186 Visa: The Ultimate Guide to Employer Nominated Scheme Visa in 2024

Immigration information is subject to change. Please contact a migration agent for your visa enquiries!

Table of Contents

    Corazon Jasa

    Written: January 16, 2024

    Updated: June 17, 2024

    18 min read

    186 visa

    Have you been dreaming of calling Australia home with a secure job to boot? You might have heard whispers about the Employer Nominated Scheme, also known as the 186 Visa, but finding your way through visa options can be as tricky as spotting a kangaroo in a sprawling city.

    If moving down under for good, backed by an employer who values your skills sounds like your next big adventure, then understanding the ins and outs of the 186 Visa is vital.

    Here’s something that may surprise you — despite its complexities, the 186 Visa could be your golden ticket to permanent residency if you play your cards right. Our blog is here to demystify this sought-after visa for you.

    We’ll walk you through eligibility criteria, different streams available and paint a clear picture on application process intricacies. Plus, we’ll reveal how this visa not only opens doors to living in Australia but also paves a path straight towards Australian citizenship.

    Ready to find out more? Let’s dive in!

    Key Takeaways

    • The 186 Visa lets skilled workers live and work in Australia indefinitely after their employer nominates them.
    • This visa has three streams: Direct Entry, Labour Agreement, and Temporary Residence Transition. Each one has different rules.
    • To get the visa, you need to have your job on a the occupation list, enough work experience, and pass health and police checks.
    • Costs for the main applicant are A$4,640 but can increase with additional fees for family members and other services like health examinations or police checks.
    • After getting this visa, you could apply for Australian citizenship if you meet certain residency requirements. Family members also get to stay permanently.

    Overview of the Employer Nominated Scheme (186 Visa)

    Australia’s Employer Nominated Scheme, known as the 186 visa, opens doors for skilled workers from around the globe to establish permanent roots down under. Picture this: You’re a talented professional with valuable skills that Australian businesses are eager for; this pathway can turn your working arrangement into a long-term stay on this vibrant continent.

    The beauty of the visa 186 australia lies in its ability to offer stability and security—it’s not just another work permit but a stepping stone towards becoming an Australian permanent resident.

    Underpinning the scheme is a simple yet effective premise—Australian employers nominate overseas talents to fill specific positions they can’t easily source locally. If you’ve got what it takes—as outlined in meticulous occupation requirements—you could find yourself basking in all that Australia has to offer, from world-class healthcare through Medicare to educational opportunities for you and your family.

    It’s more than just work; it’s about weaving yourself into the fabric of Australian society, growing personally and professionally. Now let’s explore what eligibility looks like for those keen on taking their careers down under..

    Eligibility Criteria for the 186 Visa

    To be eligible for the 186 Visa, you must meet specific occupation and work experience requirements, as well as health and character criteria. There are different streams for the visa, each with its own set of eligibility criteria.

    Occupation Requirements

    Your job must be on the list of eligible occupations for a 186 visa. This means your skills are needed in Australia. Check the list carefully to see if your job is there. Your employer must also show that they can’t find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the work.

    You’ll need a formal skill assessment for some jobs before you apply. Make sure you have this done and ready to show. It’s proof that you have the right skills for the job in Australia.

    If your occupation requires registration or licensing, get this sorted too. For example, doctors and electricians need specific licences to work in Australia.

    Work Experience Requirements

    You need at least three years of full-time work experience in your field to apply for the 186 visa. This can be a mix of part-time jobs too. The good news is, your work history doesn’t have to be one straight stretch.

    It’s okay if you took breaks or changed jobs along the way.

    Before applying, make sure all your experience lines up with what’s expected for the 186 visa Australia offers. Gather evidence like references or pay slips to show you’ve got the skills and time on the job that match your occupation requirements.

    Health and Character Requirements

    Having the right work experience is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s also vital to pass health and character checks. This means you must be in good health and have a clean legal record.

    These rules apply not only to you but also to your family members joining you in Australia.

    You will undergo medical exams to show that you’re healthy. Police certificates are needed, too, so prepare for background checks from any country where you’ve lived for 12 months or more over the past decade.

    Your character plays into it as well; being honest and truthful throughout the process is key. These steps help keep Australian communities safe and support a strong immigration system.

    Different Streams for the 186 Visa

    The 186 Visa offers three different streams – Direct Entry Stream, Labour Agreement Stream, and Temporary Residence Transition Stream – each with its own specific requirements and benefits.

    Dive into the details to see which stream is right for you!

    Direct Entry Stream

    You’re looking at the Direct Entry Stream if you’ve got skills but less experience working in Australia. This stream is part of the Employer Nominated Scheme and it might be your ticket to permanent residence.

    Your employer needs to nominate you, and you both must meet certain visa requirements.

    Picture this: living and working in Australia as a permanent resident without first being temporary. That’s what the Direct Entry Stream offers for skilled workers like yourself.

    Just make sure your occupation is on the list, and get ready for a future down under!

    Labour Agreement Stream

    Moving on from the Direct Entry Stream, let’s take a closer look at the Labour Agreement Stream. This option suits those who have an employer willing to sponsor them through a labour agreement.

    These are special conditions of employment between an Australian employer and the government.

    If you fit into this category, you’ll be glad to know that your pathway to permanent residency in Australia can be quite direct. Your sponsoring employer has already negotiated terms with authorities, which might include some concessions on skills or language requirements that normally apply under other streams.

    Understand that securing a visa through the Labour Agreement Stream means you’re filling a gap in the Australian workforce. Your skills are needed! Employers turn to this stream when they can’t find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the job.

    So, if your future boss is pursuing this route for you, it shows commitment and recognition of your unique abilities.

    Getting nominated by an employer through this approach may also offer relief during paperwork procedures; often there could be less hassle compared to other 186 visa routes due to predefined conditions laid out in the labour agreement.

    Think of it as having a custom-made solution for migrating down under – tailored just for situations like yours!

    Temporary Residence Transition Stream

    Shifting focus to the Temporary Residence Transition stream, this path is for you if you’ve already spent two years on a 457 or TSS visa in Australia. Meet the criteria and you could be on your way to permanent residency.

    You must have worked for your nominating employer full-time for at least those two years. During this time, the role should match the one outlined in your nomination.

    The process may seem tough, but it’s all about proving that your stay benefits both you and Australia. Make sure all health and character requirements are ticked off too; they’re crucial steps in securing that Subclass 186 visa through this particular stream.

    Your journey down under doesn’t have to end – grab this chance to extend your Aussie adventure!

    The Application Process for the 186 Visa

    The application process for the 186 Visa involves submitting a complete and accurate application, including all required documents and evidence. It also requires paying the relevant fees and undergoing health and character assessments.

    The processing time can vary, so it’s important to stay informed throughout the process.

    Application process

    To apply for the 186 visa, follow these steps:

    1. Obtain a valid nomination from an employer in Australia.
    2. Prepare necessary documents for the nomination and visa application.
    3. Submit the nomination by the employer for the 186 visa.
    4. Complete the skilled overseas worker’s visa application after obtaining employer nomination.

    Estimated Costs Associated with the 186 Visa

    Having navigated through the application process for the 186 Visa, it’s crucial to understand the financial commitments involved. The costs can be a deciding factor for many skilled workers aspiring to make Australia their permanent home. Here’s a glance at the fees you’ll encounter during your 186 Visa journey, laid out in a simple table for easy reference.

    Cost TypeAmount (AUD)Applicable to
    Visa Application Charge$4,640Primary Applicant
    Additional Applicant Charge (18 and over)$2,320Adult Family Members
    Additional Applicant Charge (Under 18)$1,160Child Family Members
    Sponsorship Fee$420Employer
    Nomination Fee$330Employer
    Subsequent Temporary Application ChargeVariesApplicants holding a temporary visa
    Biometrics CollectionVariesSome Applicants
    Health ExaminationsVariesAll Applicants
    Police ChecksVariesAll Applicants 17 years and over
    English Language TestsVariesApplicants who need to prove English proficiency
    Professional Translation and Certification ServicesVariesApplicants submitting non-English documents
    Migration Agent FeesVariesApplicants using migration agent services

    Although the main applicant fee is fixed at A$4,640, additional charges for family members and other services can add up. It’s worth noting that employers also contribute through sponsorship and nomination fees. Keep in mind that prices can change, so always check the latest fees on the official Australian immigration website to ensure your budget is accurate. Remember, investing in your future in Australia starts with understanding these financial requirements.

    Processing Time

    Moving on from the costs associated with the 186 Visa, it’s essential to understand the processing time involved. The nomination for a 186 visa typically takes up to 6 weeks, and for applications outside Australia, the average approval time is around 6 months.

    The Direct Entry stream has a longer processing time, with 83 days for 75% of applications and around 6 months for 90% of applicants. Meanwhile, the Labour Agreement stream can take up to 11 months for about 90% of applications.

    Be prepared as most applicants will need to plan for a processing time ranging from approximately six to twelve months unless there are specific circumstances contributing to any delays.

    Benefits of the 186 Visa

    The 186 Visa offers a pathway to Australian citizenship, allowing for permanent residency and the opportunity for individuals to live and work in Australia indefinitely. Additionally, this visa includes provisions for family members to join the primary visa holder, providing a sense of security and stability for loved ones.

    Duration of Stay

    The 186 visa allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently. Once granted, you can stay in Australia indefinitely as a permanent resident. This paves the way for a secure future in the country for you and your family, leading up to potential Australian citizenship after fulfilling the residency requirement of four years.

    Inclusions for Family Members

    Included family members, such as a partner and dependent children, can be part of the 186 Visa application. They are granted the same permanent residency status as the primary visa holder.

    This enables them to study and work in Australia without any restrictions. To ensure their inclusion, family members must meet health and character requirements and provide necessary documentation.

    After meeting these requirements, family members are eligible for the same privileges as the primary visa holder – from working opportunities to access to education in Australia.

    Pathway to Australian Citizenship

    The Employer Nomination Scheme visa (186) serves as a crucial stepping stone towards Australian citizenship, providing skilled workers with the opportunity to settle in Australia and contribute to the country’s workforce and society.

    This visa paves the way for permanent residency, making it possible for eligible individuals to eventually apply for Australian citizenship after meeting specific residence requirements.

    It marks a significant commitment by the government to welcome skilled workers into its community and create an inclusive environment for those seeking permanent settlement.

    Common Scenarios and Queries

    Navigating the application process for the ENS 186 visa can be complex. One common query is about the required English language proficiency, usually assessed through IELTS or TOEFL IBT scores.

    Another scenario revolves around occupation requirements – ensuring that your job aligns with the specified skilled occupations list is crucial. Furthermore, understanding health and character requirements is essential for a smooth application process.

    Frequently asked questions also include inquiries about processing times and costs associated with the visa application. Many individuals seek clarity on whether their family members are included in the visa and what duration of stay to expect.

    Addressing these queries can provide a clearer picture to potential applicants, enabling them to navigate this process more confidently.

    The Australian immigration system has its intricacies; thus, seeking professional guidance from registered migration agents or lawyers may help streamline this journey for foreign workers aspiring to become permanent residents in Australia.

    Understanding such nuances equips applicants with better preparation for their ENS 186 visa applications while pursuing their career aspirations Down Under.


    In short, the Employer Nomination Scheme (186 Visa) is a pathway for skilled workers to permanently live and work in Australia with employer sponsorship. This visa offers different streams, such as the Direct Entry stream designed for skilled workers nominated by employers.

    It requires meeting specific requirements and conditions set for both applicants and sponsoring employers. Staying updated on the latest news and requirements is crucial, ensuring a successful application process.

    Understanding age limits, visa conditions, and checklists are essential steps towards securing approval.


    CJMigration is a well-respected Sydney migration agency with over 30 years of experience in the industry. We can help guide you through the process and achieve your immigration goals.

    5/5 – from 75+ Google ratings