186 Visa Applicants

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa allows skilled workers to come to Aust​ralia and work for a nominating employer permanently. The employer may nominate a worker who is in or outside of Australia and depending on the circumstances, may nominate under one of three streams:

  1. The transition stream (TRT) if your employers sponsored you on a subclass 457 or 482 visa for at least 3 years;
  2. The direct stream (DE) if you have not been sponsored by your employer or you cannot meet the TRT stream;
  3. The Agreement stream for employers who want to negotiate a labor agreement with the Government.

Regardless of the stream being applied for, there are generally two stages to a successful subclass 186 visa application. These include:

  1. Employers must apply to nominate an occupation from the relevant occupation list; and
  2. Workers must apply for the subclass 186 visa within 6 months of the employer nomination being granted.

 Applications may be lodged together, however if one fails, applicants may not be able to recover payments already made for other applications or professional fees.


Essential Eligibility criteria for TRT applicants include::

  1. You have worked for the same employer in the same occupation for 3 of the prior 4 years on your current subclass 457 or 482 visa;
  2. You are nominated for the subclass 186 visa by the same 457 or 482 employer in the same occupation;
  3. You hold required licensing or registration for the position nominated by the employer;
  4. You and all in your application are of good health and character;
  5. You have the required level of 'competent' English language;
  6. You can obtain a positive skills assessment if requested;
  7. You are under 45 years old at application time;
  8. Your employer has a approved nomination.

Nomination and visa application may be lodged at the same time, however this is not allways appropriate.

Essential eligibility criteria for the direct entry stream include:

  1. You are nominated for the subclass 186 visa by an eligible Australian employer who can provide at least two years full time work in the nominated position;
  2. You have at least three years' experience in the nominated occupation, or an occupation closely associated with the nominated occupation;
  3. You hold a valid, positive skills assessment undertaken for the nominated occupation by the prescribed skills assessing authority;
  4. You hold, or have applied for/be eligible to hold required licensing or registration for the position nominated by the employer;
  5. You and all additional applicants are of good health and character;
  6. You have the required level of 'competent' English language at time of application, unless exempt;
  7. You are under 45 years old at time of application;
  8. Your nominating employer meets all nomination criteria.
Information provided on this page is not legal or immigration advice and you should seek assistance specific to your individual circumstances.
More Information
English Language
Competent English is most common

All skilled visas require applicants to satisfy a English language  criteria. The below table shows the relevant score required for each level, as it applies to the different English language tests.

proficiency levelTest componentIELTSTOEFL
& iBT
Functional Overall Score 4.5 32 30 147 n/a
Vocational Listening 5.0 4 36 154 B
Reading 5.0 4 36 154 B
Writing 5.0 14 36 154 B
Spea​king 5.0 14 36 154 B
Competent Listening 6.0 12 50 169 B
Reading 6.0 13 50 169 B
Writing 6.0 21 50 169 B
Speaking 6.0 18 50 169 B
Proficient Listening 7.0 24 65 185 B
Reading 7.0 24 65 185 B
Writing 7.0 27 65 185 B
Speaking 7.0 23 65 185 B
Superior Listening 8.0 28 79 200 A
Reading 8.0 29 79 200 A
Writing 8.0 30 79 200 A
Speaking 8.0 26 79 200 A

You may be exempt from the English requirement if:

  • you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland as evidence that you are a citizen of that country;
  • Or
  • you are applying under the temporary residence stream; and
  • You have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English.
  • You cannot include short courses studied for this purpose.

    Applicants for the Labour Agreement Stream must demonstrate that they have English language skills that are suitable to perform the occupation to which the position relates. This will be the same level of English as for the other visa streams , unless otherwise specified in the labour agreement.

    Under 45 - unless exempt
    Age exemptions may exist for the skilled 186 and 187 visas, including:
    1. If you are nominated as a senior academic by a university in Australia;
    2. If you are nominated as a scientist, researcher, or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level one or two by an Australian government scientific agency
    3. if you are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have been working for your nominating employer as the holder of a 482 or subclass 457 visa for the last three years and your earnings were at least equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold for each year over that period
    4. If you are a medical practitioner (ANZSCO Minor Group 253) (Temporary Residence Transition stream)and you meet all specified criteria.
    5. If you hold a Special Category visa (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) visa (subclass 461) and you have been working for the employer who nominated you for at least two years (excluding any periods of unpaid leave) in the last three years immediately before applying under the direct entry stream.
    6. If you are applying through the Labour Agreement stream and the relevant labour agreement allows for a person who has turned 45 to be employed.

    Important: you may also be able to apply for a visa under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you are over 45 years of age but under 50, if transitional arrangements apply because you either held, or were an applicant for, a subclass 457 visa (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.

    Ask Us
    Get Started For Free
    Should I Submit A Form 80
    Fill it in...
    Currently, there is no legislation requiring the form 80, however the Department claim it will help with processing times. We recommend filling in the form 80 and lodging it if and when your circumstances require it
    Who Can Certify My Documents
    Your lawyer or RMA in Australia
    In Australia any lawyer or Registered Migration Agent may certify your documents. If overseas it is best to use a Notary Public.
    What If My Occupation Isn't Listed
    Your employer may apply for a labour agreement
    How Difficult Are Skilled Visas?
    It depends on the visa subclass
    We are not interested in taking advantage, so we do not generally assist with simple visas. Skilled visas range from medium to very high difficulty, mostly due to the ongoing changes in immigration Law and policy.
    How are Employer Supported Visas Different?
    The Ability to Obtain PR
    Criteria482 - S482 - L186187
    Visa Type TR TR PR PR
    Transition to PR N Y - -
    Maximum Age 44 44 44 44
    Minimum Years Work Experience 2 2 3 3
    Minimum English   Competent Competent Competent
    Skills Assessment Required N N Y Y
    Relevant Qualifications Required Y Y Y Y
    Minimum Stay in Regional Area N N< N Y
    Minimum Months Processing Time 6 6 12 12
    Include Family on Application Y y Y Y
    Health Assessment Required Y Y Y
    Criminal History Check Required Y Y Y Y
    Skills Select EOI Required N N N N
    Points Test Required N N N N
    Health Insurance Required Y Y Y Y