Subclass 186

Subclass 186

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

There are three streams under the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme program:

  • The Temporary Residence Transition Stream
  • The Direct Entry Stream
  • The Labour Agreement Stream.

Visa Benefits

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, who has worked for the sponsoring employer for at least 3 years full time while on a subclass 457 or TSS visa, live and work in Australia permanently.

Visa Eligibility

To be nominated for a Subclass 186 Visa, the sponsoring employer must: 

  • Undertake Market Research for your nominated occupation
  • Offer a skilled position that is full time and ongoing for at least 2 years
  • Pay the Skilling Australians Fund levy
  • Have no adverse information known about it or any person associated with it, or it is reasonable to disregard this information
  • Evidence that your employer is actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia
  • Evidence that the position must be within your business activities and not for unrelated businesses
  • Evidence that you have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position

To be eligible for a Subclass 186 visa, you must be: 

  • have an occupation that is on the list of eligible skilled occupations 
  • have at least 3 years relevant work experience, unless you are exempt
  • have a positive skills assessment, unless you are exempt
  • Have relevant skills, qualifications and employment background to perform occupation
  • Work only for your sponsor or associated entity, unless you are exempt
  • Have competent English
  • Meet health and character requirement

To be eligible for a Subclass 186 - TRT Stream, the employee must:

  • Have an occupation on the MLTSSL List
  • Have the required skills and qualifications needed to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation.
  • Be nominated by your employer for a permanent position in your nominated occupation
  • hold a subclass 457, TSS or related Bridging visa A, B or C
  • Have worked for your employer for at least 3 years full time while holding a subclass 457 or TSS visa
  • Demonstrate competent English (IELTS 6.0 in each or equivalent) unless If you hold a passport from NZ, USA, Canada, UK and Ireland
  • Be under 45 years of age unless exemption applies through the grandfathering provisions.
  • Hold any mandatory registration, licence or professional membership requirement.
  • Meet health and character requirements.

Types of 186 - TRT Stream Visa

Those who had applied for or held a 457 Visa before 18 April 2017

Under the grandfathering provisions, you can apply for a 186 visa once you have worked with your sponsor for a minimum of two years, whilst the holder of this visa. The minimum age to apply for this visa is 50 years.

Those who applied for a 457 or 482 Visa after 18 April 2017

You must have an occupation on the MLTSSL and can then apply for a 186 visa once you have worked for your sponsor for three years whilst the holder of this visa.

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 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. 

    Summary of cost estimates
    for your application

    We have summarised the costs for a Subclass 186 application. 

    Sponsorship Application


    Subclass 186 does not have a        sponsorship application.


    AUD 540

    Paid directly to the Department of Home Affairs.

    186 TRT

    AUD 4,240

    From AUD 4240 for primary visa applicants.

    186 Direct Entry Visa

    AUD 4240

    From AUD 4,240 for primary visa applicants.



    Small (annual turnover less than $10 million) pays AUD3000 one-off. Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more) pays AUD5000 one-off.

    Medical & Police


    Paid to the relevant authorities that issue police and medical checks of the applicants.

    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:


    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.


    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.


    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. 

    Processing Times - 186 Direct Entry

    75% of applications are processed in: 7 months
    90% of applications are processed in: 10 months

    7 months
    10 months
    11 months

    Processing Times - 186 TRT Stream

    75% of applications are processed in: 11 months
    90% of applications are processed in: 20 months

    20 months

    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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