Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa or subclass 186 visa is a permanent residency visa for skilled workers which requires your sponsor to have the genuine need for an on-going permanent position.
There is the temporary transition stream for those who are in Australia on the 457 or 482 visa and have worked in the occupation for a minimum set period or direct entry for offshore or onshore applicants in occupations on the medium to long-term skilled occupation list.
186 Visa Requirements
The Subclass 186 visa has six general requirements for all applicants, and more specific requirements depending on which stream you apply under.
The general requirements are:
- have been nominated by an Australian employer and this nomination has been approved within the six months before you apply
- are under the age of 45 at the time of application
- have the required skills and qualifications for the position you have been nominated for – including holding (or being eligible for) any mandatory registration, licence or professional membership
- have appropriate English language skills
- meet health and character requirements
- meet the requirements of the stream in which you apply
186 Visa Pathways
There are three possible application pathways for an ENS visa:
- Temporary Residence Transition (TRT): where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last two years or on a 482 visa in an occupation listed on the Medium to Long term List for the last three years. In this case, no skills assessment is required and an English level equivalent to IELTS 5.0 in all four components is required. Those who applied or held a 457 visa on or prior to the changes announced on 18 April 2017 may still be eligible for permanent residency through this pathway despite your occupation no longer being on an occupation list or on the short term list.
- Direct Entry Stream: If you do not meet the requirements under the TRT stream (for example, because you have never, or only briefly worked in Australia), this stream may then be available if your employer has a genuine need for a skilled worker in a permanent and ongoing position. The employee will need to provide a formal skill assessment in their occupation and show that they have worked in their occupation for a minimum three years post qualification. The required English level is equivalent to an IELTS 6.0 in each of the four components.
- Agreement Stream: where the employer has a Labour Agreement
ENS visas require a significantly higher level of documentation than a 457 visa. Difficulties which can be encountered in applying for ENS visas include:
- Obtaining skills assessments – each skills assessing authority has different criteria
- Demonstrating that the employer has a genuine need for a permanent position
ENS Application stages
There are two stages to the ENS Subclass 186 application:
- Nomination: involves the review of the business’ operations as well as the position offered to the employee
- Visa Application: there are three possible pathways which may require a skills assessment, English language testing and health and police checks
What you and your family can do once received your 186 Visa approval
It lets you and any member of your family unit who has also been granted this visa to:
- stay in Australia indefinitely
- work and study in Australia
- enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
- sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
- travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).
Processing Time for ENS visa subclass 186
Processing standards fluctuate in accordance with the departmental workload and are updated monthly. You can check the current processing time on https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/global-visa-citizenship-processing-times