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



Philipp Springer · February 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

I’ve got my 186 visa granted 5 month ago. Now it looks like I might have the opportunity to work one year in Canada for the same corporation. My employment status would change though. Do I have to apply for a resident return visa to be able to re-enter in one year or is it impossible for me to leave and hold my 186 visa? What do I need to do?
thank you

    Peng Cheng · February 26, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Philipp,
    If you look at the grant notice you should have 5 years of international travel. You can enter Australia while the visa is valid.

singh · February 11, 2019 at 9:22 am

Hi t?here, I am on 457 visa ,i have completed my two years and want to apply for 186 visa , I do not have ielts 6 each but i have three year English study from overseas and two year study from Australia , Can i lodge the application ? Or can i submit my ielts later on after apply ? please can reply me ,Thanks

park · February 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Hi, i am on the old 457, and i have just resubmitted the 186 nomination visa but not the PR visa yet, and my current 457 visa is expiring this year july. What would happen if my visa expired and i still havent heard from the department yet? Am i able to stay or need to go back to home country and wait as i dont think i receive a bridging visa letter after the submission. Thanks.

    Peng Cheng · February 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Park,
    If you lodge a visa application you will get a bridging visa, then you can stay here until the visa application is decided. You can lodge the visa application before the nomination is decided.

mandy · February 1, 2019 at 4:08 pm

HI,my 457 2 years will be complete on 9 february 2019 can i apply for 186 visa as our company is banned by immigration for some regons

    Peng Cheng · February 2, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Mandy,
    Thank you for your comment and query.
    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.

B. Lee · January 21, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Hi, I am currently trying to lodge the application of 186 visa through my old 457 visa. I fulfilled all the criteria however there will be a new partner join the company in 6 month time. The company itself will remain the same. Will I be able to lodge the application now?

    Peng Cheng · January 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Lee
    Unfortunately I can’t provide advice about your visa eligibility 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.

Yusiang · January 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

I am on a four year skilled 457 visa which expires in late 2022 with defacto partner.
Under the 186 employer sponsored stream are you tied to an employer similarly to a 457 sponsorship visa ?
If we get a 186 visa and I want to change employers, will that new employer also have to meet the financial and training requirements of the initial sponsoring employer?
Could I also have a change in job title or career change?
If any of the above changes does your permanent residency get suspended -THANKS

Ras · January 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm

Hi ,
I lodged 186 direct entry stream . Nomination and visa application together. Now Department open the file and requested few documents from business to approve nomination . But business been closed for renovation for more than a year . They reopened again . But my employer can’t provide the tax returns and training for that time they been closed . Will this affect my nomination to approve. Please reply me

    Peng Cheng · January 22, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Ras,
    Unfortunately I can’t provide advice about your visa eligibility 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.

Shantanina2011 · January 3, 2019 at 2:28 am

What are employers requirements for transitional nomination? Does he need to pay the levy when doing the nomination? Thank you

Joru · December 15, 2018 at 2:38 am

My one employ just got his PR, he work with me on 457visa as cook, after 2year completion I apply Ens, it’s approved .
A he got PR last week, next day of his PR, he walked off without any notice, in our busy Christmas time as we are based on Wa regional remote area , impossible to find cook.
Now he is asking for termination letter, I complaint to immigration, now what will b the scenario.
Thank you

    Peng Cheng · December 23, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Joru,
    The Department’s compliance team may investigate this – generally speaking, they only communicate with the visa holder if they need to investigate.

Bec · December 2, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Hi there,
I have been on 186 PR visa for one year in the role I have been sponsored in. I am getting married in scotland in May 2019 and would like to take 3 months leave (1 month annual leave, and 2 months unpaid leave), which has been provisionally approved by my employer. However I am wondering if immigration would allow this as it’s within the 2-year visa period where I am required to work full-time. I would technically still be on a full-time contract however.
Any advice would be helpful.

    Peng Cheng · December 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Bec,
    I don’t think that this would have any negative consequences for your visa.

Luv · November 29, 2018 at 10:15 pm

I had applied my 457 on 22 February 2017 before the 457 new announcement and I got my 457 on june 2017.i heard that we still can apply for 186.but my visa will expire on exactly 2 years from my 457 approval date whice is 24 ju e 2018.can i apply for 186.

    Peng Cheng · December 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Luv,
    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.

Lee Hewetson · November 29, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Hi Peng

I worked for the same company for three years on a 457. The company has completed the sponsorship nomination and my 186 application has been submitted with all supporting docs for 8-9 months.

My company has said it will make me redundant due to a restructure. I am now two thirds of the way through the expected wait time. What would happen if I let my application run? Assuming my application is complete might it be granted? Any further communication required with current employer?

    Peng Cheng · December 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Lee,
    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.

Zvezde · November 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Hi Peng,
I am currently on a 457 visa, I applied for 186 (with full support of my company) which got rejected May 2018. Reason seems: company financials, not yet cash-flow positive. I’m thinking to re-apply around March 2019, and then keep submitting updated financial documents in the 12 month waiting time, as I’m quite sure we will be at least around break-even or more in that time. My question: Are there clear and hard criteria for selection on company financials?
Thank you, Zed

    Peng Cheng · November 28, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Hi Zed,
    Unfortunately it is a subjective and discretionary requirement; there aren’t any clearly set financial benchmarks for the business to meet.

      Zvezde · November 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Peng, thank you for your answer. Does that mean that even if 1) salary guarantee: I provide a letter that my business partner (I’m one of the Directors) and our investor has committed in a legal document to provide a guarantee that my salary will be paid for 2 years after potential acceptance and put in escrow account 2) profitability: our business, employing 14 people currently, enters cash-flow positive operations at time of review, I still have no guarantees whether I would get this visa?

        Peng Cheng · November 28, 2018 at 3:37 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.

Clare · November 22, 2018 at 1:03 pm

My employer has put in a nomination for a 186 visa nomination for me… can I wait for this to be approved before submitting my PR application or do they have to be submitted together?

    Peng Cheng · November 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Dear Clare,
    Either way is allowed – it is really a matter of how confident you are about the nomination being approved and whether you want to wait for this before lodging your visa.

Harmeet Singh · November 18, 2018 at 10:41 pm


I had applied for a 186 visa few months back, but recently received an invitation for a 189 visa, and have applied for the same. Do I now need to withdraw 186 visa, or can I let both applications run concurrently?

Please advise.
Kind regards

    Peng Cheng · November 19, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Harmeet,
    You can have both applications pending at the same time.

Jane · November 16, 2018 at 9:58 am

Hi Peng,

What would happen if I lodge visa 189 while waiting for visa 186 under transitional stream?

Thank you


    Peng Cheng · November 19, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Jane,
    You can have one or both applications pending at the same time.

R.Singh · November 13, 2018 at 10:45 pm

Please let me know how long sponsors should be paid training benchmarks for 457 employees?
Employees have been lodged 186 applications but still on bridging visa.

Carl · November 8, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Hi, my 186 visa is taking so long to be approved and it’s now on the 20th month. I’m currently on bridging visa but my children our still in the Philippines waiting for the approval of the 186 visa so they can go here. Can I renew my 457 visa while waiting for 186 visa approval so they can also hold a valid visa to enter Australia?

Emilija · November 7, 2018 at 10:14 am


Visa 186 takes a while to process. Can I work while its processing? Do I need a temporary visa?

    Peng Cheng · November 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Hi Emilija,
    If you were onshore when you lodged your 186 visa application you should have a bridging visa which will allow full and unrestricted work rights.

      Luiz · November 26, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Hi, in Immigration website for the 186 direct entry stream, it says: “You must have at least 3 years relevant work experience in your occupation”. I have been working in the relevant occupation for 25 months out of 36 months in total required (8 months overseas and 17 months onshore in Australia while in a working holiday visa). Could I apply for the 186 and while visa is been assessing, continue counting working experience time, as processing time is at least 12 months?

        Peng Cheng · November 28, 2018 at 11:17 am

        Hi Luiz,
        No, unfortunately you can’t accumulate work experience after lodgement; it’s time of application requirement.

        Bipasha Mitra · February 3, 2019 at 12:47 pm

        HI luiz, what is gong on with your application

aoife ryan · October 31, 2018 at 8:02 am

hey, I am looking to apply for the 186 direct entry visa. I am just wondering how long it takes to hear back if my bosses nomination has been approved or not (just so I know how much time I have to fill out the application and see what forms I need)

Leave a Reply

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