Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186 Visa

 

The Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa is a permanent residency visa that requires the sponsorship of a nominating employer.

There are two separate pathways or streams for the 186 visa. You can satisfy the requirements of either stream before applying for the 186 visa. The streams are called the Direct Entry stream, and the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

 

Main eligibility requirements for 186 visa

 

In order to obtain a 186 visa, the visa applicant and the employer will need to satisfy a number of requirements, including the following key requirements:

  • Employer will need to satisfy the ‘training benchmark’ requirement, which generally means that it will need to provide training to its Australian citizen and permanent resident employees
  • If the visa applicant is applying under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, then the applicant needs to complete 2 years of full-time work as a 457 visa holder
  • If the visa applicant is applying under the Direct Entry stream, then generally speaking the visa applicant will need to obtain a positive skill assessment for the nominated occupation and have 3 years of relevant work experience
  • 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 role available to the visa applicant for that period
  • The role that the visa applicant is nominated to perform needs to align with an eligible occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List
  • Visa applicant must satisfy the English requirement for this visa, or one of the available exemptions
  • Visa applicant’s salary must be consistent with the ‘Australian market rate’ for the nominated role

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 does outline the key requirements.

 

 

Commitment that you make as a Subclass 186 visa applicant

 

In the visa application form, as the applicant, you are required to declare that you:

  1. Agree to work in the nominated position for at least two years
  2. Understand that if you as the applicant, or any family members included in the application or third parties acting your behalf, provide (or have provided in a previous application) false or misleading information, or bogus documents either knowingly or otherwise, the visa application will be refused and you may be subject to three year bar in relation to visas to which the fraud criterion applies. Any visa granted may be cancelled.

Effectively, this means that when your visa application is lodged, you must have the intention to work for your sponsoring employer in your nominated role for at least 2 years from the date that the permanent residency visa is approved.

 

Common eligibility requirements

 

All 186 visa applicants need to satisfy the following common requirements:

  • You can apply for this visa if you hold a substantive visa, or a bridging visa A, B or C. If you hold a bridging visa, you won’t need to address Schedule 3
  • Age requirement
  • Equivalent terms and conditions of employment

 

Age requirement

 

You need to be under 50 years of age at the time that you lodge your application. There are only a few allowed exceptions to this requirement for those applicants that are 50 years of age or over which are outlined below:

  1. Ministers of religion nominated by a religious institution
  2. Researchers, scientists and technical specialists at ANZSCO skill levels 1 or 2 who have been nominated by an Australian government agency
  3. Senior academics employed by a university in Australia
  4. Persons holding subclass 457 visas, who have a) worked for their nominating employer for at least the 4 year period preceding the visa application and b) been paid at least the Fair Work High Income Threshold for each of these 4 years (this pathway is only available through the Temporary Residence Transition stream)

 

Equivalent terms and 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).

 

Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream

 

To apply under the Temporary Residence Transition stream, you need to complete two years of employment with the employer that sponsored you for your 457 visa.

Employment with a different 457 visa sponsor can’t be counted towards the two years. Employment while holding a different visa can’t count towards the two years.

You need to have been working in the role that you will be sponsored for under the Subclass 186 visa application for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (excluding periods of unpaid leave). This also means that employment completed in a different role cannot be counted, even if you performed this role with the same sponsor.

 

English language requirement – TRT stream

 

You need to have ‘vocational’ English language ability which is satisfied if any of the following applies to you:

  • If you hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand; or
  • The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Vocational English are as follows:
Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 5 5 5 5
TOEFL iBT 4 4 14 14
PTE Academic 36 36 36 36
OET B B B B

 

You are exempted from having to satisfy the English language requirement if:

  • You are a Minister of Religion nominated by a religious institution, or
  • Your guaranteed annual earnings for your nominated position is at least equivalent to the highest current Australian individual income tax rate (currently $180,001 per annum), or
  • If you have completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where all the tuition was delivered in English

 

Direct Entry (DE) stream

 

Generally speaking, you need to apply for and obtain a positive skill assessment for your nominated occupation from the relevant skill assessment body. You must have your positive skill assessment outcome at the time of lodgement of your visa application.

If you are not sure about which skill assessment body is applicable for your occupation, find the relevant ANZSCO on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List. This list states the relevant skill assessment body for each sponsorable occupation.

You are exempt from having to complete a skill assessment if your guaranteed annual salary falls within the highest Australian income tax bracket (currently $180,001).

You are also 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 a sponsorable occupation for the same employer for at least 2 out of the last 3 years (excluding periods of unpaid leave).

 

English language requirement – DE Stream

 

The English language requirements for the Direct Entry and Temporary Residence Transition streams are different.

You need to have ‘competent’ English language ability which is satisfied if:

  • If you hold a passport from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand; or
  • The English examination scores that you need to achieve for Competent English are as follows:
Listening Reading Writing Speaking
IELTS 6 6 6 6
TOEFL iBT 12 13 21 18
PTE Academic 50 50 50 50
OET B B B B

 

You are exempted from having to satisfy the English language requirement if:

  • You are a Minister of Religion nominated by a religious institution, or
  • Your guaranteed annual earnings for your nominated position is at least equivalent to the highest current Australian individual income tax rate (currently $180,001 per annum)

 

.

Dependents who are over 18 – Functional English language ability

 

This applies for both the DE and TRT streams.

All adult dependents who are over 18 years of age will need to demonstrate ‘functional’ English language ability. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways:

  1. Achieve English examination results outlined below; or
  2. Complete all years of primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education at educational institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  3. Complete at least 5 years of secondary education at institutions in which all instruction was conducted in English; or
  4. Complete in Australia at least 1 year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma at an institution or institutions where all the instruction was conducted in English; or
  5. Hold an award (being a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate) that required at least 2 years of full-time study or training; and all instruction (including instruction received in other courses for which the person was allowed credit) for that award was conducted in English.

Required Scores to establish Functional English are as follows:

Test component Average test score
IELTS 4.5
TOEFL iBT 32
PTE Academic 30

 

 

The application process

 

You can only lodge an application using the Department’s online portal.

You 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 while you are inside or outside of Australia (but you won’t be granted a Bridging Visa A that is associated with your Subclass 186 visa application if you are outside of Australia at the time of lodgement).

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.

In my experience with NSW applications, normal processing time is 3-8 months.

 

How much does this visa cost?

 

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

  • 186 nomination application: $540
  • Base application fee: $3520
  • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years and over: $1760
  • Additional applicant charge for each additional adult that is 18 years or under: 880

 

Secondary visa application charge (SVAC)

 

This needs to be paid if anyone in your application who does not satisfy the English language requirement that applies to them. However, as the primary applicant, you need to meet the English language requirement. If you do not meet the English language requirement – then one of the exemptions outlined above must apply to you. If one of the exemptions apply to you as the primary applicant, then you need to pay the SVAC if you also do not have ‘functional’ English language ability.

This fee is paid at the time of decision so your case officer will contact you at the time that the payment is required.

As the primary applicant, if you don’t have functional English language ability, then the SVAC is $8,520. For other adult dependents that can’t demonstrate functional English, the SVAC is $4,520.

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Frequently asked questions

 

  1. Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work that I completed under another visa like 485 and student visa?
    A: No
  2. Q: For the TRT stream, can I count work completed with a different employer?
    A: No
  3. 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

 

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357 thoughts on “Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186 Visa

  1. Kate

    Hi Peng,
    Awesome blog!
    My employee is currently going through the 186 visa application. It has been lodged for 4 months already. She has already worked for us for over 2 years on a 456 visa.
    She has now advised that she is pregnant.(she is around 4 month pregnant)
    How does this effect her visa application? She is planning on going on leave around the time her decision is due. Once on parental leave (she will take the full year) is she still considered the same as if she was an employee?
    I would like to sell my business but have been waiting till her application was granted, wondering if I can sell while she is on maternity leave
    Thanks so much for your help!

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Kate,
      How does this effect her visa application? Department may hold off on deciding the application until the kid is born and is added to visa application.
      Once on parental leave (she will take the full year) is she still considered the same as if she was an employee? Sorry this isn’t a migration law issue.
      I would like to sell my business but have been waiting till her application was granted, wondering if I can sell while she is on maternity leave. This could affect the application – please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your options.
      PC

      Reply
  2. Van

    Hi Peng
    I am with Agreement Stream. Nomination approved on 39 March 2017. But waiting for the final result. How long will it takes normally according to your experience? Thanks for the web.

    Van

    Reply
      1. Van

        Hi
        Peng
        Thanks for prompt reply.
        We submitted together; Nomination and Application on 9 Nov 2016. Nomination approved on 29 of March but no news of my 186 Visa.
        Is it ok to submit together?
        Ban

        Reply
  3. Pilar

    Hi Peng,

    I am currently on 457 visa and I am about to apply for 189 visa. I would like to add my girlfriend on my application as a defacto. She is currently on tourist visa.

    -Do you think is possible to add her?
    -If so and in case we get bridging visa, will she have the conditions of the visa before (tourist visa), or it’s allow for her to work?
    Thank you in advance for your time.

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Regards,

    Pilar

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      She would need to check to see if her visitor visa has this condition which prevents further onshore visa applications: https://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/52b-nfc
      She would need to satisfy the requirements to be included as your de-facto partner.
      Yes she would get a bridging visa with work rights if she is included in your 189 application.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  4. Nelson

    Hi Peng,
    I have a few questions about the ENS direct entry.
    My wife is under the 457 as a restaurant manager, moved to the short list. She already talked to her bosses about her situation, if they can nominate her for the Direct Entry, and they said that they can, if the lawyer says that she has everything to be nominated.
    I already checked everything before, and she has everything, but she still has to do the skills assessment.
    My questions are:
    -Is there any chance of the position of Restaurant Manager be removed from the STSOL list after July 1st??? Because with that, I think should be impossible to apply for the Direct Entry (correct me, if I`m wrong)
    -Is it possible to lodge an aplication without all the documents (skills assessment, health exams)??? We are trying to apply for this before July 1st, avoiding unexpected changes on the list…
    -If they removed the position from the STSOL list, is it the new list is valid at the same day, or do we have more time to do the application???

    Just to inform, she already has the IELTS 6 each band, work experience (previous 3 years, and 1 year post qualifciation job under the employer which sponsored her) and all the diplomas and certificates she needs for the skills assessments.
    Any tip would help us a lot.
    Thanks for your time.
    -Nelson

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Nelson,
      -Is there any chance of the position of Restaurant Manager be removed from the STSOL list after July 1st? I don’t think so that this is just my opinion – up to the government and their assessment of employment data.
      -Is it possible to lodge an aplication without all the documents (skills assessment, health exams)? You need skill assessment at the time that you lodge – see visa requirements for what you need to satisfy at time of application.
      -If they removed the position from the STSOL list, is it the new list is valid at the same day, or do we have more time to do the application? I’m assume that this would be immediately effective.
      PC

      Reply
  5. Hasan

    Hi Peng,

    I m currently on 457 visa in regional area as a chef . Finished my 2 years and now I will apply employer-sponsored Permanent Resident (PR) in June . Should I apply ens visa or rsms visa via Temporary Residence Transition stream ? Which one do u think is safe and quick.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Hasan,
      Processing time for RSMS might be a bit quicker, but ENS and RSMS processing times are similar.
      Nomination and visa requirements are also similar for the 2 year stream.
      PC

      Reply
  6. Simon

    Hi Peng,
    I’m currently in 457 visa, i worked in the same position for more then 2 years, and same employer off course.
    Can I still apply for 186 ENS visa? Note: my position has been move in the short term list.
    If yes i will apply in the next weeks. Can I still apply?
    Best regards

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Simon,
      Based on the current law you can apply under the TRT stream after 2 years of work as a 457 visa holder.
      PC

      Reply
  7. ravneet

    hi peng
    I applied 457 on new business they grant my visa for 18 months on june 2015, and oct 2016 I applied for extend my visa so m on bridging visa A at the moment but my 2 years will complete next month so m I eligible to apply ENS while am on bridging visa A cause I complete 2 years with same employer or I have to wait for visa get approved
    thanks
    regards

    Reply
  8. Robon

    Hi Peng,
    I got my 457 visa on 13th May 2016,in hotel Manager.For TRT stream I can only apply PR in May 2018.
    Due to this change in rule by DIAC,is that true there is no option for TRT after March 2018 for me in Hotel Manager?
    Thanks heaps

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Robon,
      Based on the current law you can apply under the TRT stream after 2 years of work as a 457 visa holder, but the government may change this.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  9. Monique Orendain

    Hi I would just like to know is the cost for the ENS 186 visa for the employer is just the 540$, or does the employer have to pay for my visa costs as well? I mean when they make the nomination, does it mean that they will pay for visa costs as well? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Monique,
      There is no legal obligation on the employer to pay for the visa application.
      PC

      Reply
  10. Juan

    Hi Peng,

    Do you know perhaps if with these new Visa changes, on 1 July 2017 , will the Short-Term Skills occupation List have occupations added or removed? According to the new legislation, the government plan to review this list every 6 months, but I am not sure if this means that on 1st of July there will be changes on this skilled list or if the 6 month review begins after 1st of July 2017.

    Thanks

    Juan.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Sorry Juan but I can’t predict the actions of this government. List changes should be based on government assessment of industry/employment data.
      PC

      Reply
  11. Darren

    Hi Peng,

    Can you advise if the imminent English Language changes to the 186 Visa (TRT Stream) from “vocational” to “competent” will affect only the primary visa applicant or will this also be required by any secondary applicants too?

    I know currently this only requires “functional” but cannot find any definitive information on whether or not this will be changed also.

    Thanks again for you time.

    Reply
  12. Ben

    Hi Peng,

    My sponsorship for ENS 186 has been approved and I have applied to the immigration under this scheme. What are the implications on my application if I change my job (organisation) but the occupation is the same? Can I do that?

    Reply
  13. Sourabh

    Hi peng,i have some questions related to sponsorship i am working as a intern chef in canberra and my company is ready to give me sponsorship but i have only bachelors in hospitality from my country and 4years 6 month work experience of culinary.so i am eligible to apply for 186 or 187 visa.

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Sourabh,
      Sorry but I can’t provide advice just based on your comment information.
      Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.
      PC

      Reply
  14. Matt

    Hi Peng,

    Thanks for the post.

    I’m able to apply for my PR in October. I’ve worked for the same company, doing the same role working in the same field same Nominated Occupation.
    But my job title has changed within the two year time frame. Is this going to affect me obtain PR?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Matt,
      This won’t affect your eligibility if you just changed your role title.
      PC

      Reply
  15. ben

    Hi peng,I applied rsms visa in march 2016,my nomination has been approved and now case officer asked for SVAC (second visa application fee )…for my husband ,could you please tell me the cgances of visa outcome.i am offsho5and so worried about it….please let me know i will be great thankful to you. ….

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Department should approve your visa applications shortly after you pay the requested SVAC.
      PC

      Reply
  16. Sue

    hi peng

    just want to confirm that i currently on 457 visa and apply for 186 ENS (Temporary Residence Transition stream) last year 20 july 2016. still waiting for case officer allocated to my file.
    from same company which i used to work my another friend lodge his visa 25 oct 2016 he got his case officer 3 may 2017 his visa and nomination is approved on 10may 2017.

    why its like that ?
    why they r not processing july applications first?
    any idea how long it will take to make the decision on my application.

    Really Thanks

    Reply
    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Sue,
      Processing time can be affected by a number of factors including risk according to passport, health issues, character issues or other visa eligibility issues.
      Sorry but there isn’t any set processing time – DIBP’s general response is that it will take the time necessary to assess all the legal requirements if you call them.
      PC

      Reply

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