Employer Nomination Scheme Visa


The Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) allows eligible Australian employers to sponsor suitably skilled overseas workers to live and work permanently in Australia.The subclass 186 visa, otherwise known as Employer Nomination Scheme or ENS is appropriate for the skilled workers residing in countries other than Australia or who are the temporary skilled residents of Australia.

This Visa constitutes three streams which are mentioned below:

  • 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 temporarily, worked in the Australian labour market
  • The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement.


The Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) is applicable for skilled workers from other countries 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 less 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 can nominate you, you can lodge an Expression of Interest through SkillSelect. Employers and state and territory governments can view your details through SkillSelect. Then they will decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration or not.

If you owe any amount of money to the Australian Government, you may not be eligible to be granted a visa until you have made arrangements to pay the debt.


If you are nominated to apply for this visa, then you must lodge your application online within six months from the date the nomination was approved. Please make sure that your visa application is lodged soon after your employer nomination is processed. You also need to select the correct stream. In case of failure to do so may lead to an invalid visa application.

When you apply, you must select one of the visa’s three streams mentioned below:

  • choose the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you are a subclass 457 visa holder. This implies that you have 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 for a short period, worked in the Australian labour market. Even if you have not held a subclass 457 visa for the last two years with your nominating employer, or if you are applying directly from a country other than Australia you need to choose this stream. 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.


You can apply for this visa if you:

  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer
  • are less than 50 years of age
  • meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements

Requirements before applying for visa

The skills, qualifications and language requirements depend on the stream you choose for the visa application.These include:

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 the knowledge of vocational English.
  • This stream is available only to people who hold a subclass 457 visa or 482 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 proficiency in English
  • Skills assessments must be submitted with your online visa application.

Agreement stream:

If you apply for the Agreement stream, you must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.

Lodging the application

You must lodge your application online. This can be done while you are in Australia or in other country. During this initial stage you must pay the initial application charge of AUD 3755 by credit card.

Applicants and dependants who are 18 years or older and have less knowledge of functional English, are bound to pay an extra amount as second charges. This second charge has to be paid before the visa is granted.

According to the rules of lodging application for this visa, you must make sure that you agree with the Australian Values Statement. You must ensure that you have read about these values or were explained to you from the book ‘the Life in Australia’.

Provide relevant documents

You must provide essential documents that prove the claims you make in your application. The required documents 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 which needs to be done by an accredited translator.

If you do not provide all the documents, the information provided by you should explain about this. It is in your interest to support your application with as much as information possible.

These documents must be submitted with your online application.

The department will contact you if they need any additional information and/or other documentation such as original documents.

Make use of helpful interpretations:

Certain requirements need to be fulfilled if dependent family members are included in your application. For further details you must read about the rules of ‘Including dependent family members’ mentioned in your application.

Information to help prepare your application has advice on certified documents, statutory declarations, translating documents, communicating with the department, using a migration agent, authorizing another person to receive information from the department, and receiving assistance with your application.

‘Permanent Employer Sponsored Program definitions’ has a list of interpretations/meanings of words used in relation to this visa.


After you lodge your application and submit your documents, the department will let you know whether they have received your information. They will assign you a case officer to consider your application and proceed on with further steps of application. They may request for an interview (if needed), and ask for more information (if needed) to come to a decision about your visa application.

Meet health requirements:

You and all the members of your family must meet certain health requirements. The department will inform you when to arrange health examinations.

Meet character requirements:

You and your dependants must meet certain character requirements also. This indicated that you and each of your dependants (whether migrating or not) who are aged 16 years and above 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 inform you when to arrange police certificates.

Meet biometrics requirements:

You may be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of your application.

Appear for 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 requested documents.

Provide a response, if requested:

If any person provides you with the department information which could result in your visa being refused, the department will give you the chance to comment on that information.

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. This will allow you to stay in the country officially while your application is being processed.
  • If you want to travel to other country while your visa application is being processed, you may need to apply for a specific Bridging visa. This specific visa will allow you to leave and return to Australia after the tour.
  • 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 apply for a bridge visa.
  • If you apply for this visa 186 when residing in other country and then travel back to Australia on another visa before this application is decided, you may need to apply for a Bridging visa.

Wait for a visa outcome:

The department has service standards relating to the time it takes to process applications of this visa. The country you reside and you lodging your application from Australia or other country affects the time it takes for your application to be finalized.

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


If the visa is granted while your stay in another country, you and your dependent members may enter Australia at any time. Once you enter the continent, you and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

This visa allows you and your accompanying family members to:

  • live and work permanently in Australia
  • study in Australia
  • enroll 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

This is a permanent residence visa that allows you to travel to and from Australia for five years from the date it is granted. If you want to continue such travel even after the visa expires, you must get a Resident Return Visa. You can also apply for citizenship to continue with your stay in the country.