Unpacking the Employer Nominated Scheme Subclass 186 Visa

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February 18, 2024

Australia is a beautiful destination and an excellent place to live, study, and work. This is one of the reasons why migrating to Australia is a dream of so many people across the world. For many skilled workers from around the globe visa sponsorship provides a viable way to live in this country, with the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 Visa offering a pathway to permanent residency. In this blog, we will delve into the main aspects of the ENS visa, unpacking its requirements, benefits, and the application process.

Understanding the ENS Subclass 186 Visa

The ENS Subclass 186 Visa allows skilled overseas employees to obtain Australian permanent residency through working under an Australian employer. There are three main streams under the ENS visa, each catering to different circumstances and situations:

  • Direct Entry (DE) Stream: This stream is more suitable for those who have never worked in Australia. This stream allows individuals to apply for permanent residency directly, without the need for prior temporary work experience in the country.
  • Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream: This stream allows skilled individuals who have been working in Australia on a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, or earlier versions of the same visa, and have been nominated by their employer for permanent residency.
  • Agreement Stream: This stream is only for individuals who work for an employer who is party to a labour agreement.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the ENS Subclass 186 Visa, applicants must meet specific criteria tailored to each stream. The basic requirements across all the streams include:

  • The applicant must be able to meet health requirements.
  • The visa applicant needs to meet character requirements.
  • The applicant requires an English Language proficiency of at least six in each of the four bands of the International English Language Testing System or equivalent language test (unless from an English-speaking country).
  • The age of the applicant must be under 45 years (unless an exemption applies).
  • It is required for candidates to be licensed, registered or a member of a professional body if it is mandatory in the state or territory they intend to work in.
  • The applicant must have not had a previous visa cancelled or an application refused. (Read more here to understand the difference between visa refusal and visa rejection.)

Employer Eligibility Criteria

Employers are also subject to specific criteria to ensure they are able to meet

  • The business needs to be operating lawfully and actively.
  • The employer must be able to pay the salary of a sponsored person for two years from the date of the visa grant. Likewise, the position is required to be full-time and available for two years.
  • The position needs to be genuine and must have been advertised on Jobactive before being offered to the applicant.
  • The employee must be paid the market rate and must meet or exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) of $70,000.
  • If business turnover is under $10M an amount of $3,000 must be paid to meet the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF), or if turnover exceeds $10M an amount of $5000 must be paid.
  • The employer is required to address any restrictions that may exist for the specific occupation.
  • It is required by the employer to demonstrate a genuine need for the role in their business.

DE Stream Eligibility Requirements

There are specific requirements for those trying to enter through the DE Stream.

  • The visa applicant must nominate an occupation from the Medium and Long Term Skill Shortage List (MLTSSL).
  • The prospective visa holder is required to provide a skills assessment from the assessing authority on their occupation. They must also have a minimum of three years of full-time post-qualification work experience, which can be within Australia or anywhere in the world.
  • The applicant must be nominated by an Australian employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating.

TRT Stream Eligibility Requirements

There are specific requirements for those trying to enter through the TRT Stream.

  • The applicant must have the required skills and qualifications required to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation.
  • The visa applicant must currently be the primary visa holder of a subclass 457 visa, a subclass 482 visa, or a bridging visa A, B, or C to qualify for this visa.
  • They must have been sponsored to work full-time by their employer on the subclass 457 or 481 visa for at least 2 of the 3 years before receiving their nomination for permanent residency.

Application Process

The application process for the ENS Subclass 186 Visa involves several stages:

  • Nomination by Employer: The first step requires the employer to nominate the applicant for a permanent position. This involves demonstrating the genuine need for the skills and experience offered by the applicant.
  • Skills Assessment: The applicant must undergo a skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority to ensure their qualifications and experience align with the nominated occupation.
  • Expression of Interest (EOI): Applicants need to submit an Expression of Interest through the SkillSelect system, indicating their interest in the ENS Subclass 186 Visa.
  • Invitation to Apply: Based on the EOI, applicants may receive an invitation to apply for the visa.
  • Visa Application: Once invited, applicants can submit their visa application online, providing all necessary documentation to support their claims.
  • Health and Character Checks: Applicants are required to undergo health examinations and provide police clearance certificates as part of the character assessment.

Benefits of the ENS Subclass 186 Visa

Obtaining the ENS Subclass 186 Visa comes with a range of benefits. The first is permanent residency: successful applicants gain the right to live and work in Australia permanently, allowing them the benefits of this great country. Once the visa is granted, it allows for access to social services, providing them with universal healthcare and education access, rather than needing to rely on the healthcare options available for migrants. The ENS visa provides successful applicants with a pathway for citizenship, allowing them to fully integrate into society, and allowing them the right to vote amongst other rights. Successful holders of subclass 186 visas are also eligible to sponsor family members for permanent residency, allowing them to join and stay in Australia. Successful applicants are able to work and study in Australia without limits and can travel to and from Australia for five years before applying to have the visa renewed.


Overall, the ENS Subclass 186 Visa is a valuable option for skilled workers seeking to make Australia their permanent home. Understanding the requirements of this visa allows for a higher likelihood of visa approval. Seeking professional advice and assistance from AustraliaMigrate, the Australian migration experts, is the best way to enhance the chances of success in gaining permanent residency. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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