Subclass 186

Subclass 186: Employer Nomination Scheme - Direct Entry Stream

The Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa allow eligible  employers to bring skilled overseas workers to Australia, indefinitely.

To be eligible for the Direct Entry visa:

  • you must be ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​nominated by an Australian employer
  • have at least 3 years relevant work experience in your occupation in the SOL, unless exempt
  • you must have at least Competent English

The benefits of Subclass 186 for applicants include as below: 

  1. Pathway to Permanent Residency;
  2. Access to Medicare in Australia;
  3. Full Working Rights in Australia; and
  4. Applicants can either have a valid visa or a bridging visa A, B, or C to apply for Subclass 186 in Australia.

Types of 186 visa

There are three nomination types of Subclass 186 Visa. 

Direct Entry Stream

This visa lets skilled workers, who are nominated by an employer, live and work in Australia permanently.

Labour Agreement Stream

The Labour Agreement stream might be for you if you currently work, or will work, for an employer who is party to a labour agreement.

Temporary Residence Transition Stream

This visa lets skilled workers, holding a 457, TSS or related bridging visa A, B or C, and have  worked for their employer full-time for at least two years, apply for permanent residency. 

Subclass 186 - Direct Entry Stream Eligibility

To be eligible for a Subclass 186 - Direct Entry Stream, you & your sponsoring organisation must meet the below eligibility criterias.

Nomination Eligibility Criteria

Your sponsoring organisation must undertake market research for your nominated occupation

You must offer a skilled position that is full time and ongoing for at least 2 years

Your sponsoring organisation must pay the Skilling Australians Fund levy as per the table below.

Business size

ENS / RSMS and SESR visas

Small (annual turnover less than $10 million)

AUD3000 one-off

Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more)

AUD5000 one-off


Your sponsoring organisation must not have any adverse information known about it or any person associated with it, or it is reasonable to disregard this information

Your sponsoring organisation must be actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia

Your sponsoring organisation must provide evidence that the position must be within your business activities and not for unrelated businesses and that there is a genuine need for a paid employee to fill the position.

Visa Application Eligibility Criteria

Usually, you must be under 45 years of age when you apply.

You are exempt from this criteria if any of the following applies to you:

  • you are nominated as an academic (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic Level B, C D or E) by a university in Australia
  • you are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian scientific government agency
  • you currently hold a Special Category (subclass 444) or New Zealand citizen’s family member (subclass 461) visa and have worked for the employer who nominated you, in the nominated position, for at least 2 years in the last 3 years immediately before you apply. The 2 years excludes periods of unpaid leave.


You must be nominated by an Australian employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating.

You must apply for the visa within 6 months of the nomination being approved.

We can’t grant you a visa if:

  • we are aware of adverse information about your nominator or any person associated with them, unless it is reasonable to disregard this information, or
  • the nomination is withdrawn, or
  • the position is no longer available


Please note that the Department can’t link a new nomination to your existing visa application. Therefore, you must submit a new visa application in relation to the new nomination. 

Most applicants need to have a skills assessment that shows they have the skills to work in the nominated position

Your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.


Unless exempt, most applicants need to have at least 3 years relevant work experience in their occupation.

Applicants who are exempt from the skills assessment requirement are also exempt from the work experience requirement.

You must have at least competent English to be granted this stream of the visa.

To prove you have competent English, provide evidence:

    • that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom*, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, with your application. *British National (Overseas) passports are not acceptable as evidence of competent English; or
    • you have an obtained one of the following English language test results:



TestRequired score
International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training​)At least 6 for each of the 4 components
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)At least 50 for each of the 4 components
Occupational English Test (OET)At least B for each of the 4 components
​Cambridge C1 Advanced testAt least 169 in each of the 4 components

You and family members aged 16 years and over who apply for the visa with you must meet the Department’s character requirement & health requirement

Something else ?


    We are happy to answer
    any queries you may have

    How do I know which stream is right for me?

    To understand which stream is right for you, you will need to find an occupation that matches your qualification and employment and check which skill list it falls under. Only specified occupations on the lists are able to be sponsored under the 186-visa program. Alternatively, you can book a consultation with us, and we can assist in finding an occupation that matches your skills, qualification and experience.

    Can I apply for this visa offshore?

    Yes, you can apply for this visa outside Australia.

    Can I apply for this visa on a bridging visa?

    Yes, you can apply for this visa on either a bridging Visa A, B, or C

    How long is the visa valid for?

    This is a permanent residency visa, and allows you to stay in Australia, indefinitely. 

    Can I be sponsored by another sponsor?

    Yes – your existing employer will need to submit a new nomination.

    Can my family members work in Australia?

    Yes, they are granted full working rights upon the grant of visa. 

    Steps for Subclass 186 - Direct Entry Application


    To begin applying for Subclass 186, your sponsoring employer needs to nominate you for a permanent position in your nominated occupation.

    Subclass 186 visa does not have a sponsorship application. 

    Visa Application

    Once both sponsorship and nomination has been applied for, our Registered Migration Agents will apply for your Subclass 186 application and will liaise with the Department on your behalf. We will ensure that all relevant documents are submitted at the time of lodgement to ensure faster processing of your visa application.

    Undertake Health and Medical Checks

    Once you have applied for the visa, we recommend that you undertake your health and medical examination, once we instruct you to do so.

    Wait for Visa Outcome.

    Once all relevant documents are uploaded, we will wait for a visa application outcome, and follow up wherever necessary. 

    Which 186 Visa is suitable for me?

    We understand that choosing between different visa subclasses maybe daunting, but we have broken down some key eligibility criteria for review

    Can you secure a skills assessment?

    Although Direct Entry Stream allows for visa applications to be processed directly, some applicants may not be eligible for the same, if they are unable to pass skills assessment. If this circumstance applies to you, you can achieve Australian permanent residency through the Transitional Residence Stream. You do not need a skills assessment in your occupation for the Temporary Resident Transition stream.

    How old are you?

    The Department has announced that they will be easing age requirements for legacy 457 workers, making it easier for them gain permanent residency in Australia.

    Based on the new changes, there are NO AGE LIMIT for legacy 457 workers when applying for Subclass 186 application.

    The new rules will apply to Subclass 186 applicants who have:

      (a) held a subclass 457 visa on or after 18 April 2017; and

      (b) was in Australia for at least 12 months between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021.

    The new Instrument is consistent with Minister Hawke’s announcement to support temporary residents by easing restrictions for whose who had remained in Australia during COVID-19.

    Please note that RSMS SC 187 applicants are not covered by this Instrument.

    Your Work Experience

    If you have applied for 457/482 Visa Holders After 18 April 2017, Direct Entry stream allows you to apply for permanent residency, if you have worked for several different employers, in your nomination occupation. However, you must have worked for the same employer over the three years, whilst holding a 457/482 visa, to be eligible for Temporary Residence Transition stream. If you held or applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017, you will only need to demonstrate two years of work experience in your nominated occupation. 

    COVID-19 Concession for Subclass 186 Visa

    Reduced Work Hours and Eligibility for Subclass 186 TRT Visa

    To be eligible for a subclass 186 TRT visa, you must have worked for your nominated employer full time for three years. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak, many workers have reduced their work hours or were forced to take unpaid leave.

    The changes to Migration Regulations will now allow subclass 457/482 visa holders to apply for the subclass 186 TRT despite not working full-time during the concession period (1 February 2020).

    Age and Fair Work High Income Threshold Exemption

    Usually, you must be under 45 years of age to apply for Subclass 186. However, you may be eligible for an age exemption for Subclass 186 if the candidates can attract a salary at or above the Fair Work high-income threshold. 

    However, eligible ‘coronavirus concession worker’ applicants will continue to qualify for the age exemption, despite their earnings being affected by a coronavirus employment change. The Department may apply the pro-rata income threshold.

    This applies to all applications made on or after 1 February 2020.

    TSS Short Term Visa to Permanent Residency

    Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa holders in the short-term stream will be able to apply for permanent residence through the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 visa. This pathway is available for two years, from 1 July 2022.

    To be eligible, TSS visa holders must:

    • have been in Australia for at least one year between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021
    • meet all other nomination and visa requirements for the TRT stream of the ENS visa.

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