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



Paulette · May 28, 2019 at 6:21 pm

hello Peng. I’ve been for 6 months on my permanent Visa EN/186, since december 17th. I want to apply for my citizenship within a year and also I want to resign to the job whom sponsored me on 457 which made the transition for 186 Visa.
do I need to work all year in order to apply to my citizenship? can I travel and not work at all during this year and still able to apply for my citizenship? can I do a sabbatical and still able to apply for citizenship? or do I need to work all year in order to meet tax requirements for citizenship?

Jalak Dhameliya · May 21, 2019 at 9:26 am

Hi am currently living in Sydney on 500 dependent visa, my husband is studying master of architecture in unsw, we just moved here in Feb 2019 and I am working full time in marketing firm as a software developer, can I apply for 186 with my current job offer letter and current employer as i am married?

Also do I need to go for skill assessment? and my partner can get pr based on me under 186?

Sanghoon 'Kevin' Lee · May 19, 2019 at 7:33 pm


I was on old 457, and I have my ENS 186 Visa granted a month ago. I have been working for Queensland Health as a registered nurse for more than 3 years. Now I’m thinking of leaving Queensland Health and going to NSW Health or agency nurse. Should I be worried about the visa cancellation?? If I leave Queensland Health soon, will I lose permanent residence??

Thank you.
Kind regards,

Jennifer · May 19, 2019 at 10:27 am

Hi, I was wondering if you lodge the 186 application and the company goes into administration during the waiting process will the application be withdrawn or can the PR still be granted and I can find work at another company?

    Peng Cheng · May 27, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    Unfortunately I don’t think that the Department can approve the nomination or visa with that financial situation.
    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.

Namrata · May 19, 2019 at 12:30 am

Hi there
My husband and I (spouse visa) was on 457 visa and we applied for ens direct entry 186 visa on September 27 2019. At that time I was 1 month pregnant but I didn’t clarify there that I was pregnant. But now on 1st of April our nomination was approved and we did medical examinations on 8th of April 2019. And I have included my baby on it too on my final application. All was submitted by 15th of April. Now I’m just wondering how long it will take? Does it make any difference for immigration that I didn’t say pregnant before? It’s been 1 month already I didn’t herar anything about the process. But my co worker already got his visa 1 week before even we applied on same date and same visa.
Thank you so much

    Peng Cheng · May 19, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Hi Namrata,
    Sorry I don’t know enough about your application/health results etc. to say.
    Your case officer will provide you with further instructions.

rob · May 8, 2019 at 1:59 am

Hi ,I am applying my 186 visa soon, my company is asking to pay SAF by me, is it appropriate ? should i be liable to pay that amount ? and how long does people are getting the visa these day, should i go for 190 instead ? my point with state nomination is 65 . thanks in advance

Emma · April 30, 2019 at 10:54 am

Hi, I have an ENS 186 visa recently granted. Would I be allowed to get an ABN for a second job outside of my normal employer?

    Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Hi Emma,
    Yes, you have unrestricted work rights.

Jack · April 29, 2019 at 12:09 am

Hi, pang.
I am going to apply ENS transition strim next week as I have been working for 2years holding 457 visa.

My concer is that RSMS visa (direct entry) that two chefs who worked with me under the same business had got refused last year. The reasons were related with financial record and owner did not approved nither strong document nor more documents that they asked

Could it be affected to my ENS transition strim?

Are they having the same standard for business nomination between ENS direct entry and transition strim??

    Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Hi Jack,
    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.

Jay · April 27, 2019 at 11:50 am

Hi, I was on 457 visa class and worked for six years before my PR was granted. it is now four months since I got my PR visa. I am planning to change my work as i got good offer somewhere else. Do I need to stick to my employer for another two years?

Nattharucha · April 25, 2019 at 8:57 pm


I am holding 457 (was granted in 2016) I would like to lodge my 186 application a week before my holiday oversea, would that be any problems if I leave the country right after that? Is there any rules that I have to be in the country after I lodge the application?

    Peng Cheng · May 2, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Hi Nattharucha,
    No, you can lodge and then take a holiday. The requirements need to be met when you lodge the application.

Jilu Jose · March 31, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Hi,Currently I am a nurse working in a pvt hospital on TSS(482) visa of 2 years.I had joined with my employer March 2019 and my visa expires on Feb 2021.
Kindly let me know how can I apply for 186 visa with my employer?
And what all documents do I need to submit?Including my family(spouse and 2 kids).

    Peng Cheng · April 5, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Jilu,
    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 the documents and information you will need to provide.

Dheeman · March 30, 2019 at 8:38 pm

Hi, I am already in Australia with a 482 visa (medium stream). Now, I am on my way to change employer for a permanent position. Should my new employer process a 186 for me, or another 482? On that case, how long the process might take for either 482 or 186?

SkB · March 17, 2019 at 9:26 am

Hi, I have applied rsms direct entry visa from a farm 13 month ago my owner has two farms under same abn and he paid all workers of both farms from same business name, but now he left the farm from my application was applied, I want to know that it will effect my nomination , is there any solution for this thanks

    Peng Cheng · March 19, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Hi SkB,
    If the sponsoring business is no longer operating then unfortunately the Department can’t approve the application.
    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.

      Skb · March 19, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks for answering, actually the business is operating I am working there and My owner is paying me full time but he just leave one farm but other one is still with my owner.

        Peng Cheng · March 19, 2019 at 8:42 pm

        Sorry but 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.

Juliana · March 14, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Hi, can you please tell if my employer have to wait 2 years after commencement of work before submit employer nomination? I’m on old 457. Thanks

    Peng Cheng · March 14, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Juliana,
    Yes you need to complete the full 2 years of work before the employer lodges the nomination application.

Jason · March 11, 2019 at 10:24 am

Dear Peng Cheng,

Good day!

I’ve applied for ENS186 offshore, both my nomination and visa are approved now. So I would need to commence work with my employer who sponsored the nomination in the next 3 months. Due to personal reason, I will not be able to do so and need to stay in my home country. May I know what will happen to my Visa/PR? Will it be revoked? Can I still be an Aus PR without commencing work with the nominated employer?

Thanks in advance.

Aguana · March 10, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Hi just want to ask questions about lodging 186 visa ….with 4 months left I our 457 visa is that enough for us to aply 186 visa….thank you very much

    Peng Cheng · March 14, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Hi Aguana,
    Yes, 4 months should be enough time to lodge a 186 visa and nomination application.

Alex · February 27, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Maybe you could help me:

A client, having worked for her original employer as a chef for 3 years holding a 457 visa, lodged a 186 TRT stream visa 3 months ago.
Last week, her employer advised that his son would take over the business and a new ABN would be created.
Under the circumstances, what would be the best course of actions available to my friend?

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Alex,
    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 your friend’s visa options.

      Alex · March 5, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Hello Peng,
      What questions would you like to ask? Please do.

        Peng Cheng · March 5, 2019 at 9:33 pm

        Sorry given the time required to provide useful advice for such matters, I would refer you to our consultation services if you need such assistance.

Andrew Minard · February 26, 2019 at 4:41 pm

Hello, I was wondering, does the company have pay for everything in regards to the VISA application if they are sponsoring me? My company has told me they have to pay for all the costs associated with the VISA, including the entry costs, finger prints, health checks, etc. Is this true?

    Peng Cheng · February 26, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Andrew,
    There is no such requirement on the business for the 186 nomination and visa applications.

Bells · February 19, 2019 at 10:48 pm

Hi. I have applied ENS 186 DE (nominated by a firm in NSW), and am currently working in my home country for another employer. If I resign before my case officer opens the file and s/he sees I am currently unemployed, does this affect my application in any way? Thanks!

    Peng Cheng · February 26, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Bells,
    Your current employment status overseas doesn’t affect your pending application.

Jiv · February 17, 2019 at 1:02 am

Hi Peng,

I am also on the old 457.
I have resubmitted the 186 nomination visa just this month (after it was refused Nov last year) and this time with SAF Levy.
I havent lodged my PR Visa yet, and my current 457 visa is expiring in Sept this year.
My questions are:

1. How long to process my ENS application and would there be a chance for my ENS application will be approved?

2. Could I lodge my PR Visa application even i still haven’t received the ENS apication result.


    Peng Cheng · February 26, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Jiv,
    Processing time will be similar to that of your refused application. I can’t say what the chances of approval would be without looking at the application.
    You can lodge the visa application before the nomination is approved.

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