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Subclass 186 requirements, eligibility criteria, the application process and guidelines

186 Visa- Employer Nomination Scheme, is a permanent work visa granted to foreign workers who are nominated by Australian patrons. For the employer nomination scheme 186, there are a few visa streams available for you depending on which one you qualify for.

However, for each visa 186 stream, you must be nominated by an eligible sponsor.

Employer Nomination Scheme Visa 186 Streams

There are three main types of visa 186 streams you can apply for:

  1. Direct entry stream. You can apply for this visa if you meet the skills requirements and you have relevant experience in the nominated position. Your sponsor can nominate you for any job position listed in the skilled occupations list (see below).
  2. Labour agreements stream. You can apply for this stream if your sponsor is a part of the labour agreements. Labour agreements allow Australian sponsors to bring overseas workers to Australia when there is a deficiency in the local market and other visa options are not available.
  3. Temporary residence transition stream. This stream is suitable for you if you already have or had previously another temporary work visa subclass 457 or 482 and you want to stay in Australia permanently.

How Do I Get an Employer Nomination for Visa 186?

This is how you get a nomination for your visa 186:

  1. Have an eligible sponsor. To have a valid nomination for your visa 186, you must have an eligible sponsor (see the requirements here). Your employer must meet several eligibility criteria and depending on which stream you are applying for the criteria might change.
  2. Have an eligible occupation. You must meet the skills assessment criteria and have a profession listed in the skilled occupation list so that your sponsor can nominate you for visa 186.
  3. Your sponsor applies for you. If you and your employer meet the eligibility criteria, your employer can make an application to nominate you. The nomination must be submitted via the ImmiAccount and your sponsor will be required to submit an application fee of AUD540 (sometimes the fee may be nil).
  4. Your sponsor pays the levy fund. The Department of Foreign Affairs won’t approve the nomination if your sponsor doesn’t pay the skillings fund fee. This fee is AUD3,000 if your sponsor’s business has a turnover of less than AUD10 million. If your sponsor has a turnover of more than 10 million, then the fee is AUD5,000.

Employer Nomination Scheme 186 Visa Document Checklist

These are the documents that you must submit for your visa 186:

  • Your valid passport.
  • A copy of your ID.
  • Character documents.
  • Name change documents.
  • Documents proving your English language proficiency.
  • Skill assessment (if required).
  • Qualifications and work experience.
  • Licensing, membership, professional registration documents (if applicable).
  • Helping forms:
  • For your partner please include:
    • Identification documents
    • Marriage certificate
    • Proof of relationship
    • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • For your children under 18 years of age also include:
    • Birth certificate
    • Identity documents
    • Parental consent form 1229
    • Statutory declaration
  • For your dependent children over 18 include:
    • Identity documents
    • Proof of other relationships
    • Proof of dependency
    • Evidence they are currently studying
    • Form 47a
    • Evidence that you were supporting your family member financially at least during the last year.

186 Visa Checklist for Employer

Your employer needs to prepare these documents when nominating you for a 186 visa:

  • Employment contract.
  • Evidence of paid levy fee.
  • Proof of annual salary rate (if applicable).
  • Proof that the business is legally permitted to operate.
  • Evidence that there is a genuine need for an overseas employer.
  • Financial statements.
  • Full name of the position and the ANZSCO code.
  • Business activity documents.
  • A detailed business organisational chart.
  • A health workforce certificate if the nominated position is related to health care:
    • General practitioner
    • Medical practitioner
    • Resident medical officer
  • For the temporary residence transition stream your sponsor must also include:
    • Evidence of the work you did under a visa 457 or 482.
    • Documents regarding sponsorship change (if applicable).
    • Proof of associated business.

186 Visa English Language Requirements

You must submit evidence proving your level of English proficiency for visa 186; such as citizenship, schooling or any international tests that you took. At the moment, because of Covid, some testing centres are providing opportunities to take the test at home- as of now, these tests are not accepted by the Immigration Office.

For your visa 186, you must provide evidence that you have either a functional level of the English language or a competent level. The functional level will be required for a direct entry stream and the labour agreement 186 visa, while a competent level is obligatory for a temporary residence transition stream.

Please note that as of November 2019, the Department of Foreign Affairs is not allowing exemptions for the language requirement in the temporary residence transition 186 visa.

186 Visa Functional English

Please provide one of the following to show you have a functional level of the English language:

  • Proof you are a citizen or hold a passport from an English speaking country:
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • Republic of Ireland
  • Evidence that you finished a degree, higher degree, a diploma, a trade certificate in an institution with all of the instructions in English (in or out of Australia).
  • Proof that you received an education at:
    • A primary and secondary school with English instructions (all primary school years and at least three of secondary school).
    • A secondary school in or out of Australia with English instructions(at least five years).
    • A school in Australia with English instructions (at least a year of full-time study towards an award or part-time equivalent to one year towards an award).
  • Proof that one year before your application you have received an acceptable score in an international English test:
    • IELTS- a score of at least 4.5.
    • TOEFL iBT- a score of at least 32.
    • PTE Academic- a score of at least 30.
    • CAE- a total score of at least 147.

186 Visa Competent Level of English

To show a competent level of the English language provide one of the following:

  • Evidence that you are a citizen, or passport holder of one of the countries listed below:
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America
    • Canada
    • New Zealand
    • Republic of Ireland
  • Proof you’ve received the following scores in international English tests:
Test Score
 IELTS 6 points for the four test parts
TOEFL Listening- 12 points
Reading- 13 points
Writing- 21 points
Speaking- 18 point
PTE Academic 50 points for each test part
OET (Occupational English Test) B (at least) for each test part
Cambridge C1 Advanced test 169 points (at least) for each test part


Employer Nomination Scheme Application Process

The application process for visa 186 is as follows:

  1. You have a valid nomination. You must have an approved nomination before you submit your visa application.
  2. You get your TRN. When your sponsor’s nomination application is approved they will get a transaction reference number.
  3. You apply for the visa. Finally, you can apply for a visa 186- you must submit an online application via the ImmiAccount and pay the visa fee through the payments section in the online platform.

Application Fee for 186 Visa

Your 186 visa application fee is AUD4,045. You may be required to pay more fees if you bring your family members with you to Australia. See visa fees.

186 Visa Processing Times

These are the processing times for a 186 visa:

Visa Stream Timeline
Direct Entry Stream-subclass 186 From 6 up to 11 months
Labour Agreement Stream- subclass 186 From 7 up to 11 months
Temporary Residence Transition Stream- subclass 186 From 14 up to 18 months

186 Visa Nomination Processing Time

The nomination for a 186 visa will take up to 6 weeks to get processed. The Department of Home Affairs will review the nomination application and see if you and your sponsor meet the qualifying criteria. Once a nomination has been approved you have six months to apply for the 186 visa.

186 Visa Obligations

You need to fulfil these obligations below in order to maintain your visa status:

  • You must work for your sponsoring employer for at least two years.
  • You accept to begin your employment within 6 months of entering Australia or since the visa is granted (if you are in Australia).
  • You and any dependent you bring to Australia must obtain all Australian laws.

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

The temporary skilled migration income threshold is the minimal amount your sponsor is required to pay you. Currently, the temporary threshold income is AUD53,900- this means your sponsor cannot pay you less than this amount. Non-monetary benefits are not included in the TSMIT.

Employer Nomination Scheme Occupation List

The occupation list of the employer nomination scheme contains the available jobs for work visas and the skills level required to work in that position. Australia and New Zealand use a classification code to categorize the working visa professions, and each work position has its own ANZSCO code. The ANZSCO code represents the requirements needed to fulfil that occupation.

In order to be eligible for a visa 186, your profession must be a part of this occupation list. Some occupations are not included in the list and may be subject to caveats. However, if your sponsor believes that the nominated position fulfils the eligibility criteria, they must submit evidence of that when they nominate you for the 186 visa.

You can see the full list of occupations for the nomination scheme here.

Visa 186 Rejection

Your visa 186 application will be denied if:

  • Your nomination is withdrawn.
  • The work position is no longer available.
  • The Immigration office is aware of dubious information surrounding you, your sponsor, or any person associated with you.

See more about Australia visa denial.

Please remember; you won’t be able to get a new nomination for an already existing visa. You may have to withdraw your visa application and apply for a new visa with a new nomination- the Department may refund your visa application charge.

Travel Conditions for 186 Visa

With your 186 visa, you can travel freely only for five years. When this travel stipulation expires, you must apply for a resident return visa (RRV) to extend your travel facility. You aren’t obliged to do this, but without an RRV if you leave Australia after five years you may not be allowed to re-enter the country as a permanent resident.

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