Employer Nomination Scheme

The Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa allows Australian employers with a business located anywhere in Australia to sponsor overseas skilled workers on a permanent basis to fill skill shortages in their business.

Hartman Immigration Lawyers regularly assists businesses to nominate employees through the subclass 186 visa, ensuring flexibility to offer permanent employment to overseas workers.   

Employers can recruit prospective employees who have not worked in Australia, or they may want to offer a permanent position to an employee who is currently working in Australia on a temporary subclass 457 visa.

The subclass 186 visa involves a two-step process:

  1. the Australian employer applies to nominate an overseas employee; and
  2. the nominated overseas employee then lodges a visa application.

The primary visa applicant needs to meet age, skills and English language requirements (unless they are exempt).

This visa has three streams being the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (for holders of 457 visas who have worked for their employer for at least 2 years), Direct Entry Stream (for people who have never, or only briefly worked in Australia) and Agreement Stream (for 457 visa holders who are sponsored through a labour agreement).

Nomination Requirements

In order to nominate a skilled worker the employer must meet certain criteria, including that the employer must:

  • be actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia;
  • have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position;
  • offer a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years; and
  • pay a market salary rate.

The employer must also nominate the visa applicant in one of the three streams and meet the requirements of that stream.

Skills Requirement

Direct Entry: Unless exempt, applicants applying through the Direct Entry stream must meet the skill requirement and have achieved a satisfactory skills assessment from an Australian assessing authority for their nominated occupation. Applicants also need at least 3 years of post-qualification work experience in the nominated occupation.

Agreement: Applicants applying through the Agreement stream must have the qualifications, skills and other attributes specified in the labour agreement.

Temporary Residence Transition Stream: Applicants applying through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream do not need their skills assessed because they have already worked for the nominating employer for two years in Australia.

Skills Assessment

Applicants applying through the Direct Entry stream require a positive skills assessment in their nominated occupation from the relevant authority.

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL) is a list of eligible occupations for positions nominated under the Direct Entry stream. This list also contains the corresponding body which must provide the skills assessment. For example, if the nominated occupation is a “civil engineer” the relevant assessing body would be Engineers Australia.

Registration/Licensing Requirement

Some occupations require registration in Australia (such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants etc). Visa applicants whose occupation falls into this category must hold, or be eligible to hold, any such mandatory registration, license or professional membership before applying for their visa.

Age Requirement

Visa applicants must under the age of 50 at the time of application, unless they are exempt.

However, there are a number of exemptions which apply to the age requirement. At Hartman Immigration Lawyers we can discuss these exemptions with you and advise whether it may apply in your circumstances.

English Language Requirement

Applicants must achieve certain minimum test scores in a specified English language test (eg the International English Language Testing System – IELTS) either for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream. The test must have been conducted within three years prior to the date of application lodgement.

Applicants applying in the Agreement stream must meet the English requirement specified in the relevant agreement.

There are a number of exemptions to the English language requirement which may apply.

Each stream of the subclass 186 visa has its own set of criteria and exemptions and it will be important to correctly identify the stream which applies on your circumstance and ensure you meet the relevant requirements.