10 Useful Things to Know | 186 visa

The below are the 10 most common questions that I receive in relation to the Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 visa.

Also, in this post, we outline the eligibility requirements for the 186 visa for the primary visa applicant in detail.

10 Useful Things to Know - 186 visa

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 processing time for the 187 nomination and visa applications increased significantly in 2017. The Department’s current processing times are approximately:. The Department’s current processing times are approximately:

Direct entry stream: 12-18 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application (we do note that the Department’s current processing time varies a lot at the moment. We do tend to find that applications by larger businesses are generally assessed with quicker processing times, perhaps due to the Department having less concerns with such applications in terms of the business’ need for the nominated role, and the business’ capacity to pay the proposed salary)

Temporary residency transition stream: 12-18 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.

Please also see Department website in relation to current processing time information:

Stream75 per cent of applications processed90 per cent of applications processed
Temporary Residence Transition stream12 months13 months
Direct Entry stream11 months16 months
Agreement streamUnavailable due to low volume of applications.Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

Please do not ask me to predict the processing time for your application, or why there is a long delay with the processing of your application. I honestly do not have an answer for you. If you want an update in relation to your application, you will need to contact the Department.

Can I contact DIAC or my case officer directly and ask for an update on my application?

You can certainly do this. It is your application so even if you have a solicitor or migration agent acting for you. You can call up or email yourself and ask for an update.

But do not be surprised if this does not achieve much. Following up with the Department is not going to result in faster processing for your application. It may be difficult to contact your case officer directly, and you may not receive a clear response or any useful information (or any response at all).

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 once the visa is approved. What is going to happen?

As part of the application, your sponsor makes the commitment that the nominated position will be available for 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.

I am going to assume that sponsor has lodged the 186 nomination application and that the Department has not made a decision yet. You may or may not have lodged the 186 visa application. In this situation, if for whatever reason, the nominated position is no longer available, or if your sponsor is no longer able to make the commitment that is outlined above, then your sponsor’s nomination application no longer meets the eligibility requirements for nomination approval. Once your employer has determined that the eligibility requirements are no longer met, the nomination application should be withdrawn (and any associated visa application should also be withdrawn since the visa application cannot be approved without an approved nomination).

The above scenario can result from any number of causes, and may not be caused by the visa applicant at all. Below are some examples that I have encountered:

a) Due to my sponsor’s business slowing down, my nominated position has been made redundant / my employer is no longer able to provide me with full-time work / my employer cannot make the commitment that the nominated position will be available to me for 2 years from the date of visa approval; and

b) Due to personal circumstances (e.g. illness, situation with family member etc.), I am no longer able to work in the nominated role.

The cause can basically be any reason. It may be due to the action or situation of the sponsor, or the visa applicant. The result should be the same though. A ENS 186 visa is a permanent residency visa that is associated with a particular approved nominated position. If the nomination position is no longer available, or if the role no longer meets the eligibility requirements, then the nomination application should be withdrawn.

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?

I have heard of all sorts of reasons for why people want or need to leave his or her employer. The below are just some examples:

  1. My employer is making me do duties which are not in my nominated role – I do not want to do these tasks
  2. My employer is not paying me the salary that was specified in my contract and/or visa application
  3. The ownership of my employing company has changed – I do not get along with the new management / owner
  4. I have been offered a role with another company and I want to take this
  5. My employer no longer needs my services and they have terminated my employment

Once you become an Australian permanent resident, the situation does change a bit. Generally speaking, there is nothing from a migration law perspective that can really prevent you from changing your employer or your role.

People tend to worry about whether their permanent residency visa will be cancelled if they leave their employer before completing 2 years of employment. But I would say that this generally will not occur unless you have provided the Department with ‘false or misleading information, or bogus documents either knowingly or otherwise’.

In my view, 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 clear evidence of fraud or misleading behaviour in relation to your visa application.

Do I need to work for 3 years on a 457 and/or 482 TSS visa in the nominated position before I can apply for a ENS 186 visa?

Not necessarily. There are three eligibility pathways which you can satisfy in order to obtain a 186 visa. Completing 3 years of work as a 457 and/or 482 TSS visa holder in the nominated role with your sponsoring employer is just one of the pathways, which is called the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Have a read of this post which explains the Temporary Residence Transition Stream and the pathway under the Direct Entry Stream.

The following transitional arrangements only apply if you held a Primary 457 visa, or was applying for a Primary 457 visa, on 18 April 2017:

Two years of work as a 457 (and 482 TSS if applicable) visa holder: The primary applicant only needs to have at least two years of full-time work as a 457 and/or 482 TSS visa holder in the last three years under these transitional arrangements. You must complete these two years of work with your sponsoring employer for your 186 nomination and visa applications, and in the nominated role which was approved for your 457 and/or 482 TSS visa. You can also count time on a bridging visa, if you were applying for a 457 or 482 TSS visa application, and you were already the holder of a 457 or 482 TSS visa. You must complete the full two years of work before your sponsoring employer lodges their nomination application, and you lodge your visa application.

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 TSS visa holder (not any other visas). The employment must be with the sponsor for your 186 visa. You cannot count employment with a previous employer.

Your work as a 457  and/or 482 TSS visa holder must be 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 with a different role, even if it is with the employer that is sponsoring you for the 186 visa).

What is the English language requirement for the 186 visa?

I have outlined English language requirement and the available exemptions. This post also covers the English language requirement for included dependents that are over the age of 18 years.

How much should I be paid if I obtain a 186 visa? What if I am not paid the salary specified in my contract and the nomination application?

Have a read of the ‘Market Rate’ requirement. If your sponsor is not paying you the salary specified in my contract and the nomination application, then this is more of a contract law and employment law issue. You can notify the Department, but I am not sure what action, if any, the Department would take in such a situation.

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).

Do I need a positive skills assessment outcome for my nominated occupation?

You need a positive skills assessment for your nominated occupation if you are applying under the skills assessment pathway of the  Direct Entry Stream.


Client reviews


Alberto Lopez · March 6, 2018 at 9:56 am


I lodged a 186 visa in December I got my Bridging Visa C with work conditions. My student agent introduced a withdrawal to the student application that I was before I lodged the 186. I don’t know what happened that my student visa got approved last week although my student agent introduced the withdrawal on the 2nd of February.

Can I work more than 20 hours now?

Thanks you.

    Peng Cheng · March 15, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Alberto,
    You are subject to the conditions of your student visa if this is the visa that you hold.

Preeti · February 27, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Hello, I just wanted to get some clarification on travelling overseas. I am on 457 and will be applying for 186 in the month if September this year, I need to travel overseas in October for a month, will I be allowed to do so while I have applied and waiting on a decision. My current 457 expires in 2020. Please advise..thanks

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Preeti,
    Yes you can travel and return on your current 457 visa.

      Divyap · May 26, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      Hi Pheng,

      I have applied for subclass 190 visa and awaiting invitation.
      My current 457 expires in September this year and my dependents are not here.

      Once I get the invitation and apply for permanent residence visa, will I get the bridge visa immediately?

      If yes, post this if my family travels to Melbourne before dependent 457 expires, how do I get the bridge visa for them while my permanent residence visa gets processed?

        Peng Cheng · May 29, 2018 at 1:55 am

        Hi Divyap,
        Once I get the invitation and apply for permanent residence visa, will I get the bridge visa immediately?
        Yes the Department will send you an email after lodgement.
        If yes, post this if my family travels to Melbourne before dependent 457 expires, how do I get the bridge visa for them while my permanent residence visa gets processed?
        I think they need to be in Australia at the time of lodgement to get a bridging visa

Syed · February 27, 2018 at 9:59 am

My 457 grant says “Your visa has been granted with condition 8501 which means that you must maintain fully
comprehensive health insurance while you are in Australia.”

I have applied for 186 and enrolled in Medicare as I am granted bridging visa which will be in effect from the date the current 457 visa is expired.

My question is – do I need to still maintain my private comprehensive cover to maintain current 457 visa?

Many thanks in advance

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Syed,
    Your Medicare should be sufficient but I suggest that you confirm this with the Department.

Anna Linda · February 23, 2018 at 1:38 am

Hi! I have a question re. the 186 Visa. On the governmental website, under “Expression of Interest” (https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa-1/186-), it states:

“If you do not have an employer who will nominate you, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Prospective employers and state and territory governments can then view your details and decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration.”

But when we login to SkillSelect EOI, and it states: “The EOI for this subclass is able to be completed.” When I click on “Apply Visa”, I get a pop up window where it states: “In order to lodge an application for this visa type, the employer must have already begun their nomination application. You will need their Transaction Reference Number (TRN) to continue.”

Then we are asked: “Do you wish to start lodging a visa application for this visa now?” YES or NO.

How do we proceed? Can we proceed? Thanking you in advance.

Best regards,

Anna Linda

    Peng Cheng · February 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Hi Anna,
    You need an employer sponsorship for a 186 visa, which is the TRN from nomination application.

      Lyly · April 9, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Peng Cheng,

      So before get the employer sponsorship, we should not lodge the EOI under 186 sub-class?


        Peng Cheng · April 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Hi Lyly,
        You don’t need to lodge an EOI for a 186 visa application. You can go ahead and lodge the nomination and visa applications directly, once you have an eligible employer and role.

Fe · February 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm


I am currently on 457 Visa and it’s my third year. The company is applying me for Visa 186 (PR). Unfortunately, I have a son that i think will fail on PR as he has some developmental delay. My question now are as follows:

1. if my son fails on the medical exam, will the primary applicant (which is me) fail as well?
2. Is it possible for just me to apply for PR instead of my whole family? (still company sponsored).

All i want is for me to have the PR visa so i can work legally in Australia. The agent the company contacted always telling me that if my son fails, i also fails the PR.

Please enlighten me on this issue.


    Peng Cheng · February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Fe,
    I am sorry but for a 186 permanent residency application, your son (if he is under 18 and dependent on you) will need to satisfy the health requirements, even if he is not included in your application.

Eloise · February 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm


My company nominated a few months ago for a 457 as we didn’t know I was eligible for the 186 – direct entry
It is the 1st time my company is sponsoring someone and we just received the SBS/NOM approval for the 457. Can it be use or partially use for my 186 as well?


    Peng Cheng · February 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Eloise,
    Sorry but the applications for the 186 nomination and visa are separate and different to the 457.

Nisanth · February 6, 2018 at 12:52 am

Hai sir
Am a 476 visa holder for the past 1 year and i have another 6 month validity on this visa. I have 1 year experience in nominated occupation under 476 visa. And my employer is also willing to sponsor me for 186 visa. I need to know that whether my 1 year experience is enough for ENS 186 visa or not? Please give me a guidance

    Peng Cheng · February 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Hi Nisanth,
    Sorry but you need 3 years of relevant experience: https://www.myaccessaustralia.com/employer-nomination-scheme-subclass-186-visa/

      Beno · March 16, 2018 at 12:15 am

      My employer lodged a 186 visa nomination. It got rejected due to shortage of documents.I submitted applications for appealing both nomination and Visa. We also lodged a new nomination under direct entry.
      I don’t have 3 year’s experience as a Mechanical engineer.
      My question is if the nomination got approved this time and I lodge a visa application, will it get rejected as I don’t have 3 year’s experience?.

        Peng Cheng · March 22, 2018 at 8:41 pm

        Hi Beno,
        You do need 3 years of relevant work experience when you lodge your application for a 186 visa – or I don’t think that the Department can approve your visa application.

RR · January 31, 2018 at 9:53 am

Hi Peng, for a new 186 visa application, is it mandatory (based on all the new changes announced since April 2017) to submit a ‘genuine need’ assessment at the time of lodgement ? Or should you wait and submit it only if the department asks for it? Thanks so much for your help.

    Peng Cheng · February 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Hi RR,
    Department can decide your applications just based on the information provided, without asking the business or yourself for further information – hence suggest that you upload all relevant documents.

ravneet · January 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm

hi sir
I need to apply PR through TRT,m in country side area so can I apply 186 under TRT .

    Peng Cheng · February 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    You can apply under the TRT stream in regional areas.

Rohit · January 29, 2018 at 1:17 pm

Hi Peng,

I Just want to know that, Is there any validity of medical test done for the 186 visa. I have done my medical straight away after applying for the application, just wondering if the processing time is delayed by Department do I need to do the medical again.


    Peng Cheng · February 4, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Health results are considered to be valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Max K · January 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

Hello ,

Is there any health examination requirements for the Temporary Residence Transition stream ?

It doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere in the required documents.

    Peng Cheng · February 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Max,
    Yes you need to complete health exams for the TRT stream – instructions can be accessed via your Immiaccount after lodgement.

Layla · January 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Dear Sir,
I got 186 permanet residency about 12 months ago and employer sponcered me for the job.
I also have had 4 years before applying for 186 visa.
I am in a rural area and I am getting bored here, so I want to move to melbourne or sydney.
Can I leave my employer now? Before 2 years post visa grant?
And should I inform immigration in advanced?
Please respond my questions?

Peng Cheng · January 26, 2018 at 10:00 am

Hi Sarah,
These items are probably required for the case officer to decide the relevant applications.
Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

Archana · June 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi Peng,

I have applied for 186 visa under transit stream case officer is already been allotted, now the hurdle in my case is that i have included my mother also in my visa application who lives in India. She is dependent on me since 2002 because my father died and i am her only child. I have been living here in melbourne since 2010 with my wife and one child on 457 visa. My mother in India is withdrawing money from my bank on monthly basis.
I attached my fathers death certificate as a evidence that she is widow and me and my mothers passport as a proof of same residence and also the last 12 months of bank statement of my account from which she is been widrawing money still she is not convinced to grant her visa. I dont know what to do how to convince her ,when we came here first we did not know that we would be having plans to live here for long so we did not bring her with us. But now as we are applying permanent residency have have long stay plans we have to include her in our application so that she has the option to stay with us because sooner or the later she has to stay with usbecause there is no one else to take care of her in India as she is growing old also. Please tell me what to do.

Thanks Archana

    Peng Cheng · June 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    You need to prove financial dependency – I can see that you have done this. I’m not in a position to give specific advice.

Perle · June 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Hi Peng, we are holding 457 visa which is going to expired end of July. Our nomination for 187 visa is approved and we’ll need to lodge the application soon in order to obtain the bridging. The problem is we have a newborn (born in Australia) who is still waiting for her passport but she won’t get the passport until September.

I called immigration for advices twice and got two conflicting answers. The first agent told me to not include her name in the application and write a cover letter to the CO to say that we’ll add her to the application as soon as we receive her passport and to include her birth certificate as a supporting document. The other agent said we needed to put her name in the application before lodgement since she’s already existed. But because we don’t have the passport number we’d have to put something in the passport no. field (as well as dates) otherwise the online application can’t be completed. However, that’d be a false information and that the application may be rejected. My questions are what would be the best way to pursue? Can we add the child to the application later and if yes, would she still receive a bridging visa when our 457 visa runs out at the end of July? Thank you.

    Peng Cheng · June 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Hi Perle,
    I would just include a letter stating that your daughter is included in the application but passport is pending – including birth certificate if you have this. A baby born to a visa holder holds the same visa as the visa holder, whether that be a bridging visa or 457 visa.

Karen · June 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm

My employer lodged my nomination 3 days before my sponsorship 2 years was up, I lodged my application a week after my 2 years was up, a case officer called my employer and said that both me and my employer have to withdraw the applications and there is no refund as it does not meet the criteria, is this true?

    Peng Cheng · June 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Karen,
    For the 2 year pathway, you need to lodge after you satisfy the requirement – wording is: before the nominator made the application. So sounds right sorry.

Trica Keane · May 29, 2013 at 12:27 am

Ok I will try and rephrase the question, is it possible to change from a 163 business visa to a 186/187. Thanks. Do you have any prior experience of this visa change.



mira · May 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

hi peng

i applied for 186visa on 12th feb 2013. i have 6years pre qualification work experience and 2years post qualification work experience as a pastry cook.

i just want to know that if my visa application will be refused can i apply onshore 457visa?

thank you

    Peng Cheng · May 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Mira,
    Sorry I don’t conduct eligibility assessment through the comments.

Lee · May 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

457 visa is bond with condition that the visa holder MUST work with the sponsored employer.

Is 186 visa the same? Or after getting 186 visa can the visa holder change his job and work something/somewhere new?

Khan · May 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Hi Peng,
I am in the process of an RSMS visa of a Retail Manager, the nomination has approved last week. I have done Graduate Diploma in Financial Management last July, majors are accounting, enrolled now in Master of Commerce. I am working on the same position as a part Store manager for last 27 months including 5 months full time after my diploma. Before that I worked 13 months as a full time retail manager in Australia with another company. Regional Development Australia directed me to this visa last year in an information session. Do you think I have sufficient experience to qualify for the visa?

    Peng Cheng · May 10, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Hi Khan,
    3 years of relevant experience may be sufficient since your qualifications don’t seem to be relevant – you need to properly experience your relevant experience.

      Khan · May 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you Peng for replying. My experience is as below. I looked after our family business back in 1998 to 2003 as a manager, it was a small business of reasonable size, the burden was too much so I closed business in 2003 and joined my brother in his school business until 2009 when I moved to Australia. I got a retail manager position with an employer in Westfield shopping centre Brisbane I looked after 3 kiosk model shops for them for 13 months until August 2010and then I had to move to part time because my visa conditions changed until Jan 2011 I worked their and moved to another place with same employer but different company and different business and since Feb 2011 to date I am on same part time store manager position. I finished my diploma in June 2012 and am continuing to be an accountant and the boss offered a full time role. I did work full time between sep 2012 to Jan 2013. I have done master in language. But this diploma is my only complete qualification in business, RDA said a closely related qualification will work, I dont know.

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