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


Josh · October 19, 2018 at 2:14 am

I lodged my employee nomination (186) around 3 months ago but now my company is folding and I’ve been made redundant. What would be my next steps moving forward? And will the nomination have to be paid all over again?
Thank you.

    Peng Cheng · October 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I’m sorry but the Department won’t be able to approve that application.
    You would need to pay the government fees again if you lodge new 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.

J C · October 15, 2018 at 10:08 pm

Hi Feng,

I was asked by the Dept of Home Affairs to provide FBI Police clearance certificate as well as the state police checks for my PR application. Will the FBI Police clearance certificate including fingerprints cover all the state police checks and suffice this requirement? Or do I still have to get the police check from each state since I used to live in Maryland and New York?


    Peng Cheng · October 19, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    FBI police clearance is generally sufficient.

      J C · October 21, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Thank you, Peng. Another quick question about the Form 80:

      23. Do you currently have a partner? —>If we have been dating but dont’ live together, should I tick yes? It’s not the same as de facto relationship, correct?

      44. Have you traveled to Australia before? → If I had never traveled to Australia before my 457 visa was granted, can I say NO?

      57. Have you been refused a visa for Australia? → If my first 186 visa application (Direct Entry) has been refused, shall I still tick yes?

        Peng Cheng · October 24, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        23: Sorry but I can’t provide advice based on your comment information.
        44: You can answer “yes” and enter your arrival date for your 457 visa.
        57. You should answer “yes” to this question.

          J C · October 24, 2018 at 11:54 pm

          Appreciate that, Peng! One last question:
          Could you advise where I’d upload those documents? Shall I upload them under Actions–>Attach Documents–>Additional Documents? After that, I press “I confirm I have provided information as needed” and the message will be sent to the case officer?


            Peng Cheng · November 1, 2018 at 7:38 pm

            Yes, you can upload Form 80 and your police clearance to the ‘character’ section. You can then press the ‘confirm’ button and this will notify the Department. You don’t need to send the Department a separate email.

Nadia Kidgell · October 2, 2018 at 12:27 am

Hi. Great blog.
We have been nominated, and submitted our visa 4 months ago. In the meantime, there has been another job offer. Can the new position nominate us without having to withdrawal our visa application, and will we get a refund if we need to withdrawal?
Many thanks.

    Peng Cheng · October 2, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Nadia,
    A pending application can’t be linked to a new business; you will need to lodge a new application for a new employer. Unfortunately you won’t be eligible for a refund if you choose to withdraw your current visa application.

JOEL MEDIL · September 30, 2018 at 8:17 am

hi there, i have lodge my online application visa subclass 186 for temporary residence transition and i want to cancel it, is this possible? i do not have nomination yet for my employer and i have not paid yet for the processing of the visa, is this possible to cancel the application? i had work for my employer for 2 years and 3 months and i want to change my employer. please i need you advice?

Tracy Kemp · September 28, 2018 at 7:50 am

Hi . My company has lodged a nomination for me on a 186 but I have not worked 2 years yet only 15 months.. Will The department still accept my application?

    Peng Cheng · September 28, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Tracy,
    Unfortunately I can’t provide advice about your visa eligibility just based on your comment information.
    Hope for your understanding that I would need to spend a bit of time with you to get relevant information from you and properly answer your queries and provide advice.
    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.

F D · September 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Can you please help me with a meter?
I have applied for the 186 direct entry 3 months ago. I’m on the bridging visa waiting for the 186 approval.
However, the company was sold and I don’t like the new company at all (the ABN is the same). I am thinking and quit the job. Is that possible to quit the nominated company and keep the process? Or do I need to find another nominated company to “take over” the nomination? Or this is not possible at all?
Thank you very much!! 🙂

    Peng Cheng · September 28, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Hi FD
    Unfortunately no, a 186 visa application can’t be transferred to a new business.

J C · September 18, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Dear Peng,

I was wondering if I could travel “inside” Australia using my BVA? I know I need BVB in order to travel outside Australia but if it’s only domestic traveling, is BVA ok?

    Peng Cheng · September 24, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Hi JC,
    As a holder of a BVA there are no restrictions on your movement within Australia; you are free to travel inside of Australia as it suits you.

Julian · August 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm

I just got last july my Permanent residency visa 186, after having done a sponsorship 457 Cafe/ restaurant manager in Hospitality
I signed indeed another 2 years employment contract as part of my Permanent residency application conditions last year.
I would like to resign from my employment in order to pursue my career in Hospitality perhaps in another establishment.

Am i able to do so, or I must stay longer otherwise to risk my permanent visa to be cancelled?

Thanks in advance.

Derek · August 29, 2018 at 10:08 am

Hi Peng,

I lodged my 457 visa application as a cafe manager at October 2016. The visa granted at June 2017 and it’s only valid for 2 years. How can I apply 186 visa before my 457 visa expires but also complete my full time 2 years work in this position? Does it mean I have to apply 186 visa before June 2019?


    Peng Cheng · August 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Hi Derek,
    It would be best to contact us if you need consultation and advice in relation to your application. It isn’t really possible to obtain the information/documents that we need, or provide detailed advice via these comment fields which are intended for short/specific queries.
    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.

David · August 28, 2018 at 8:59 pm

Hi there.

I have recently applied for my 186 TRTS Subclass visa and since then my employer has offered me the same position, salary, everything but in a different state. The company operates across numerous states so am I able to just update my contact details through immi or will I need to re-lodge the first section of the visa??


    Peng Cheng · August 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Hi David,
    Sorry but to properly respond to your queries, I’d need to ask some questions and get some information from you.
    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.

Iqbal kour · June 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Hi I have lodged my 186 visa file 24 June 2017 until today I didn’t get any response how long it will take more thanks

James Hogg · June 6, 2018 at 11:29 pm

Hi team,

Lodged my 186 visa 10 months ago. Finally allocated a case officer. My employers nomination has not yet been approved, but the case officer has requested me to do medical checks. Is this the standard procedure? I was under the impression the nomination would have to be approved first before they requested medical checks?

Thank you

    Peng Cheng · June 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Hi James,
    The Department can ask for your health and character documents before deciding the nomination application – this is just up to the case officer that is assessing your application.

      James · June 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks for your prompt reply ☺
      It just seems strange that the department would invite you to pay the amount of the medical and then refuse the nomination part. Does this mean both parts of the application are likely to be approved? Thanks in advance.

        Peng Cheng · June 9, 2018 at 12:31 pm

        This is probably just the Department completing the standard steps required for your application – I don’t think that this indicates the outcome for your application.

Uki · June 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Hello Team,
I lodged my 186 ENS on 28June2017. Finally the case officer is allocated.Immigration Case officer has requested further documentation on 12May2018. All the required documents has been sent across.How long further should I wait for my ENS to get approved? I am pretty confident everything is in order and case is quite strong. And also what will be the next process to get Permanent residency once the nomination is approved?

    Peng Cheng · June 5, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Hi Uki,
    Department can take anywhere between 4-8 weeks or longer to finalise an application once they have all required information and documents, although there is no set processing time for a final decision.
    Best of luck with your application.

      Uki · June 6, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Than you so much for your response.

Fred · May 30, 2018 at 10:37 am


I lodged my 186 direct entry on 28 oct 16, immigration replied the employer the nomination of 186 of me has approved yesterday after 19 months, but my visa stil under bridging, how long further should I wait for my PR approval?

    Peng Cheng · May 31, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Hi Fred,
    There is no set processing time, but I would estimate that it will take the Department a few months to finalise your visa application.

Waran · May 20, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Hi There,

My employer have lodged for employee nomination last week, how long does it take to get approved by department these days?

I am confident that it will be approved by the department so can I apply for PR before it get approved by the department?


Doddy · April 24, 2018 at 10:40 am

Hi Peng , what does happen if my wife can’t do the first entry of 186 visa ( dependent) on time ? Does that mean the permanent visa will be canceled or she can still come ?

    Peng Cheng · April 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Doddy,
    You can’t use that visa and she would need to apply for another visa in that case.

Tanna · March 28, 2018 at 6:00 am

My employer wants to nominate me under 186 (Direct Entry), his business under 1M AUD, so accounting is excluded due to caveats.
I worked as external Auditor for 1,5 years and for 2 years in Finance with internal audit functions.
There is a requirement for the employee to have 3 years of working experience, I have skills assessment as External Auditor from CPA.

Question – can i combine my external and internal audit experience in order to have 3,5 years in total and apply as external auditor?( I know that IA and EA are considered closely related occupations and are sharing the same group code). What to do in this case?

Thanks a lot

    Peng Cheng · March 28, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Tanna,
    Question – can i combine my external and internal audit experience in order to have 3,5 years in total and apply as external auditor? Yes since these are in the same ANZSCO group.

      Tanna · March 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      THANKS a lot for your reply!

      But it is OK to have skills assessment only as External Auditor?

      Shall i receive experience assessment from
      CPA as EA and VETASSES as IA?

        Peng Cheng · April 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm

        Unfortunately I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
        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.

      SS · April 27, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Peng, I have a question regarding training benchmark missed to pay for the initial year. My visa is under grandfathering old 457 rule. Please advise me how could I meet the training requirements. Thank you!

        Peng Cheng · April 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        Hi SS,
        I’m sorry but it would take me a bit of time to answer your queries since these aren’t really simple ‘yes or no’ questions. There are a few legal complications that I would need to explain in my response, and I would also need to spend some time to get relevant background history and information from you.
        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.

Javier · March 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm


I have a question, actually I am under a 457 visa, I started working full time in Australia first for a period of 12 months in Australia, then I moved to NZ with same company for a new project (13 months), then I returned for a new project to Australia (9 months). The thing is that I already have in total 21 months full time worked in Australia.

To apply under Temporary Residence Transition Stream, the 2 years full-time work have to be continuously in time or it can be like my case, discontinuous in time but if you put together you obtain the 2 years full time work????

Many Thanks in advance,
Javier A.

    Peng Cheng · March 15, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Javier,
    For the Temporary Residence Transition Stream, you can only count employment with the Australian sponsor from the last 3 years before the date of lodgement of your application.

Pavlo · March 12, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Hi Peg,
just want to ask if I can have a second job on 186 visa, and if yes – do i have to notify immigration department about it?

    Peng Cheng · March 15, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Pavlo,
    You can have as many job you want to while you are on 187, and you don’t have to notify the Department.

Kashmira · March 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Hello sir
I applied for ens direct entry system and my employer also applied for nomination together but the nomination was rejected because of some financial issues so I withdraw my visa application. My migration agent told me that I will get refund but today I got mail that immigration department refused my refund request so what should I do.

    Peng Cheng · March 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Kashmira,
    Sorry but the Department generally does not provide refunds just because the application was refused – you may need to discuss this with your migration agent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *