Employer Nomination Scheme

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Work Visa

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa - 186

Visa 186 has been designed to allow skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently. It is employer nominated, so it is more difficult to get than other visas, but the permanent residency makes it worth it.

There are three visa streams – Direct entry, labour agreement, and temporary residence transition.

Direct entry: This process requires a nomination from a local Australian employer, and the occupation must be on the eligible skilled occupation list. If approved, this allows you to stay in Australia permanently. You arrive directly from your country of origin.

Labour agreement stream: This is for employers who are party to a labour agreement. You must be nominated by the employer and have an occupation which is deemed ‘skilled’ and on the skilled occupation list. It allows you to live and work in Australia permanently.

Temporary residence transition stream: This employer- nominated scheme requires that you must have worked for your current employer already, full time for at least three years. It required a 457, TSS or another bridging visa. These 186 visas allow you a permanent stay in Australia and continues from your current Australian home. 

Step by step application process
  1. Check that you are eligible for this visa.
  2. Get your employer to sponsor you under the direct entry stream and get the TRN (Transaction Reference Number) from them.
  3. Get all your paperwork together, do relevant skills assessment, English tests, and all other eligibility criteria tests.
  4. Apply for the visa within six months of being nominated. Do this via your Miscount. You can be in or out of Australia to do this. Pay the visa fee.
  5. If the immigration department ask for more information such as biometrics or other data, they will request it and you should respond as quickly as possible.
  6. You will be notified of the outcome. If it is refused, they will tell you why and advise if you can request a review of the decision.



Processing time

Direct entry stream: 75% of applications are processed within 83 days, and 90% are processed within six months.

Labour agreement stream: Due to low numbers of this visa type, there are no numbers available.

Temporary residence transition stream: 75% of applications are processed within six months, and 90% of applications within ten months.


The direct entry stream, labour agreement stream and temporary residence transition stream all cost from AU$4,045. Additional applicants over 18 years are $2,025 each, and under 18 years are $1,010 each.

Eligibility criteria

There are a range of basic criteria in applying for the 186 visas: You must be skilled: You must have the skills to carry out the job which is listed on the skilled occupation list. This includes having relevant work experience, generally a minimum of three years in your chosen profession or trade. In order to prove this, you may be required to submit a skills assessment, or have a relevant licence, registration or membership with a governing body.

You must be nominated by an Australian employer: Your future employer must go through official channels to nominate you. This is to ensure they are operating lawfully. A visa will be denied if the nominator has adverse information about them or the nomination is withdrawn.

You must be a certain age: Visa 186 requires that you be under 45 years of age when you apply. There are exemptions, for instance for academic lecturers, scientists and researchers, or you already have a 444 visa and already work for the employer who nominated you.

You must meet health requirements: The applicant, and any family members travelling with them, must meet minimum health requirements. While this includes tuberculosis, it is not limited to that. It is to ensure no extra burden on the Australian healthcare system. You’ll need to have a health examination carried out by a registered healthcare provider, and they will submit the results on your behalf.

You must meet character requirements: These character requirements are to try to ensure you are of good character. You may be denied a visa if you have a criminal record, have been involved with anti-social groups or organisation, or have the potential to engage in criminal conduct/ incite discord in the Australian community.

You will likely be asked to provide a police certificate for any country you have lived in and complete a form and a statutory declaration.

Your occupation must be on the skilled occupation list: This list is always changing to meet the changing demands. Not all occupations are eligible for all visa types either, so check that your occupation is on the 186-visa list.

You must meet minimum English standards: Unless you are a citizen of the UK, USA, NZ, Canada or Ireland, you need to be competent in English. You need to either have met certain scores on IELTS, TOEFL it, PTE Academic, OET or Cambridge C1 Advanced tests.

If you have any debt to the Australian government, you must have paid this back. You also may be denied a visa if you have had a previous visa cancelled or refused.

Documents required

There are a lot of documents required, so do start gathering these as soon as possible. These may be required for any eligible family members who are intending to travel with you too. Not all of these will be required, or immigration may request more evidence.

  • English competency certificate dated within the last three years
  • police certificates proving good character
  • form 80 for character assessment
  • a character statutory declaration
  • skills assessment for occupation or proof of industry body registration
  • skills assessment exemption documents
  • CV/ resume
  • proof of ID, such as passport, birth certificate, national identity card
  • proof of name change, if relevant
  • marriage certificate, if relevant
  • a signed Australian values statement
  • proof of good health- this should be submitted by your healthcare provider
  • age exemption documents if over 45 years of age
  • partner/ dependent documents, which may include ID proof, character documents, English test results, health assessment results.
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