Published Dec 21, 2020
 by PTA

186 Visa Benefits, Requirements and Processing Time

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The Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186

This article will discuss the permanent employer sponsored visa – The Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186. More specifically, it will be discussing the pathway for the direct entry stream, including things like the eligibility requirements, the process, the costs and processing times.

What is the ENS – Subclass 186 visa?

The Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186 is a permanent employer sponsored visa that requires a company to nominate you for employment. It is similar to the standard TSS (482) visa, but the main difference is the TSS 482 visa is temporary. The 186 is permanent. You can also apply for this permanent visa anywhere in Australia – so Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are all possible. However, you can only get nominated for this visa in certain occupations and if you meet certain requirements.

What can you do on the ENS – Subclass 186 visa

This visa is a permanent residence visa for skilled workers. It allows you to live and work in Australia, you’ll have access to Medicare, include family members and may eventually lead to citizenship. The ENS Subclass 186 visa allows you to work in Australia under one of two main streams. This article will discuss the Direct Entry Stream.

The Direct Entry Stream

This stream allows you to apply directly for the permanent employer sponsored visa. In order to apply for this visa you must:

You hold a full skill assessment in an occupation on the MLTSSL
You have worked in the occupation at the required skill level for at least 3 years.
English test report (IELTs 6) in each band (or be from a native English speaking country)

A breakdown of the requirements

You must have a full skills assessment for an occupation on the MLTSSL – Occupations must be on the MLTSSL, not the STSOL or the state list. A very brief overview shows the MLTSSL has a lot of engineering, trade, health and tech occupations. Essentially you are required to have your education and work experienced assessed by an authority to ensure these meet the standards of Australia. If you look on the MLTSS, the skill assessing authority should be written next to the occupation. Each occupation has different requirements for a skill assessment, so be sure to check it out. You would also need to lodge and have the valid skill assessment approved prior to lodging the nomination or visa application.

You have worked in the occupation at the required skill level for at least 3 years – This doesn’t mean that you have worked in the occupation for 3 years. It will usually mean you have worked in the occupation for 3 years post qualification or at the fully required skill level. Work experience completed whilst study probably won’t count.

The permanent ENS visa is very similar to the TSS visa, however the company is not required to become a Standard Business Sponsor. Only the nomination and visa application are required. You can lodge both at the same time. In that you only need to have lodged the nomination before you can lodge the visa application. You don’t need to have the nomination approved before you can lodge the visa.


The company must submit a nomination application for the employee. The employer must apply to the Department of Home Affairs to nominate a foreign employee to fill the position. Immigration will decide if the employer fulfils the nomination requirements.

To be successful in nominating an employee the employer must demonstrate that:

The position that the sponsored employee must fill is on the MLTSSL
The employee must show the genuine need to hire a foreign worker
The foreign employee is receiving employment remuneration equal to that or above that of an Australian citizen. This must be at least $53 900 + Superannuation (usually it is more). You must have a full time employment contract.

Australian Market Salary Requirement

You must demonstrate that you are paying the Australian Market Salary for the role. You are paying the equivalent salary for an Australian working in the role with the same experience and education as the applicant. The wage you are being offered is at least equal to or better the prevailing wage and at least $53 900, but usually it is considerably more. Immigration does this so employers don’t hire cheap foreign workers to undercut Australians.

Labour Market Testing

Unlike the TSS visa, for the 186 Direct Entry Stream, Labour Market testing is not necessarily a requirement. Y don’t need to advertise the position and demonstrate you couldn’t find a suitable Australian to fill the role. However, given the current climate, it certainly won’t hurt. It will go a long way to demonstrating the genuine need for the position.

Visa Application

Apply for the visa – After the employee has been nominated to fill a position, they may then apply for a ENS employer sponsored visa to fill the position. From our experience the nomination is the hard part, the visa is the easy part.

To be successfully granted the visa the employee must demonstrate that they:

Possess the required skills, education and qualification to fill the position
Skill assessment and at least 3 years work experience at the required skill level
Have competent english
Are of good character and health

Immigration Charges
Visa Application Charge – $4045
Training Levy Fee – $3,000
Nomination Fee – $540

Training Levy

The introduction of the TSS visa brings with it a new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy to be paid at nomination stage. The SAF levy will make nominating employees a considerably more expensive undertaking for a business.

The amounts payable per applicant are set out as follows:
A small business (Turnover less than $10M) will pay $3,000 per nomination for an ENS visa. A large business (over 10 million) will pay $5,000 per nomination.

Visa Processing Times

This can vary but the current time taken is around 4 – 14 months. Please note, skill assessment can take upwards of 3 months to process as well.

Once you apply for this visa you would be receive a bridging visa, that would allow you to remain in Australia.

Please note, everything is general in nature and you should consult a RMA to discuss your situation in detail.

186 Visa Benefits, Requirements and Processing Time was last modified: January 17th, 2022 by PTA

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