Employer Nomination Scheme 186 visa 

This is a permanent residence work visa for people who have found a job in Australia and a business willing to sponsor them, or alternatively, for people who are already working for their employer on a 457 Temporary Work Visa and their employer is willing to sponsor them for this permanent work visa.

This visa has three streams but the two main streams are as follows:

Temporary Resident Transition Stream

If you have been working for an employer for two years within the last three years on a 457 Temporary work visa, and your employer is willing to sponsor you in the same occupation, you might be able to get this visa. Your employer must produce evidence of having fulfilled their obligation to pay a certain amount towards the training of Australians in the years in which they sponsored you on the 457 Temporary work visa.

If you have changed employers while on your 457 visa, your situation will have to scrutinised a little more carefully, as it is only your current 457 sponsor who can sponsor you for this permanent visa, and only the time you have worked for the current sponsor that can count towards the two years. The English language requirement is IELTS 5 or its equivalent

Direct Entry Stream

If you have found an employer willing to sponsor you in an occupation listed on the Commonwealth Skilled Occupation List (CSOL), and you have the required qualifications and work experience for the occupation, you might be able to get this visa. The requirements for the Direct Entry stream are more rigorous. You will need a formal skills assessment before applying for this visa. This means an organisation responsible for assessing the skills of people in your occupation will consider your qualifications and work experience and provide formal advice to the Department of Immigration on whether you are skilled for this occupation or not.  The English language requirement is also higher than the Temporary Transition Stream. For this stream you will need IELTS 6 or its equivalent.

Your potential employer has to show they need to hire an employee in the particular occupation they have selected, and that the salary they are offering you is the market salary for that occupation in that area. The employer also has to provide evidence that they have contributed towards the training of Australians in the previous 12 months.

Age

You must be under 50 years old at the time you apply (some exemptions exist for certain academics; certain scientists/researchers/ technical staff; medical practitioners holding certain visas; and New Zealand citizens holding certain visas).

English Language Requirement

Applicants may need to a sit an English exam and get at least the following scores:

  • Temporary Resident Transition Stream: score of 5 in the IELTS exam or its equivalent in another accepted English language test.
  • Direct Entry Stream: score of 6 in IELTS or its equivalent in another kind of English language test.

You may be exempt from the language requirement if any of the following apply:

  • You hold a passport from the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland
  • You will be earning more than the top individual income tax rate of $180, 001
  • You are applying through the Temporary Resident Transition stream and have completed five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution and all tuition was in English

Qualifications , work experience, and skills assessment

If you are not already working for your employer on a 457 Temporary Work visa, you will have to apply for this visa through the Direct Entry Stream. You will need to have the required qualification for the occupation in addition to at least three years of full-time work experience in the same occupation. You will also need a formal skills assessment before applying. An organisation responsible for assessing applicants in your profession will assess your qualifications and work experience to determine that you are sufficiently skilled. These organisations charge fees for this service, which you will need to pay.

If you have been working on a 457 Temporary work visa with your employer for two years you do not need to do a skills assessment.

Application Process

The process to get this visa is made up of the following two steps:

Step 1
Business Nomination:

The business prepares a nomination application and submits it to the Department of Immigration nominating the occupation and declaring that it needs a person to undertake this occupation within its business. It shows it is a legitimate business and is actively trading; that it will pay the market salary rate for that particular position in that particular area and that the other terms and conditions of employment are consistent with what an Australian worker could expect; and that it will offer the worker a full-time employment contract for at least two years with the option for this to be on-going.

It shows that it has genuine need to hire a person in this position in the business, and that there is a genuine need within the business for a person to perform the specific duties of the occupation it has selected from the Commonwealth Skilled Occupation List (CSOL).

For example, if the business is nominating the occupation of Accountant, but based on the information supplied the case officer assessing the application at the Department of Immigration notes that the business is reasonably small and there is already an accountant working in the business, and that the actual duties of the role within the business are those of an Accounts Clerk rather than an Accountant, then the nomination will be refused. The refusal reasons may be that the business does not have a genuine need for another accountant given its size, and that given the specific duties it needs performed, it does not need an Accountant but an Accounts Clerk, and it has selected the wrong occupation.

If the intended employee is applying through the Direct Entry Stream the business has to show that it has made a contribution towards the training of Australian citizens and permanent residents in the previous 12 months.

If the intended employee is applying through the Temporary Transition Stream, which means the business is nominating a worker currently employed on a 457 Temporary work visa, the business has to show it has satisfied its obligations in terms of making a contribution towards the training of Australian citizens and permanent residents in the years in which the 457 worker has been employed

Step 2
Visa Application

You then apply to fill the position that the business has just nominated. You provide evidence that –

  • if applying through the Direct Entry Stream that you passed a skills assessment in the occupation before you applied for the visa and you have three years’ full-time work experience in the occupation
  • If applying through the Temporary Transition Stream that you have worked for your employer on a 457 Temporary work visa for two years in the last three year period
  • You have the required English language score necessary for the stream you are applying under unless exempt
  • You and all your family members whether migrating or not pass health and character requirements

Including family members in your application

You are able to include the following family members in your application:

  • spouse or de facto partner (de facto partner can be same sex)
  • the dependent children of either partner who are under 18 and single (and their dependent children)
  • dependent children of either partner over 18 years’ old who are single and are wholly or substantially reliant on the head of the family for food, clothes and shelter, or who are financially reliant and unable to work due to mental or physical incapacitation
  • and certain dependent relatives of either partner who are single and usually resident in the household and substantially reliant on the main family member

Health and Character Requirement

You, and each member of the family unit who will migrate with you to Australia, and each member of the family unit who will not migrate with you, must have a medical check and get police clearances from each country lived in for more than 12 months in the past ten years, since turning 16. These are the health and character requirements. They are stringent for permanent residency visas such as this one.

If anyone in the family group has significant health issues these will have to be considered carefully before proceeding with the visa application. The problems a significant health issue in your family could cause in terms of the visa application depend very much on an economic assessment of costs associated with treating the condition in Australia, and on whether the particular condition is one where Australian citizens and permanent residents could have their access to scant resources affected as a result of treating the condition.

If any family member has criminal convictions, findings of guilt without a conviction being recorded, instances of conduct that could suggest the person is not of good character, then these will have to be disclosed upfront and an assessment made of the their likely effect on the visa application, and a strategy devised to address them, if that is a possibility, before proceeding with the visa application.

One fails All fail

It is important to understand is that it is not only you, the applicant, that is assessed against the health and character requirements. It is all your family members included on your visa application who will migrate with you to Australia, in addition to all family members who will not migrate with you to Australia and who may have no intention of doing so. Regardless, everybody is required to undergo a health exam either in Australia or with a designated doctor in your own country if you are outside Australia; and everybody is required to pass the character test.

If one member of the family group fails any of the health and character requirements, this will mean everyone is deemed to fail, and the visa application will be refused.

 What we do

If we think you have a reasonable chance of getting this visa, and the business has a reasonable chance of approval as a sponsor, we work through the following steps to prepare the various applications:

Business Nomination

We help the business choose the correct occupation from the Commonwealth Skilled Occupation List and work with the business to prepare the necessary evidence for the Department of Immigration, setting out in a written submission the nature of the business, the nature of the position and how it fits within the business, why the business needs to employ someone in the occupation it has selected, and an explanation of why the salary the business is paying the employee is reasonable for the position and is consistent with salaries paid to Australians doing the same job in the same area.

We also work with the business to determine the best way to satisfy the training requirements it must meet.

The Immigration Department will consider the written submission and supporting evidence and either make a decision on the nomination, or request further information or clarification. Our aim is to provide the case officer a convincing argument supported by the necessary evidence in order to increase the chance of approval. If the case officer is satisfied all the criteria have been addressed and the need seems legitimate, they will approve the business nomination.

Visa application

We make sure you have the necessary skills, qualifications, and work experience to perform the occupation the business has nominated. We collect all your documents and provide advice on what further documents we need, and work with you to address any issues that arise with the documents you have sent us. We go through your CV to look for inconsistencies and things that are poorly explained, and we check your work references to make sure they can be used as evidence for the claims you make.

If you are applying through the Direct Entry Stream, we arrange your skills assessment and forward your documents to the skill assessing organisation that will either assess you as meeting the skills requirement or not. In some cases, mainly trades occupations, a practical assessment of your skills is required. Skills assessing organisations charge a fairly large fee for the skills assessment, which you must pay, and it takes some time to get a result.

We advise you on the necessary English language test if you haven’t done one yet.

There are various other things to arrange and information we will need to get from you, and when everything is ready, we submit your visa application.

Although we list these steps separately, in reality we prepare both applications at the same time.

Can you guarantee the business will be approved and I will get the visa? 

No. It is impossible to guarantee a result, and no ethical migration agent would provide a guarantee. It is possible that a carefully prepared application is still refused.

A certain amount of subjectivity is involved in an assessment. The case officer assessing your visa applications at the Department of Immigration will follow the laws as set out in the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994, and a set of associated guidelines that accompanies this legislation, and will apply them to your application.

However, a case officer still has a reasonable amount of discretion during their assessment.

What you can do is limit your chances of refusal and increase your chances of approval by addressing any potential issues the case officer may find problematic upfront, providing as much quality evidence as possible to prove your claims and having well-written submissions prepared that explain how everything fits together.