Update (28 October 2018): Department released 186 visa lodged application and refusal statistics:

 

Year 2014-15 2016-16 2016-17
Lodged 28,824 20,404 22,874
Refused 309 352 740
% of refused applications 1.07% 1.73% 3.24%
% change in lodged applications -29.21% +12.11%

 

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) 186 visa is a permanent residency visa that requires the sponsorship of a nominating Australian employer/business. There are three separate pathways or streams for the 186 visa permanent residency visa:

 

  • Direct Entry (‘DE’) stream
  • Temporary Residence Transition (‘TRT’) stream
  • Labour Agreement (‘LA’) stream

 

186 visa – Primary visa applicant


The following requirements need to be satisfied by the primary visa applicant under both the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition streams. Hence, these are common requirements which need to be satisfied by the primary visa applicant under either of these streams. In addition to these requirements, the primary visa applicant needs to satisfy the specific and different requirements that apply to the particular stream that the primary visa applicant is applying under – see below explanation:

 

  • Age:Primary visa applicant must be under 45 years of age at the time that the visa application is lodged (primary applicant can turn 45 years of age or older after lodgement of the visa application). There are only a few allowed exemptions to this age requirement.
  • English: Competent English language ability is required for both the TRT and DE streams. Primary applicants under the Labour Agreement stream must also demonstrate Competent English ability, unless your sponsoring employer/business has a Labour Agreement that provides a lower English requirement. You can use an English result from an examination conducted within the last 3 years immediately before the date of lodgement of your visa application. You may however be required to achieve higher English examination scores than the minimum English requirement of Competent English if this is required for your skill assessment (Direct entry stream), or if a higher level of English is required in order to obtain mandatory registration, licence or professional membership that is required to work in your nominated occupation.
  • Holds (or is eligible for) any mandatory registration, licence or professional membership: If any mandatory registration, licence or professional membership is required to work in your nominated occupation, then you hold or are eligible for this mandatory registration, licence or professional membership. For example, you need to be registered (or be eligible for registration) with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to work in Australia as a registered nurse, doctor and other health care professional occupations
  • Applying in Australia: You can apply for this visa if you are in Australia as a temporary visa holder, or a Bridging visa A, B or C (if you are a Bridging visa A, B or C, then you will not be able to lodge this visa application when you are in Australia if you have had a visa refusal and you are waiting for a Tribunal or Court hearing due to Section 48. You can apply for a Bridging visa B, which allows you to temporarily leave Australia to lodge your 186 visa application and then return to Australia. The Department can decide your 186 visa application when you are in Australia).
  • Health and character: Primary visa applicant and all members of his or her family unit must satisfy the health and character requirements for the grant of a permanent residency visa. If any member of the family unit fails to satisfy the health and/or character requirements, then the visa applications may be refused for the primary applicant and all family members. Members of the family unit who are not included in the visa application also need to satisfy the health and character requirements, even though he or she is not included in the permanent residency visa application.
  • Commitment to work in nominated role: Visa applicant needs to make the commitment to work in the nominated role for a period of at least 2 years from the date that permanent residency is granted. The employer will also need to make the commitment to ensure that the nominated role is available to the visa applicant for a period of at least 2 years.

 

Important: You will need to find an Australian business to sponsor you before you can proceed with your application. You cannot complete this employer sponsored visa independently without an Australian employer. As far as we are aware, you are unlikely to receive an invitation if you are trying to find an employer through the Department’s Expression of Interest database. Please note that the above listed requirements are not the only requirements that the visa applicant and the employer/sponsor need to satisfy in order to obtain a 186 visa. The above only outlines the key requirements.

 

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186 nomination – Sponsoring business

 

The following requirements apply to both the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition nomination applications by the sponsoring business. Hence, these are common requirements which need to be satisfied for applications under either of these streams. In addition to these requirements, the sponsoring business needs to satisfy the specific and different requirements of the particular stream that the business is applying under – see below explanation:

 

  • Salary is equivalent to what is or would be paid to an Australian employee: The business needs to demonstrate that the visa applicant’s proposed salary is consistent with the ‘Australian market rate’ for the nominated role.
  • Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT): In order for your nominated role to be sponsorable and eligible, your sponsoring employer needs to show that the ‘Australian market rate’ for your role is at least equal to TSMIT (which is currently AUD $53,900 per annum).
  • Commitment to work in nominated role: Visa applicant needs to make the commitment to work in the nominated role for a period of at least 2 years from the date that permanent residency is granted. The employer will also need to make the commitment to ensure that the nominated role is available to the visa applicant for a period of at least 2 years. The Department will assess the business’ financial position, financial history, current operations and clients, current staff and payroll expenses etc. Based on this information, the Department needs to be satisfied that the business will continue to operate for at least the next 2 years, and provide the primary applicant with employment in his or her nominated role.
  • Compliance with migration and Australian law: The business has a history of compliance with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws.
  • No adverse information: There is no adverse information known about the sponsoring business or any person associated with the sponsoring business, or it is reasonable to disregard this information.

 

Direct Entry (DE) stream

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Primary visa applicant requirements under Direct Entry stream:

 

  • Work experience*: Three years of full-time work experience that relates to your nominated occupation. Generally speaking, you can only count relevant work experience after you completed your relevant education qualification / apprenticeship / trade or vocational education. Part-time or casual work experience can be counted on a pro-rate basis, so 12 months of part-time or casual experience should be equivalent to 6 months of full-time experience.
  • Skill assessment for nominated occupation: Obtain a skill assessment from the relevant skill assessment body for your nominated occupation. A skill assessment is only valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, if any is stated. Otherwise, your skill assessment is valid for a period of three years from the date of issue. Your skill assessment must be valid at the time that you lodge your visa application (this can expire after lodgement during the Department’s processing time). You can find the relevant skill assessment bodies listed on the current occupation list (e.g. VETASSESS, CPA etc.).

 

*You are exempt from having to complete a skill assessment if you are a Subclass 444 (New Zealand citizens) or Subclass 461 visa holder (relative of a New Zealand citizen) and you have worked in an eligible occupation for the same employer for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (excluding periods of unpaid leave).

You are also exempt from this skill assessment requirement if your sponsoring employer is any of the following:

  • an academic by a university in Australia or
  • a scientist, researcher, or technical specialist by an Australian government (including State and Territory) scientific agency

 

Business nomination requirements under Direct Entry stream:

 

  • Eligible occupations: Nominate an eligible occupation under the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  • Caveat requirements if applicable: Some eligible occupations are marked with an asterisk* which means that the sponsoring business needs to demonstrate that the following additional caveat requirements are also satisfied.
  • Genuine business need for the nominated role: This is a discretionary requirement where the Department will assess various aspects of the sponsoring business (based on the documents and information provided in the business nomination application) such as the business’ financial position, financial history, current operations and clients, current staff and payroll expenses, and documents provided to demonstrate the business’ current need for the nominated role etc. The Department will then decide if the business has sufficiently demonstrated its genuine need for the nominated full-time role.

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Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream

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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 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. 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.
  • Eligible occupations: The business nomination application can nominate the same occupation and ANZSCO occupation code as the 457 visa application which the Department approved, even if this occupation is no longer on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

 

Otherwise, all other primary applicants will need to satisfy the following requirements:

 

Primary visa applicant requirements under Temporary Residence Transition stream:

 

  • Three years of work as a 457 and/or 482 TSS visa holder:  The primary applicant needs to have at least three years of full-time work as a 457 and/or 482 TSS visa holder in the last four years. You must complete these three 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 three years of work before your sponsoring employer lodges their nomination application, and you lodge your visa application.

 

Business nomination requirements under Temporary Residence Transition stream:

 

  • Eligible occupations: Nominate an eligible occupation under the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  • Performance of nominated role by 457 and/or 482 TSS visa holder: The following requirement was added to the business nomination requirements, under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, which indicates that the Department can potentially look at the work performed by the and/or 482 TSS visa holder, and determine if he or she was working in their approved and nominated role: there is no information known to Immigration that indicates that the identified person is not genuinely performing the tasks of the occupation as specified in ANZSCO

 

Terms &conditions of employment

 

Your sponsoring employer needs to demonstrate that the terms and conditions of your employment are no less favourable than the terms and conditions of employment that would be provided to an ‘equivalent Australian citizen or permanent resident’ (known as the ‘market rate’ requirement). This can be shown by providing a contract of an Australian citizen or permanent resident that is working in the same position and location as the role that you are nominated to perform for the purposes of the visa application.

 

Your employer may not have an Australian citizen or permanent resident that works as an employee in the same role and location as your nominated role.

 

If this is the case, then your employer can provide evidence of what the Australian market salary rate is for your nominated role and show that your salary is at least equal to the market rate. This is generally demonstrated by providing Australian market salary survey data. This data needs to be relevant to the nominated role and the location where you will be working (i.e. market salary data, such as Hays Salary Guides, will usually give specific data for various capital cities around Australia).

 

Genuine business need for role

 

The sponsoring business needs to demonstrate that it has a genuine need for the nominated position. In assessing this requirement, the Department’s guidelines indicate that the following factors may be considered:

 

  • the nature and scope of the business activities of the nominator including:
      • any demonstrated increases in business activity
      • any demonstrated plans for future expansion
      • the likely impact on the business if the nomination was refused
    • overtime being undertaken by employees currently in the nominated occupation
    • any information that the relevant industry is in decline
    • whether the position:
      • continues to fit within the regular and ongoing business activity of the employer, as demonstrated by the organisation chart or other evidence provided
      • has altered over time
      • involves new tasks that no longer correspond to the nominated occupation
      • continues to be genuinely needed in the regular, ongoing business activity of the employer
      • has existed and been previously occupied but has become vacant through attrition
      • contributes to maintaining or enhancing the volume and/or quality of business outputs (this may include detailed and quantifiable plans for future expansion)
      • is currently occupied by a temporary resident
      • is relevant to the proposed business activity

     

    The supporting documents that a business needs to provide in order to demonstrate its genuine need for the nominated position will vary, depending on the nominated position/occupation and the nature of the sponsoring business’ operations.

     

    For example, if the business is sponsoring a Chef, Cook, or Cafe or Restaurant Manager, then the business may be able to provide the following to demonstrate its need to the nominated role:

     

    • Dine-in menu, specials and/or drinks menus
    • Photos of prepared meals
    • Photos of fresh and/or raw produce such as meats, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruits etc.
    • Photos of ingredients such as spices, seasoning, herbs etc.
    • Photos of kitchen and work areas, fridge and storage areas etc.
    • Photos of dining and customer seating/service areas
    • Invoices/receipts for the cost of raw ingredients such as spices, seasoning, fresh vegetables or fruits, raw meats etc.
    • Invoices/receipts for the cost of kitchen equipment such as knifes, utensils, pans, stove, microwave etc.
    • Invoices/receipts for business expenses such as solicitor fees, advertising or marketing expenses, online advertising expenses, new menus etc.
    • Examples of online reviews such as Facebook, Google, Tripadvisor etc.

     

    If the business is sponsoring a Technical Sales Representatives nec (ANZSCO code: 225499), then the business may be able to provide the following to demonstrate its need to the nominated role:

     

    • List of clients and/or business schedule or calendar for client services/product purchases
    • Invoices/receipts for prior completed services/product purchases
    • Email correspondence with clients, providing information in relation to new or existing services and/or products
    • Business prepared brochure or information sheet outlining its services and/or products and/or brochures or information sheets which are provided by your sales representatives to clients
    • Email correspondence from clients raising issues or complaints
    • Information sheets for competing services and/or products offered by the business’ competitors
    • Internal sales records, spreadsheets, printouts etc. recording the business’ financial and sales performance such as: weekly or monthly sales, sales by various representatives, sales by products or services, sales by client etc.

     

    Application process

     

    You can only lodge an application using the Department’s online portalYou can only prepare the online visa application form once your nominating employer has at least started to prepare the nomination application for your role (which is also prepared using the online portal). This is because you need the nomination application TRN which will be issued to your employer once they have started to prepare the nomination application.

     

    You can lodge your visa application once your sponsoring employer has lodged the business nomination application. You do not have to wait until the Department decides the business nomination application before you lodge your visa application, although you can wait if you wish. If you wait for nomination approval, then must lodge your visa application within six months of the date that the business nomination application is approved.

     

    After you have lodged the application, you upload the supporting documents electronically. As part of the initial application, you do not need to submit any actual paper work or forms. It is all online.

     

    Government lodgement fees

     

    The below is just a list of the relevant government lodgement fees:

     

    • 186 nomination application: $540
    • Visa primary applicant fee: $3,670
    • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years and over: $1,835
    • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years or under: $920
    • Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy:
      • Annual turnover less than $10 million: AUD 3000 per year
      • Annual turnover of $10 million or more) AUD 5000 per year

     

    Processing times (17 Oct 2018)

     

    The Department’s processing time for the 187 nomination and visa applications increased significantly in 2017. 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:

     

    Stream 75 per cent of applications processed 90 per cent of applications processed
    Temporary Residence Transition stream 15 months 17 months
    Direct Entry stream 15 months 19 months
    Agreement stream Unavailable due to low volume of applications. Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

     

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    Frequently asked questions

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    Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work that I completed under another visa like 485 and student visa?
    A: No

     

    Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work completed with a different employer?
    A: No

     

    Q: For the TRT stream, can I lodge my application before I complete 2 years of full-time work if I am close to completing 2 years?
    A: No – you must satisfy the 2 year requirement at the time of application

     

    Other visa information:

     


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    Hasan

    Hi Peng,

    I got my PR under 457 TRT stream to 187 . Just wondering can I move and work any place ?

    Thanks

    Shirlyn Agustin

    Hi Peng,
    Just a quick question regarding the benchmark training for 186 trt visa application that will be lodged next year, does the employer need to provide records of the training for each 12 months of being an approved sponsor prior to lodging the nomination? Thanks so much in advance.

    Gurinder

    Hi Peng,
    How long it normally takes now for approval of 186

    Tina

    Hi my husband did three years under 457 visa, after that his employer didn’t want to sign the paperwork for our Pr so he found another employer. Now he has been two months with him always under 457. He just did a transfer. Can he apply for this visa? What can we do to have the Pr?

    Anon

    I submitted a DE nominated 186 application in Feb 2018. Providing I work in the same type of employment as the skills assessment can I move to another company if they are willing to take over the nomination?

    Saif

    Hi Peng
    I hope this message finds you well. They requested an English test for my partner which we provided, however I checked in the IMMI account this letter. This application requires additional supporting documentation. Please check correspondence and attach the requested documents. By clicking on the ‘Information Provided’ button you acknowledge that the Department may proceed to make a decision on the application. Do I need to click it or not make a difference.

    Ali

    Hi Peng, for the direct stream of visa 186, the department mentions that people need “evidence of three years of relevant work experience” and “skills assessment”. They also say that academics are exempted from “skills assessment”. My question is: do academics need to have three years of relevant work experience? Last year the department mentioned that academics do not need skills assessment and work experience, but this year they only say that academics do not need to have skills assessment.

    Cindy Wang

    Hi, is that employer nomination fee tax deductible for employer? thanks

    Sophie S

    Hi! Have you ever experienced an employer refusing to nominate for PR (TRT) once 2 years is up. My partner has been working in his role for 1 year now and for a number of reasons we are worried that they are ‘stringing us along’ and we want to know what would happen if they refuse to nominate? Are there any provisions stopping employers from being able to do this? It seems crazy that we put our life and soul into working in Australia (over 4 years total) & it can be denied like that!

    Mukesh

    Hi Jem ,

    if VISA 457 was issued on deceber 2016 , can i take aroute of direct entry option for obtaining visa 186??

    Jem

    Hi Peng,

    How long does it take for immigration to make a decision on the nomination (not the visa application)?

    Regards
    Jem

    Laure

    Hello is it possible to get his nomination approved before the full two years with the same employer ?

    Wendelien

    Hi,

    I have been granted a 457 on May the 3rd 2017 for 2 year’s. It seems I am eligible for the 186 TRT stream(i have worked full time on this 457 for 2 years on May the 3rd 2019). However if I lodge this application on May the 3rd 2019, will I be 1 day short on my 457? What are possible solutions for that? Can I apply for it on the 4th of May? Or do I have to apply for a TSS first to get that last day on my 457?

    Thanks Wendelien

    banike

    Hi Peng,
    I have summited the “Revisit” quest to immi on April 2018 regarding my refusal of the 457 TRT nomination. The main reason was the training fee did not meet the requirement. I have withdraw the nomination and visa application before the deadline, but the arguing point was on the “Contractor pay roll” definition . That’s the reason why I requested “Revisit”. 4 months passed but no respond, and I’m going to restart the new nomination. Should I just wait for the result of the revisit ?

    Von Dwyane

    Hi,
    Our company is looking to nominate a potential employee through the 186 visa direct entry stream. My question is can our prospective employee lodge his 186 visa application onshore (in Australia) while he is on a tourist visa? Also we are aware of the “no further stay” conditions on tourist visas, however once he lodged the 186 will the tourist visa be automatically replaced by a bridging visa with unlimited work rights? Looking forward to your feedback. Thanks and regards.

    Nuch

    Hi Peng,

    Could you please advise whom is obligated to pay the 186 ENS application fees? I’ve read some information online, it looks like it’s down to negotiable agreement between both parties?

    thank you in advance.

    Keith

    Hi Peng,
    Can I confirm that it’s not okay to apply both the nomination and visa at the same time? Unfortunately that’s what I did on February until I noticed the change on their website. I’m wondering how will that impact the application if the nomination is approved – will they reject the 186 because I applied for it the same time with the nomination? If so, should I withdraw my 186 application then? Both of their status still say, “received”. Thanks