Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

Features

This visa is a permanent residence visa for skilled workers. It allows you to work in Australia under one of three streams:

  • the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • the Direct Entry stream
  • the Agreement stream.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer
  • are younger than 50 years of age, unless you are exempt
  • meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements, unless you are exempt
  • apply under the stream for which you were nominated.

About this visa

The Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) is for skilled workers who want to work in Australia. This visa involves a two-step process, firstly, nomination by an approved Australian employer and then an application under the nominated stream. It is part of the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa programme.

This visa is a permanent residence visa. You can​ be in or outside Australia when you apply. If you are in Australia, you must hold a substantive visa or a bridging visa A, B or C.

The visa has three streams:

  • The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for two years, while holding a subclass 457 visa, in the same occupation with their nominating employer (who has lodged a valid nomination with us under the Temporary Residence Transition stream), who wants to offer them a permanent position in that occupation.

  • The Direct Entry stream is for:
    • people who have been nominated by their employer under the Direct Entry stream
    • people who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia, or
    • temporary residents who do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement.

More information is available in the SkillSelect booklet (500KB PDF).

Before you apply​

You can apply for this visa only after you have been nominated by an employer in Australia.

Expression of interest

If you do not have an employer who will nominate you, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Prospective employers and state and territory governments can then view your details and decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration.

Your EOI must specify which stream you want to be considered for. No supporting documents are required at this time. You can lodge your EOI while you are in or outside Australia.

Information about business and employment in various states and territories is available:

No further stay

Contact us if you are not sure whether your current visa conditions prevent you from applying for a further visa while you are in Australia. Applicants holding substantive visas with no further stay condition may be able to lodge applications for this visa in certain circumstances.

Your passport

You need a valid passport or other travel document for this visa. If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. If you get a new passport after you have lodged your application, give the details of your new passport to one of our offices.

You might be able to update your passport details using ImmiAccount.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

Second instalment

You will need to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge if you have less than functional English and you are a secondary applicant over 18 years of age or you are a primary applicant who was exempt from the English language requirement on the basis of high income.

The second instalment of the visa application charge must be paid before a visa can be granted. The payment covers up to three years of English language instruction through the Adult Migrant English Program.

You will not need to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge if you were nominated as a minister of religion who does not have functional English, or you are a member of his or her family.

Information on how to prove functional English is available.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).

You can apply for this visa only after you have been nominated by your employer in Australia. You must lodge your application within six months of the nomination being approved. You must apply for the visa in the stream and occupation in which your employer nominated you, or your application could be refused.

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer within the six months before you apply
  • are under the age of 50 at the time of application, unless you are exempt
  • have the required skills and qualifications for the position (at time of application lodgement you must have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for – you must hold any mandatory registration, license or professional membership, or you must already be fully assessed as suitable by the relevant body)
  • have the required skills and qualifications for the position
  • have appropriate English language skills (at the time of application lodgement), unless you are exempt
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply for the visa.

Age requirements

Even if you are older than 50 years of age, you can still apply for this visa if you:

  • are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia
  • are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian government scientific agency
  • are nominated as a minister of religion by a religious institution
  • are a medical practitioner who has been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa or a Subclass 422 visa for at least four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is located in regional Australia
  • are a medical practitioner who has been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for two years in the four years immediately before applying, and the nominated position is in regional Australia
  • are applying through the Direct Entry stream and you hold a Subclass 444 (New Zealand citizen) or Subclass 461 (New Zealand citizen's family member) visa and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years in the last three years immediately before making the application
  • are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, and you have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least four years immediately before applying, and that employer paid you at least as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold in each of the four years
  • are applying through the Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 50 to be employed.

More information on these exemptions is in Classes of Persons (Exempt from the Age Criteria).

English language requirements

You can show that your English is adequate by providing the following evidence at the time of application:

  • achieving the required International English Language Test Score (IELTS) either for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of application lodgement
  • scoring at least 'B' in each component of the Occupational English Test (OET) for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of application lodgement
  • holding a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand.

You might not need to show adequate English language skills if you:

  • are to be employed by a religious institution and you were nominated as a minister of religion
  • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the current Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (currently AUD 180 001), however if you are not able to demonstrate that you have functional English, you will be required to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge
  • are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and:
    • you have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution
    • all of the tuition was delivered in English.

More information on these exemptions is in Classes of Persons (Exempt from the English Criteria).

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The results of your health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

This applies to all dependent family members included in your application, whether they are migrating or not.

You are able to organise your health examinations upfront before lodging a visa application.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age.

This also applies to all dependent family members in the application who are 16 years of age or older.

Temporary Residence Transition stream

You might be able to get this visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you:

  • hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
  • have at least vocational English (unless you are exempt from this requirement), which you can demonstrate if you:
    • have a score of at least 5 for each of the four test IELTS components (speaking, reading, listening and writing) in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of lodgement of your application, or
    • have a score of at least ‘B’ in each of the four components of an Occupational English Test that is relevant to your occupation in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of lodgement of your application, or 
    • hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland
  • worked for two years in the same position your employer nominated you for while you held your subclass 457 visa as the primary visa holder, your employer has nominated you for a permanent position under this stream, and the nomination has been approved.

Your skills do not need to be assessed because you have already worked for your nominating employer for two years in Australia.

Direct Entry stream

You might be able to get this visa under the Direct Entry stream if one of the following apply:

  • you have been nominated for a position under this stream and that nomination has been approved
  • you have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia
  • you hold a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) but do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • you are applying directly from outside Australia.
At time of application lodgement, you must provide evidence with your online application that you:
  • have at least competent English (unless you are exempt from this requirement), which you can demonstrate if you:
    • have a score of at least 6 for each of the four test IELTS components (speaking, reading, listening and writing) (in a test conducted within three years immediately prior to the lodgement of your visa application), or
    • have a score of at least 'B' in each of the four components of an Occupational English Test that is relevant to your occupation (in a test that has been conducted within three years immediately prior to the date of lodgement of your visa application), or
    • hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland
  • have at least three years of relevant work experience
  • have a positive valid skills assessment in your nominated occupation (the skill assessment must be conducted by the relevant assessing authority listed in the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). Skills assessments obtained for a Subclass 485 visa will not be accepted as these types of skills assessments are not considered full skills assessments for permanent skilled migration purposes. A skills assessment is only valid until the expiry date specified on the assessment, or for a period of three years from the assessment's date of issue, whichever occurs first.

You might not have to meet the skill assessment and work experience requirements if you:

  • were nominated as an academic by a university in Australia
  • were nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian government scientific agency
  • were nominated as a minister of religion by a religious institution
  • have nominated earnings at least equivalent to the Australian Taxation Office top individual income tax rate (currently AUD180 001)
  • are in Australia as the holder of a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa (subclass 461) and have worked with your nominating employer in your nominated occupation for the past two years (not including any period of unpaid leave) in the three years before you apply for this visa.

More information about these exemptions is in Classes of Persons (Exempt from the Skill Criteria).

Agreement stream

You might be able to get this visa under the Agreement stream if you are being sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement. Your employer can advise you if such an agreement is in place for your industry or occupation.

You must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

Including family in your application

You can include the following people in your visa application:

  • your partner (married or de facto)
  • your or your partner’s dependent children
  • other dependent relatives.

These family members must meet the requirements for including family members in your application. The application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to you.

Your family members must be able to show that they meet health and character requirements.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for an Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).

When to apply:

  • You can apply when your employer lodges their nomination, or you can apply afterwards.
  • You must apply less than six months after we approve the nomination.

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must sign an Australian values statement to confirm that you will respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws. The statement is included in the visa application form. You must have read, or had explained to you, the Life in Australia book beforehand.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your application online

You must apply for this visa online. More information is available in Employer Sponsored (ENS/RSMS) visa online applications.

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge by credit card when you apply.

Upload your documents using your ImmiAccount when you lodge your online application. This will help reduce delays in processing the application.

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.

After you have applied

After you have lodged your application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

You can track and manage your application using ImmiAccount.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Outside Australia:
If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa. Wait for a decision from us before you leave your job, sell your home or book your travel.

In Australia:
If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be eligible for a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for a Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

  • Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99KB PDF).

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

You can provide additional information, including Form 1023, using ImmiAccount.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in your circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

  • Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details (86 kB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances (77 kB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

You might be able to  update your address and passport details using ImmiAccount.

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include the number we gave you when you applied, if you know it – this could be a file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must sign the letter of withdrawal or send a separate email or letter.

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.

You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist for applicants

You must provide documents to support your application for this visa.

Use the 186 applicant document checklist​​ to make sure your application is complete.

 

Contact information

If documents need to be provided, use your online ImmiAccount. For other information, contact the relevant processing area.

Location of Sponsoring Head Office Processing centre
New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland

nsw.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria

vic.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Western Australia

wa.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted an Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It lets you and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

Contact information

If documents need to be provided, use your online ImmiAccount. For other information, contact the relevant processing area.

Location of Sponsoring Head Office Processing centre
New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland

nsw.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria

vic.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Western Australia

wa.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Employers

This information explains what is required of you if you want to nominate a skilled worker (and dependent family members included in their application) for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organisations) to check the visa status and entitlements of people you have sponsored.

Who can nominate a skilled worker for this visa?

You can nominate a skilled worker for this visa if:

  • you actively and lawfully operate a business in Australia
  • you have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • you offer a skilled position in the applicant's field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years
  • you pay a market salary rate
  • you comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • there is no adverse information known about your business or any person associated with your business.

You must nominate the applicant in one of the three streams and meet the requirements of that stream.

Temporary Residence Transition stream

Use this stream if you have already sponsored the applicant for a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457):

  • The employee must have worked in the nominated position in your business, on a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa as a primary visa holder, for at least two years before the nomination is made.
  • The nomination must identify an occupation (for the position) that is listed in ANZSCO and has the same four-digit occupation unit group code as the occupation being carried out by the employee.
  • The nominated position must be full time, ongoing and available for at least two years and be consistent with the position in which the applicant has already worked in your business, unless the person nominated was previously nominated for their subclass 457 visa on the basis of performing an occupation mentioned by the Minister for Immigration in an instrument in writing (certain medical occupations).
  • You must have met the subclass 457 visa training requirements in each year you have been a standard business sponsor.
  • You must not be an approved overseas standard business sponsor under the subclass 457 visa programme.

If, during the two years prior to nominating, a new standard business sponsorship was required at any stage to ensure the applicant complied with condition 8107 of their subclass 457 visa obligations, you will need to provide evidence that the previous standard business sponsor and yourself as the current standard business sponsor may be considered the same employer of the nominated person.

The period of time already worked with the previous subclass 457 visa standard business sponsor may be considered towards the two-year requirement of the Temporary Residence Transition stream only in those cases where you are able to demonstrate that the nominated person has been working in the same role, with the same employer and in the same location for the whole two years they held their subclass 457 visa.

Direct Entry stream

Use this stream if you want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:

You must meet the following training requirements:

  • If your business has been trading in Australia for more than 12 months, you must show you have contributed to the training of Australians. You must meet one of two benchmarks:
    • Training benchmark A: recent expenditure equal to at least 2 per cent of the payroll of the business in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business and a commitment to maintain that level of expenditure for the term of approval as a sponsor 
    • Training benchmark B: recent expenditure equal to at least 1 per cent of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to employees of the business. The expenditure must be expenditure that can count towards the benchmark.
  • If your business has been operating for less than 12 months, you must demonstrate that you have an auditable plan to meet this training benchmark.

Agreement stream

Use this stream to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement that has been negotiated with the government before you lodge the nomination.

When you can enter into a labour agreement

Use this stream to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement that has been negotiated with the government before you lodge the nomination.

A labour agreement is a formal arrangement negotiated between an Australian employer and the Australian government. You might consider entering into a labour agreement if there is a genuine and systemic shortage of suitably skilled Australian workers in your industry and/or geographic location, and standard immigration options are not suitable.

A labour agreement comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations and is typically valid for three years.

You can use a labour agreement if there is one for your industry or your worker's occupation. If this does not suit your needs you can negotiate an individual agreement.

To find out more about the labour agreement programme and request an information pack, please contact us by email at labour.agreement.section@immi.gov.au.

Market salary rate

You must provide terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident doing equivalent work in the same workplace.

Terms and conditions include the nominated position's salary, hours of work and leave entitlements (among other things). The salary paid to an Australian worker under these terms and conditions of employment is known as the market salary rate.

You must prove to us that you will pay your skilled worker the market salary rate. Depending on whether you have an Australian doing similar work, you can do this by:

  • reporting the terms and conditions that apply to an Australian worker who is already employed in a similar job in a similar location in your workplace
  • referring to an industrial award or enterprise agreement that outlines terms and conditions for Australians performing similar work in similar locations
  • providing relevant data from reputable remuneration surveys
  • providing evidence of the salaries of employees performing equivalent work in similar locations.

Applying to nominate a skilled worker

This information explains what you need to do to apply to nominate someone for this visa.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your nomination online

You must lodge your nomination application online. More information is available in Employer Sponsored (ENS/RSMS) visa online applications.

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the nomination charge by credit card when you apply. You can log back into your account and attach further documents at any time.

We will contact you if we require other documentation or further information. Complete nomination applications are likely to be processed more quickly. Incomplete ones may be delayed and, on occasion, refused.

Report changes in your circumstances

You need to contact your case officer to report any changes in circumstances that could affect the processing of your application.

When you write to us, you must include:

  • your business name
  • your ABN (for businesses in Australia) or other identifier (for businesses outside Australia)
  • the number we give you when you lodge your application online. This is usually a Transaction Reference Number (TRN).

Providing all this information helps us locate your application quickly.

Nomination decision

If your nomination is approved, we will send you a letter containing your nomination approval number.

If your nomination is not approved, we will send you a letter stating:

  • why your nomination was refused
  • your rights (if any) to a merits review of the decision and relevant time limits.

Document checklist for employers

You must provide documents to support your application for this visa.

Use the 186 employer document checklist​​ to make sure your application is complete.

Contact information

If documents need to be provided, use your online ImmiAccount. For other information, contact the relevant processing area.

Location of Sponsoring Head Office Processing centre
New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland

nsw.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria

vic.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Western Australia

wa.pse@immi.gov.au

GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.

Last reviewed Thursday 2 October 2014