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Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa

The subclass 186 Employer Sponsored visa is a permanent visa. Successful applicants will gain permanent residence and full working rights with this visa.

Applicants for the subclass 186 visa must be nominated by an employer, under either the temporary residence transition stream (which requires the applicant to be nominated by the same employer as their subclass 457 or subclass 482), direct entry stream or the labour agreement stream.


The requirements of a subclass 186 visa are set out below:


In order to apply, you must have an approved nomination (by the employer) nominating the applicant to fill the position. This means the nominating business must put in their application before the subclass 186 visa application has been submitted. However, it does not need to be approved before the visa application is lodged.

The employer must show they have a genuine need for the nominee to be employed in the position and they will be employed on a fulltime basis for at least 2 years (not applicable to the labour agreement stream).

If the applicant’s occupation requires a particular registration or license, then the applicant will need to show that they hold a registration or license for that nominated occupation.


An applicant for a subclass 186 visa must be of good character and satisfy the character test. This means an applicant will need to show they do not have a substantial criminal record, in Australia or elsewhere and will need to provide police certificates, signed statements and in some cases, a statutory declaration confirming their good character.

Skills Assessment

If you apply for a subclass 186 visa, you will need to provide a positive skills assessment and have at least 3 years’ experience for the nominated occupation.

Applicants for the direct entry stream only must provide a positive skills assessment, unless exempt. The skills assessment should not be more than 3 years old. However, direct entry applicants must also have 3 years of experience in the nominated occupation or similar role.


Applicants for a subclass 186 visa must be under 45 years of age (although some exceptions may apply).


An applicant for a subclass 186 visa must also satisfy the English language requirement. Applicants must show they have Competent English which requires a score of at least 6.0 in all four components in IELTS, or equivalent. Applicants who hold a passport of the UK, United States, New Zealand, Canada or Ireland, or who have completed at least 5 years of tertiary (university) education in English are considered exempt from the English language requirement.


If you apply for a subclass 186 visa, you must satisfy the health requirement. This means applicants are required to undertake a health examination by a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth who will assess the applicant’s health and medical history and provide assessment of their impacts on Australia’s health care and community services.

If you apply under the temporary residence transition stream only, a waiver may be sought if the Medical Officer concludes the applicant does not meet the health criteria and will likely cause a significant cost to the Australian healthcare system.


If you apply under the temporary residence transition stream, you will also need to hold a subclass 482 or subclass 457 for the last 3 out of 4 years in order to apply for the subclass 186 visa.

Next steps

If you would like more information about a subclass 186 visa contact our migration law team.

This article is general information only, and not a substitute for legal advice. The article was written by Shari Gilbert under the supervision of Richard Pedley.