Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)
This visa is for skilled workers from outside Australia or skilled temporary residents who live and work in Australia. It has three streams.
- The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 visa holders who have worked for two years and their employer wants to offer them a permanent position.
- The Direct Entry stream is for people who have never, or only briefly, worked in the Australian labour market.
- The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement.
People can apply for this visa if they:
- have been nominated by an approved Australian employer
- are less than 50 years of age
- meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements.
How this visa works
The Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) is for skilled workers from outside Australia or skilled temporary residents who currently live and work in Australia. It is part of the permanent Employer Sponsored visa program.
To apply for this visa, you must:
- be nominated by an approved employer
- be younger than 50 years of age
- meet the skills and qualifications requirements
- meet English language requirements.
There are exemptions relating to age, skills and English language ability. These depend on your nominated occupation, salary and past work experience.
If you do not have an employer who will nominate you, you can lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. Employers and state and territory governments can then view your details and decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration.
If you owe the Australian Government money, you may not be eligible to be granted a visa until you have made arrangements to pay the debt.
Diagram of Changes (182KB PDF file)
Comparison Chart (543KB PDF file)
Age, Skill and English Language Exemptions (68KB PDF file)
If you are nominated to apply for this visa, you must lodge your application online within six months of the date the nomination was approved.
Please ensure your visa application is lodged after your employer nomination has been lodged and you select the correct stream. Failure to do so may result in an invalid visa application.
When you apply, you must select one of the visa’s three streams.
- Choose the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you are a subclass 457 visa holder who has worked for your employer for two years in the nominated occupation and your employer wants to offer you a permanent position in that occupation. Please note you must have a nomination application lodged under Temporary Residence Transition stream to be eligible for this option.
- Choose the Direct Entry stream if you have never, or only briefly, worked in the Australian labour market, or have not held a subclass 457 visa for the last two years with your nominating employer, or if you are applying directly from outside Australia. If you have a nomination lodged with the department before 01 July 2012, you must lodge the visa application under this stream.
- Choose the Agreement stream if you are being sponsored by an employer through a tailored and negotiated labour agreement or regional migration agreement.
Meet requirements for skills, qualifications and language
The skills, qualifications and language requirements depend on whether you apply for the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the Direct Entry stream or the Agreement stream.
Temporary Residence Transition stream
If you apply for the Temporary Residence Transition stream, your skills do not need to be assessed because you have already worked for your nominating employer for two years in Australia.
You must have at least vocational English.
This stream is available only to people who hold a subclass 457 visa. People who hold other 400 series visas may qualify to apply for a permanent residence visa through the Direct Entry stream.
Direct Entry stream
If you apply for the Direct entry stream, you must:
- provide a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
- provide evidence of at least three years of relevant work experience
- have competent English.
Skills assessments must be submitted with your online visa application.
If you apply for the Agreement stream, you must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.
Lodge the application
You must lodge your application online. This can be done while you are in or outside Australia. You must pay the initial application charge of AUD3060 by credit card at that time.
A second charge, that applies only to applicants and dependants aged 18 years or older with less than functional English, is payable before a visa can be granted.
As part of lodging your application, you must confirm that you agree with the Australian Values Statement and have read, or had explained to you, the Life in Australia book.
Provide relevant documents
You must provide documents that prove the claims you make in your application. These are identified and explained in the Document Checklist. This checklist also explains whether you need to provide original documents or certified copies.
Any document in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English translation that has been done by an accredited translator.
If you do not provide all the documents a decision may be made on the information you have provided. It is in your interest to support your application with as much information as possible.
These documents must be submitted with your online application.
The department will contact you if they need additional information and/or other documentation such as original documents.
Make use of helpful information
Certain requirements must be met if dependent family members are included in your application. See Including dependent family members in your application for details.
Information to help prepare your application has advice on certified documents, statutory declarations, translating documents, communicating with the department, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from the department, and receiving assistance with your application.
Permanent Employer Sponsored program definitions gives meanings of words used in relation to this visa.
What this visa costs
The non-refundable charge for lodging an application for this visa is AUD3060. This payment covers you and all dependent family members included in your application.
There is an extra charge if you have less than functional English.
See: Visa Charges (93KB PDF file)
Proof of functional English explains how you can demonstrate your language ability.
You may have to pay other costs, such as those associated with obtaining health and police certificates.
After you apply
After you lodge your application and documents, the department will let you know that they have received your information, assign you a case officer, consider your application, request an interview (if needed), ask for more information (if needed) and make a decision.
Provide more information
Meet health requirements
You and all members of your family unit must meet certain health requirements. The department will tell you when to arrange health examinations.
Meet character requirements
You and all members of your family unit must meet certain character requirements. This means you and each of your dependants (whether migrating or not) who are aged 16 years or older must provide police certificates. These need to be obtained from each country you and your family members have lived in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years or, in the case of those younger than 26 years or age, since each person turned 16 years of age.
The department will tell you when to arrange police certificates.
You may be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of your application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.
Attend an interview
You may be asked to attend an interview, either face-to-face or by telephone, after lodging your application. If it is a face-to-face interview, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents.
Provide a comment, if required
If another person gives the department information that could result in you being refused a visa, the department will give you the chance to comment on that information.
The department needs to know, in writing, about changes in circumstances that may affect the processing of your visa application such as:
- you move to a new address
- you get a new passport
- you want to add or change the person authorised to act on your behalf in connection with the application
- a birth or death in your family (a newborn child can be added to an application after it has been lodged but before a decision has been made)
- you and/or your dependent family members intend to travel to and from Australia while the application is being processed.
Report changes on Form 929: Change of address and/or passport details and/or Form 1022: Notification of changes in circumstances.
Obtain a Bridging visa
If you apply for the Employer Nomination Scheme visa while you are in Australia, you are likely to be given a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed.
If you want to travel outside Australia while your application is being considered, you may need to apply for a specific Bridging visa that allows you to leave and return to Australia.
People who already have a valid visa that allows them to travel to and from Australia (such as a subclass 457) will not need to do this.
If you apply for this visa outside Australia and then travel to Australia on another visa before this application is decided, you may need to apply for a Bridging visa.
Form 1024i Bridging visa has more information.
Wait for a visa decision
The department has service standards relating to the time it takes process applications for this visa. The country you come from and whether you lodge your application in or outside Australia affect the time it takes for your application to be finalised.
Receive a visa decision
If your visa application is approved, the department will send you an email with the:
- visa grant number
- visa conditions (including a specified initial entry date)
- details of what you must do next.
If your visa application is not approved, the department will send you an email stating:
- why the visa was not approved
- your review rights, if any
- a time frame for lodging an appeal, if applicable.
Conditions and obligations for holders of visa subclass 186
This information explains what is required of you and your accompanying dependent family members after you are granted a Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).
If you are outside Australia when the visa is granted, you and your dependent family members may enter Australia at any time.
This visa allows you and your accompanying family members to:
- live and work permanently in Australia
- study in Australia
- enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
- access certain social security payments
- apply for Australian citizenship (subject to residency criteria)
- sponsor other people for permanent residence
- travel in and out of Australia for five years.
If you travel out of Australia
This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you to travel to and from Australia for five years from the date it is granted. If you want to continue such travel after the visa expires, you must get a Resident Return visa. You can also apply for citizenship.
Comply with visa conditions and Australian laws
You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.
Conditions and obligations for employers
This information explains what is required of you if you want to nominate a skilled worker (and any dependent family members included in their application) for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186).
Who can nominate
To participate in the Employer Nomination Scheme, you must:
- operate an active and lawful business in Australia
- have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
- offer a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full-time and ongoing for at least two years
- pay a market salary rate
- comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
- have no adverse information against you or your business
- nominate a skilled position. This position must be:
- on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List for the Direct Entry stream
- consistent or similar to a position sponsored by the Standard Business Sponsor under the subclass 457 visa program for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
- meet the training benchmark for the Direct Entry stream; and continues or is committed to meet the training requirements for the subclass 457 visa program for the Temporary Residence Transition stream.
For the Direct Entry stream if your business has been operating in Australia for 12 months or more, you must demonstrate that you meet the prescribed benchmark for the training of Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents.
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.
For the Temporary Residence Transition stream, you must demonstrate that you have met and continue to meet the training requirements on the basis of which your Standard Business Sponsorship under the subclass 457 visa program was approved.
Market salary rate
A market salary rate has terms and conditions of employment that are at least the same as those that would apply to an Australian employed in the same workplace, in the same occupation and in the same location.
You must prove to the department that your offer to the nominated people will meet the requirements of 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.
You must nominate the applicant in one of the visa’s three streams.
Temporary Residence Transition stream
Use this stream if you have already sponsored the applicant for a subclass 457 visa. The other conditions are:
- the employee must have worked in the nominated position in your business, on a subclass 457 visa, for at least two years before the nomination is lodged
- 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
- you have met the subclass 457 visa training requirement.
Direct Entry stream
Use this stream if you want to nominate an applicant to fill a position that is:
- an occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List
- full-time, ongoing and available for at least two years.
Use this stream if you want to nominate an applicant through a labour agreement or regional migration agreement that has been tailored and negotiated with the government before the nomination is lodged.
A labour agreement can take about six months to be negotiated. It comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations.
The agreement must:
- identify the relevant skills shortage in the business and why these vacancies cannot be filled by Australian workers
- specify the number of skilled workers needed from outside Australia
- the age, skill and English language requirements that relate to the nominated occupations. Semi-skilled occupations can be considered for nominated positions if specified in the agreement.
You must submit your nomination application online.
Complete nomination applications are likely to be processed more quickly. Incomplete ones may be delayed and, on occasion, refused. Use the Nomination Checklist to make sure you have supplied all the required information and supporting documents.
There is an AUD540 charge to lodge a nomination application in the Direct Entry stream.
There is an AUD540 charge to lodge a nomination application in the Temporary Residence Transition stream if the position is not located in regional Australia.
There is no charge to lodge a nomination application in the Temporary Residence Transition stream if the position is located in regional Australia.
There is no charge to lodge a nomination application in the Agreement stream.
Note: Regional Australia covers all of Australia except Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Melbourne.
Employer Sponsored program definitions gives meanings of words used in relation to this visa.
See: Booklet 5 for more information.