Table of Contents


Thank you for your comment! Once approved we will get back to you shortly.


186 Visa – Employer Nomination Scheme

February 2, 2022
Myer Lipschitz

The Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186 visa) is a permanent visa. It lets skilled workers who are nominated by their employer live and work in Australia permanently.

186 visa requirements

To be sponsored for the 186 visa, you will need to have an eligible sponsor. This Australian business must be financially viable to sponsor you.

Nominated occupation

You must have all the required skills, qualifications and English proficiency so your sponsor can nominate you for an eligible skilled occupation. Normally the nomination fee is AUD540.

186 visa streams

  • Direct Entry stream (186 DE): You can apply for the 186 visa under this stream if you have the skills and relevant work experience in your nominated position. Your sponsor needs to nominate you for an skilled occupation on the skilled occupations list set out by the immigration department.
  • Labour Agreement stream: You can apply for the 186 visa under this stream if your sponsor is a part of the labour agreements. These agreements enable Australian businesses to bring in skilled workers from overseas in order to address skills shortage.
  • Temporary Residence Transition stream (TRT): You can apply for the 186 visa under this stream if you are holding a temporary skill shortage subclass 482 visa and you would like to obtain Australian permanent residence after working for the employer for three years.

Labour agreement stream

The Labour Agreement stream may be for you if you currently work, or will work, for an employer who is party to a labour agreement. Labour agreements are accords between the Australian Government and organisations in Australia that allow Australian employers to sponsor foreign workers with specific skills when there is a shortage in the labour market.

There are five types of labour agreements. Your sponsor in Australia must belong to one of the labour agreements to make a valid nomination so you can apply for the labour agreement stream:

  • Company specific labour agreements
  • Designated area migration agreements
  • Global Talent Employer Sponsored agreements
  • Industry labour agreements
  • Project agreements.

Please check the Department of Home Affairs for the list of current labour agreements. 

Who can apply for the Labour Agreement visa 186?

To be eligible to apply for the Labour Agreement visa you must

  • currently work, or will work, for your employer under a labour agreement
  • have suitable English language skills, experience, skills and other attributes for the position
  • be licensed, registered or a member of a professional body if it is mandatory in the state or territory you intend to work in
  • be nominated by an Australian employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating in Australia, and a party to a labour agreement
  • be aged under 45 years when you apply, unless the labour agreement provides otherwise
  • if you are in Australia, hold a subclass 482 visa issued under a labour agreement.

Please check the Department of Home Affairs for the details of the eligibility listed above. 

How long can I stay with a Labour Agreement visa 186?

This is a permanent visa – it lets you stay in Australia indefinitely. You become a permanent resident on the day you are granted the visa, and you can apply for Australian citizenship when you meet the requirements for Australian citizenship by conferral, which may include:

  • being an Australian permanent resident
  • living in Australia for a period of four years with absences of less than 12 months
  • living in Australia for the last 12 months as a permanent visa holder with absences of less than 90 days
  • being of good character
  • having an adequate knowledge of your responsibilities and privileges as an Australian citizen
  • intending to reside in Australia, or to preserve a close connection with Australia.

Your permanent residency for citizenship purposes starts on the day the visa is granted if you are in Australia, or on the day you enter Australia on this visa if you are outside Australia.

Can my family members apply with me?

You can include family members in your application when you apply, or add family members to your application after you apply but before the visa is granted, if they are:

  • your spouse or de facto partner
  • your child or your partner’s child aged under 18 years
  • Your adult dependent child or your partner’s adult dependent child aged 18 to 23 years 
  • Your grandchild or your partner’s grandchild.

Please make sure you include all of your family members in the application even if they don’t apply with you for the visa since they may be required to meet the health and character requirements. Family members who apply with you are obligated to meet the health and character conditions.

How to apply for a Labour Agreement visa 186?

There are three steps you and your sponsor must take:

  1. Your sponsor makes a labour agreement application

If your sponsor is not a part of the labour agreements they must apply to be a part of the accords. The application can be made online at the Department of Home Affairs. If approved the accord will be valid for five years. 

  1. Your sponsor nominates you

If your sponsor is already a part of the labour agreement, they may apply to nominate you as their future employee online at the Department of Home Affairs. Once the application for nomination has been lodged, your sponsor will receive a transaction reference number (TRN). 

  1. You apply for the visa.

After you have been nominated and you have received the TRN from your sponsor, you can then apply for the Labour Agreement visa. You must submit your visa application online to the Department of Home Affairs. 

If you are interested in this visa, we offer a free quick assessment. You can contact us for assistance with your application

SAF levy

Your employer needs to pay the SAF levy for your 186 nomination. These fees are calculated as follows:

  • AUD3,000 if the business annual turnover is less than AUD10 million; or
  • AUD5,000 If the business annual turnover is more than AUD10 million.

English language ability 

For your 186 visa application, the primary applicant needs to show at least competent English, while the secondary applicant(s) may need to show at least functional English.

Competent English

To prove you have competent English, you can either demonstrate that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland. Or, you can obtain one of the following English language test results:

  • IELTS – At least 6 for each of the 4 components
  • TOEFL iBT – At least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing and 18 for speaking
  • PTE Academic – At least 50 for each of the 4 components
  • OET – At least B for each of the 4 components
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced test – At least 169 in each of the 4 components.

Functional English

Your functional English can be proven in the following ways:

  • TOEFL iBT results showing a total band score of at least 32;
  • PTE Academic overall band score of at least 30;
  • IELTS test report showing an overall band score of at least 4.5;
  • CAE test result of an overall band score of at least 147;
  • Evidence of holding a degree, diploma or trade qualification requiring at least 2 years of full-time study or training with all instruction conducted in English;
  • Evidence of having completed primary education and at least 3 years of secondary education; OR at least 5 years of secondary education taught in English;
  • Holding a current passport from UK, USA, Ireland, Canada or New Zealand.

186 visa application process

  • 186 nomination application – you must have an approved nomination for your visa application to be granted. The reference number (TRN) of your nomination will be linked to your visa application.
  • 186 visa application – lodge the visa application and pay the DHA fee through the online portal.


You need to fulfil these obligations below after 186 visa grant, you need to:

  • work for your sponsoring Australian employer for at least two years.
  • start working for your employer within 6 months of arriving in Australia (overseas) or from the time the 186 visa is granted (in Australia).
  • abide by all Australian laws.

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)

The temporary skilled migration income threshold is the minimal annual salary your Australian sponsor is required to pay you. At present, the TSMIT is sitting at AUD53,900. Your salary cannot be less than this amount. In terms of your annual earnings, non-monetary benefits will not be counted towards the TSMIT.

186 visa occupation list

The occupation list for ENS contains all the available skilled occupations for 186 visas. There is one ANZSCO code allocated to each occupation and this code is unique. The nominated occupation for the 186 visa must be in line with the proposed position in the employer’s business. Some skilled occupations are not included in this occupation list and may also be subject to caveats. 

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. Fill out a FREE Preliminary Evaluation to assess your eligibility to immigrate.



Myer Lipschitz

Myer Lipschitz was born in Johannesburg and is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1985 he was conferred the degree Bachelor of Laws. Myer completed his Articles of Clerkship with Ivor Trackman, Attorneys and was admitted as an Attorney to the Supreme Court of South Africa in 1988. Myer immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 and was admitted to practice law in New Zealand as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand...

Read More

Leave a Reply