream of subclass 186. For more information about the other streams, see the temporary residence transition page or the labour agreement page.

Direct entry stream

As the name suggests, the direct entry stream allows employers to nominate workers directly for permanent residence, without them having to hold any other visa first and without negotiating a labour agreement. There are two steps to the subclass 186 direct entry stream process:

  1.  The employer lodges a nomination application specifying the position and the person they are nominating.
  2.  The employee lodges a visa application.

The nomination and application can be lodged on the same day, but the nomination will be considered before the application and will need to be approved before the application can be approved.

The temporary residence transition stream

There are two class of applicants who may apply through the temporary residence transition stream (TRT );

  1. Those who had applied for or held a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, and
  2. Those who applied for a 457 or 482 visa after 18 April 2017.

If your 457 visa was applied for pre 18 April 2017 and subsequently granted, you can apply for the 186 visa once you have worked with your sponsor for a minimum of two years whilst the holder of this visa, on the basis of grandfathering arrangements set out by the Department of Home Affairs. In this situation, you must not be over 50 years of age.

If your 457/482 visa was granted after 18 April 2017, you must have an occupation on the MLTSSL, and can then apply for the 186 visa once you have worked for your sponsor for three years whilst the holder of this visa. This classof applicants cannot apply for the 186 visa if they have an occupation on the STSOL. Such applicants cannot apply for the 186 visa if they have an occupation on the STSOL, unless they are located in a regional area, and have worked for the nominating employer for three years whilst the holder of a 457 or 482 visa. Applicants in this situation must not be over 45 years of age.

All applicants in this stream must demonstrate that they have earned the salary nominated in their 457/482 nomination in each relevant year.

The agreement stream

The Agreement Stream is for people who hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) Subclass 457 visa and are sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement. To be eligible, you must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

Nomination criteria

In order to successfully nominate someone under the Employer Nomination Scheme direct entry stream, the nomination must meet several criteria, including:

  1. Spending a certain amount of money per year on training Australian employees or contributing to an industry training fund.
  2. Proving that the nominating business is actively and lawfully operating in Australia
  3. Showing that the position is a full-time position available for at least two years with the possibility of extending beyond two years
  4. Satisfying the Immigration Department that the nominee will not be subject to worse conditions than the sponsor’s Australian employees
  5. Specifying an occupation for the nominated position which is on the STSOL

Visa eligibility criteria

The major criteria for applying for a subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa in the direct entry stream are:

  1. A positive skills assessment for the occupation that the candidate has been nominated for
  2. Achieving a high enough standard in English IELTS 6 or equivalent
  3. Being aged between 18 and 45. Some exceptions apply for applicants who are over 45
  4. Standard health and character criteria

Common problems for applicants and sponsors

In our experience with the Employer Nomination Scheme, these are the major pitfalls that can occur on the way to migrating to Australia via this visa:

  1. It’s important to nominate the correct occupation for the position you are nominating. The nominated occupation can be the difference between visa grant and visa refusal, and you cannot change your mind after the application has been lodged.
  2. We recommend that visa applicants attend an English test as soon as possible after deciding to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa, if you have not already achieved the required level of English in the last three years.
  3. If you want to apply from within Australia, always be aware of your current visa’s expiry date and conditions. Letting a visa expire with out applying for a new one can have severe consequences, even if you try to apply the next day

Red Earth Migration can assist you to work out the correct nominated occupation, advise on the best English test to suit you and keep you informed about work with you to make sure your visa application is lodged before your current visa expires.

Subclass 186 direct entry applicant FAQ

You can apply from either outside Australia or inside Australia.

You can receive the visa either outside Australia or inside Australia.

Children under the age of 23 and spouses or de facto partners. Children over 18 must be financially dependent on you.

This visa does not allow for waiver of the health requirement.

This is a permanent visa with a five-year travel facility. This means you can stay in Australia permanently but if you want to leave and return after five years you must apply for a resident return visa .

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