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


daljeet singh · November 14, 2019 at 1:40 am

I have to apply for 186 visa ASAP.
but my english test is not done yet.
can i get some time to do english test after apply 186 visa.

Jithin · November 2, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Hi Peng,

My wife is currently working under 457 visa and her employer has agreed ti sponser for 186 De visa. Myself, I am working overseas and would like to apply as secondary applicant along with the PR application . 1. Will both of us getting PR at the same time ? 2. Will i able to work in Austraila after receiving PR?

    My Access Australia · November 17, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Hi Jithin,
    Yes to both questions.

Carlos · August 20, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Hi Peng,
I have logged 186 Direct entry visa.its been almost 8 months already.The conditions for DE says something related to entering to relationship while visa in process.Is it ok if I get Engaged/Married and inform the department of change in the situation.

    My Access Australia · August 25, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Carlos,
    Yes you can get married or engaged during the Department’s processing time. Your partner may need to complete health examinations/provide police clearances – Department should send you a request if this is required.

Danielle Ward · August 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm

Hi, I have been unable to find an obvious answer to my question when researching.
We are currently on a TSS visa and wondering if we can apply direct entry stream to pr now? Without waiting for the tnt stream? Didn’t know if there was any issues with us already being in the country and the visa already being activated?
Many thanks

JR Ly · July 31, 2019 at 3:10 pm

Hi, did some searches and can’t find a definite answer. I’ve been in 457 visa for 4yrs and was granted 186 6months ago with the same employer(bridging visa in between). Been working for them in last 5 years and I want to apply to other company, which gives more competitive rates. Will ending my employment affect my visa?

Charlie · July 26, 2019 at 7:09 pm

I’m a 485 visa holder and have 1.5 years experience in acxounting with two different employers in Melbourne . My visa expires in another 5 months and is there any posibility that i can apply for 186 if my current employer
In Melbourne is happy to nominate me?

Dragana Horvat · July 25, 2019 at 11:49 am

Hi there,
I need an advise urgently since we are now in a terrible situation and don’t know who to listen to…
I have been in 186 PR application for the past year and have already been nominated. However, my sponsoring company with whom I’ve been for the past 4years has informed me they are going under liquidation. I have been offered a job with another company which would be same position and same salary. My question is: will our 186 process be canceled or is there any way we can save it?

    My Access Australia · July 26, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Dragana,
    Unfortunately you can’t transfer a pending application to a different business.
    Generally speaking the Department would refuse an application if the business is in liquidation.
    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.

Debbie · July 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Hi we have 186 visa with my parnter’s work, but our relationship is breakdown. if we do separate does that mean that myself and my children will be taken off the PR 186visa? Thanks

    My Access Australia · July 26, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Debbie,
    No if the visa has been approved already.

Rachel · July 14, 2019 at 10:04 pm

My partner is currently on a 457 visa and I am defacto. His company have said they will apply and pay for our PR. We are about to submit, however what happens if he applied and then he changed jobs – can the new company take on the PR, or does it get cancelled and we would need to start again?

    My Access Australia · July 19, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Rachel,
    Unfortunately no, the application is linked to the business.

      Rachel · July 24, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      No they wouldn’t take on?
      As I just phoned Australia immigration and they said that your PR application continues in the background and you just need to get your 457 covered by the new company??

        My Access Australia · July 26, 2019 at 9:37 pm

        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.

Ching ching · July 12, 2019 at 4:13 pm

I’m a 457 holder, and now eligible to apply 186.
My concern is, is it possible to lodge nomination and 186 application form in the same day?

Some cases I have seen that some people the do it together, and also some 457holders they do it separately.
As you mentioned above if we are going to apply 186 visa, we need to have the reference number which on the approved nomination.

So if I lodge those one after one, would it take a double time?

    My Access Australia · July 19, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Ching Ching,
    You can lodge on the same day.

David · July 5, 2019 at 8:47 pm


I used to hold the 457 visa before and am using Bupa insurance.

I applied for permanent residence (186) 6 months ago and currently hold a visa bridging.

I have registered for Medicare and have a Medicare card. I am also using this card for medical treatment. But I have not canceled my Bupa yet. I still need to pay monthly for it.

Can I cancel my Bupa subscription? I read my Bridging Visa does not require condition 8501.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.


    My Access Australia · July 11, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Hi David,
    You can cancel your insurance if you wish.

Claire · July 2, 2019 at 6:43 pm

Hello there,
I will be applying to ENS 186 visa. I am wondering if, when this visa is granted (hopefully 🙂 ), I have to move to Australia within say, 6 months or a year? I am currently employed (outside Australia). Once I resign, I have to work for my current employer for a full year.
Also, can I apply for a tourist visa while the ENS 186 is being processed?

    My Access Australia · July 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Claire,
    The visa approval notice will provide an intial entry date. Please see above post about leaving your sponsor. In terms of starting your employment there isn’t a strict legal requirement in terms of timing.
    Yes, you can apply for a tourist visa, however a requirement for this visa is that you are a genuine visitor i.e you only intend to stay in Australia on a temporary basis. This requirement may be difficult to satisfy if you have a pending permanent residency application.

Beau · July 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm


I am a 457 visa holder, granted in 2018 Oct. My occupation is on the medium- long term list. But my visa only lasts for 3 years instead of 4. Does the one year waiting on bridging visa for 457 visa count in the 3 years requirement for 186 visa? If not, how can I apply for 186 visa after 3 years as my visa will expire at that time?

    My Access Australia · July 3, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Beau,
    Unfortunately you can’t count time on your bridging visa.
    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 permanent residency options.

John · June 17, 2019 at 6:10 pm

I am in NSW, 457 visa (i am the main applicant, visa valid till Dec’19), My spouse also working, her ER willing to sponsor ENS DE, possibly ER nomination may begin after her skill assessment results (may be Aug’19).Q1:Shall we submit 186 Visa application before her ER nomination approval?
After application lodgment, Q2:Shall we continue to work after Dec’19 considering the applications was submitted?If Not, Q3: Should I need to apply 482 TSS visa, will this affect my Spouse ENS 186 visa?.

    My Access Australia · June 19, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Hi John,
    You can lodge the the visa application before the nomination is approved.
    You will get a bridging visa associated with the visa application so that you stay here until a decision is made on the visa application. You don’t need a further 482 in this situation.

      John · July 24, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks for your response, For Employer Nomination on Visa 186 Direct Entry – Should the Employer go through Labour Market Test before they submit their Nomination?

        My Access Australia · July 26, 2019 at 9:38 pm

        There isn’t any LMT requirement for a 186 direct entry stream application.

          John · July 27, 2019 at 3:27 pm

          Thanks for your response, really apprciate, I have applied for Police Check and it may take 8 weeks to receive the clearnace, meanhile shall I proceed lodging my application & let my employer submit the nominations ?
          (or) should I have to submit all required document at the time of lodgement of the application .


            My Access Australia · August 3, 2019 at 7:44 pm

            Police clearances can be provided after lodgement during the Department’s processing time.

              John · August 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm

              Thanks again, hope this is my last question, My spouse working with this employer for last 11 months, is there a Time limit to apply Emplyer Nomination (or) lodge the 186 visa applicatoin with 1 year with this employer? , Thanks

                My Access Australia · August 7, 2019 at 5:52 pm

                I’m not sure when you mean. You can lodge the applications when you satisfy the nomination and visa requirements.

                  John · August 8, 2019 at 9:23 am

                  Thanks, I mean, is there any rules that ‘Direct Entry visa should be applied with in 1 year of employement’ (or) not ?
                  I guess the Answer is ‘No’ from your previous reponse, Am I Right?

                    My Access Australia · August 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm

                    Yes there isn’t any rule requiring you to apply within a year.

Grace · June 12, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Hi there,
I have applied my ENS 186 since Nov/2017, my employer has lodged the nomination around the same time. I have completed my health check this March as well, but there’s still no news so far…It’s been 19 months now, would you please advise how long does it takes? Or if there’s anything I can do, or anyone I could contact with?

Many thanks,

    My Access Australia · June 14, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Grace,
    Most applications will be processed within 14 months as per the Department’s website information.
    Sorry but there isn’t any set processing time – the Department’s general response is that it will take the time necessary to assess all the legal requirements if you call them. Suggest that you contact the Department if you would like to follow-up.

Mashi · June 3, 2019 at 11:43 pm

Dear Peng,
I got my visa 186 six months ago.
A year ago, I found out that my health has been going down due to stressful and overload of my job. I did see the specialist and he did suggest me changing my workplace environment. If im still working in this stressful environment, this may adversely affect my mental health (he also wrote me a letter to confirm my health situation).
Can I leave my employer with that reason?
Thank you.

Raj · June 3, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Hi i applies my ens 186 after complete two years on 457 with my current employer.I got my nomination approval after 8 months. How long I have to wait for my residency or still is risk somewhere just but nervous and worried.
Thanks in Advance

    Peng Cheng · June 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Raj,
    Generally speaking, the Department should be able to assess/decide the visa application a few weeks after the nomination approval.

Cuong Hoang · May 29, 2019 at 11:35 pm

Hi Peng Cheng.

Please advise me. I am now so anxious.

My employer lodged the 186 via nomination application 2 weeks ago and we just realised that he selected a wrong stream (Temporary Residence Transition rather than Direct Entry). After realising that, he submitted a request form to change the nomination stream. Would this be any possibility to change? Or we have to lodge a new nomination application?

I am just so worried and I really need your suggestion.

Cuong Hoang

    Peng Cheng · June 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Cuong,
    I haven’t asked the Department to do this before – they can’t change the stream as far as I’m aware unfortunately.

Shihab Ebrahim Mohammed · May 29, 2019 at 1:19 pm

I am currently on 457 visa & soon to apply for 186 TRT. My concern is my wife is pregnant & she wants to go home for pregnancy period which means she won’t be available during the time I’m due to apply for our pr. Can I apply her pr being secondary applicant with she being overseas & what happens if the baby is born during the waiting period or after the waiting period

    Peng Cheng · June 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    It is possible to include your partner even if she is outside of Australia.
    Department may wait until your child is born and is added to your application if deciding.

Katie · May 29, 2019 at 7:50 am

Hi, I am currently on a 2 year 457 visa (applied before April 2017) how is it possible to apply for PR with the minimum requirement being 2 years but this visa expiring at 2 years? Thank you

    Peng Cheng · June 1, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Katie,
    You may be able to apply after 2 years of work.
    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.

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