186 visa – 10 Useful Things to Know

Orange background with no.10. 186 visa

No. 1: What are the most common reasons that cause 186 visa application refusals?

The most common reason for the Department to refuse 186 visa applications would be due to the Department refusing the business 186 nomination application, which is nominating your full-time role. There are a number of requirements that need to be satisfied by your sponsoring business and your nominated role for the Department to approve the business’ 186 nomination application – examples of how the nomination application can fail these requirements include:


  • Your nominated salary for the 186 nomination failing to satisfy the ‘market salary’ requirement
  • Your employer’s financial position indicates that the business will not be able to pay your nominated salary and/or raises concerns in relation to the financial viability of the business
  • Your employer’s size, products/services and/or financial position indicates that the business does not have a need for your nominated full-time role
  • Your nominated role and work duties do not align with your nominated ANZSCO occupation description and duties


No. 2: I’ve lodged my 186 visa application, and the company has lodged the nomination application. How long is it going to take to process?

The Department’s current (July 2024) processing times are approximately:

Direct entry stream: 6-12 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application


Temporary residency transition stream: 6-12 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application


Please note that the above information is only providing estimated processing time information based on our recent experience, and actual processing times will vary for each individual application. Generally speaking, more complicated applications which may have issues satisfying the relevant legal requirements may take the Department longer to assess and decide.

No. 3: Can I contact the Department or my case officer directly and ask for an update on my application?

You can, or your representative can do this on your behalf. However, generally speaking, the Department will not provide you with a personalised response to follow-up emails. Unfortunately, the Department generally sends generic responses with processing time information. 


No. 4: I have obtained my 186 visa. However, I need to leave my employer before I have completed 2 years of post visa approval employment. What is going to happen to my visa?

186 visa holders tend to worry about whether their permanent residency visa will be cancelled if they leave their employer before completing 2 years of employment. 

From our experience, even if the Department is informed about your cessation of employment, they will not act to cancel your permanent residency visa unless they are provided with some evidence of fraud or misleading behaviour in your visa application. For example, leaving your visa sponsor shortly after your 186 visa is approved may cause the Department to investigate.

No. 5: I’ve lodged my 186 visa application and/or the company has lodged the nomination application. However, ‘something’ has come up and I don’t think that I will be able to work in the nominated position. What is going to happen?

As part of the 186 nomination application, your employer/sponsor needs to confirm that your nominated position will be available for at least 2 years on a full-time basis from the date of visa approval. Also, the terms and conditions of your employment cannot exclude the possibility of you extending your employment beyond the initial 2 years.

If your nominated position is no longer available, then your employer/sponsor may need to consider withdrawing their 186 nomination application if they no longer need this.

Unfortunately, the Department can’t approve a 186 visa application if the employer withdraws the 186 nomination application, or if the Department becomes aware that the nomnated role is no longer available.

No. 6: For the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, can I count work from another employer, or work that I completed while holding a visa other than a 457 or 482 TSS visa?

You can only count the duration of your employment as a 457  or 482 visa holder (not any other visas). The employment must be with the sponsor for your 186 visa. Generally speaking, you cannot count employment with a previous employer.

Your work as a 457  and/or 482 visa holder must be in the same role, or a similar role, as the role that is the subject of the 186 visa application (i.e. you cannot count employment in a different role, even if it is with the employer that is sponsoring you for the 186 visa).

To prevent inefficiencies resulting from the 457/TSS visa ceasing a few days short of a visa holder meeting the two year requirement and necessitating obtaining a further TSS visa to meet this requirement, decision makers can consider applications where lodgement has occurred a few days prior to the two year date in consultation with Program Management.

No. 8: What is the English language requirement for the 186 visa?

Please see post in relation to the English language requirement for th 186 visa, and the available exemption. This post also covers the English language requirement for dependent family members that are 18 years old or older.

No. 9: Do I need to work for 2 years as a 482 TSS visa holder before I can apply for a ENS 186 visa?


You may be able to apply earlier under the Direct Entry Stream if you have 3 years of full-time relevant work experience, and a skill assessment for your nominated occupation.


No. 10: I’m on a 457 or 482 TSS visa. I can submit a 186 visa application without my employer’s sponsorship?

No. You must be sponsored by an employer in order to lodge a 186 visa application. You cannot even start the online 186 visa application form until your employer has at least started to prepare the 186 nomination application (you need the reference ID from the nomination application in order to start the visa application).

Peng Cheng - Migration Agent, Sydney



Over 15 years of specialised visa and migration law experience. We have a long history of high approval rates with complex applications and Tribunal appeals.

We can generally guarantee approval for most types of applications. We will refund you our professional fees if your application is refused. Terms & conditions apply.

We are with you all the way, and we will help you prepare the best application possible.



Registered Migration Agent (MARN: 1172863)

Bachelor of Laws (Hons) – University of Sydney

Bachelor of Economics – University of Sydney



Amrit · July 22, 2024 at 12:04 am

Hi, my question is about my work experience and visa options. My temporary residence (TR) will end in November, and by that time, I will have 2.8 years of experience. If I apply for the 482 visa now, can I switch to the 186 Direct Entry visa after four months when I reach three years of full-time experience, or do I need to stay on the 482 visa for two years?”

    My Access Australia · July 23, 2024 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Amrit,
    You can apply for the Direct Entry stream once you satisfy the relevant requirements – you don’t necessarily need to complete 2 years of work for the TRT stream.

Kushum · July 15, 2024 at 12:47 pm

Hi Peng,

We were planning to apply for 186 DE, the scenario is company went on loss for this financial year.
Can we still apply for the 186 visa in this situation.

    My Access Australia · July 15, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    Hi Kushum,
    I would need to check your employer’s information and documents before I can say whether your role is eligible.
    Please book a consultation time if you need assistance with such an assessment and visa eligibility advice.

Naa-ilah · July 11, 2024 at 11:13 am

Good Day

I wanted to know if I need to go with my company’s immigration lawyers or If I can submit my direct entry 186 application independently after they complete their nomination?


    My Access Australia · July 12, 2024 at 10:06 am

    Hi Naa-ilah,
    You can directly lodged your own application.

Gabriela Coelho · July 11, 2024 at 1:01 am


I’m current on a 482 VISA and my 186 VISA has just been lodged. But it appears that the business will offer a redundancy soon due to internal issues at the company. If the 186 is already lodged .. is there a way that I can keep on a Bridging visa before the 186 until the 186 is approved? Or if they offer me a redundancy the application will be automatically withdrawn? Thanks!!

    My Access Australia · July 12, 2024 at 10:06 am

    Hi Gabriela,
    The 186 nomination application lodged by the business is only withdrawn if the business contacts the Department to withdraw this application.

Saif · July 9, 2024 at 1:53 pm

Hi sir,
I have about 34 months of relevant work experience (2.8 years), Can I apply for the 186 Visa or should I wait until I get exactly 3 years of experience?
And also, does the university internship (Professional Placement) consider a work experience?

    My Access Australia · July 10, 2024 at 8:08 am

    Hi Saif,
    You need 3 years of work experience for the 186 visa.
    Generally speaking, you can’t count work experience before you completed your relevant qualification.

Sankar · March 26, 2024 at 6:03 pm


One of the visa condition for 186 ENS-TRT scheme is that ‘have been nominated by an Australian employer whose nomination was approved in the 6 months before you apply’. which means, do I need to lodge my visa after 6 months from the date of nomination approval ?

    My Access Australia · April 22, 2024 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Sankar
    You need to lodge the 186 visa application within 6 months of the Department approving the 186 nomination application.

      Carlos · July 16, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      Do you guys know how long the wait for the PR grant is, if you wait for the application to be approved, and then submit the pr application?

        My Access Australia · July 16, 2024 at 9:53 pm

        Hi Carlos,
        Around 6-12 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application.

          Annju · July 19, 2024 at 4:15 pm

          How much time is 186 Direct entry application taking these days? My application was lodged in June, 2024, keen to know the processing time

            My Access Australia · July 19, 2024 at 8:27 pm

            The Department’s current (July 2024) processing times are approximately:
            Direct entry stream: 6-12 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application
            Temporary residency transition stream: 6-12 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application

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