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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 of the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme

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.

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

Where can I apply from? You can apply from either outside Australia or inside Australia.
Where can I receive the visa? You can receive the visa either outside Australia or inside Australia.
What family members can I include? Children under the age of 23 and spouses or de facto partners. Children over 18 must be financially dependent on you.
Can the health requirement  be waived for this visa? This visa does not allow for waiver of the health requirement.
How long does this visa last for? 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 .

Processing Time

Stream 75 per cent of applications processed 90 per cent of applications processed
Temporary Residence Transition stream 12 months 13 months
Direct Entry stream 11 months 16 months
Agreement stream Unavailable due to low volume of applications. Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

Note: Processing Time May Vary

Visa Details

  • Visa Subclass : 186
  • Length Of Stay : Permanently
  • Cost : From AUD 3,670