Employer Sponsored Visa
The 186 visa is a Permanent Visa allowing the holder and accompanying family
members to remain permanently in Australia. The Australian government
comprehensively reformed this visa on the 1st July 2012 largely restricting the
exemptions in regards to Skills, English language ability and Age applicable under the
old scheme. However, some exceptions are still available to the requirements outlined
There are two parts to a 186 Visa, the Nomination application and the Visa application.
The Nomination application reviews the operations of the business, training expenditure
and the details of the occupation and salary being offered to the visa applicant. The
Visa application assesses the applicant’s skills, English language ability, health and
character. The 186 Visa is a common way for existing 457 or 482 Visa holders to
transition to Permanent Residence but it is also possible to apply for Permanent
Residence directly with this visa.
You must be less than 45 years of age (unless certain exemptions exists) at the time
you apply for this visa.
There are two distinct pathways that enable applicants to obtain this visa.
The Temporary Residence Transition Stream enables existing 457 or 482 visa holders
who have worked for their sponsoring employer for 3 years to apply based on a further
Nomination by their existing employer.
The Direct Entry Stream enables applicants who demonstrate 3 years relevant work
experience and have obtained a positive Skills Assessment in their nominated
occupation to apply for this visa.
186 Nomination Application
The 186 nomination application determines the suitability of the employer and that of
the nominated occupation. A nomination is valid for 6 months after approval.
For applicants applying under the Direct Entry Scheme they will be required to have
their skills assessed as suitable for their occupation (Unless exemptions apply). There
are a number of Skills Assessing Authorities appointed by the Australian government for
this purpose. Importantly, Skills Assessing Authorities have different requirements and
criteria that must be met depending on your occupation. There is a fee payable for a
Skill Requirement – Exemptions
You are exempt from having a skills assessment if you:
have been nominated as an academic (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic
Level A, B, C, D or E) by a university in Australia, or
have been nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist by an Australian
government scientific agency, or
currently hold a Special Category (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family
Relationship (subclass 461) visa and have worked for the employer who nominated you,
in the nominated position, for at least 2 years in the last 3 years prior to the date you
applied for the visa
Age Requirement – Exemptions
Usually, you must be under 45 years of age when you apply.
You are exempt from this criteria if any of the following applies to you:
you are nominated as an academic (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic
Level B, C D or E) by a university in Australia
you are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical (scientific) specialist at
ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian scientific government agency
you currently hold a Special Category (subclass 444) or New Zealand citizen’s family
member (subclass 461) visa and have worked for the employer who nominated you, in
the nominated position, for at least 2 years in the last 3 years immediately before you
apply. The 2 years excludes periods of unpaid leave.