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


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)

Comments are closed.