Five things you need to know if applying for Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

1.  You must be nominated by an approved Australian Employer or State or Territory Government

If you have an Australian employer who has nominated you, you must apply for this visa within 6 months of the nomination application being approved. If you do not have an employer who will nominate you, you can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Prospective employers and state and territory governments can then view your details and decide whether to nominate you for skilled migration.

2.  You must apply under the right stream for which you were nominated 

The Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) has three streams:

  • The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for people who are already working for two years in Australia on a subclass 457 visa with their nominating employer in the same occupation.
  • The Direct Entry stream is for people who have never or only briefly worked in Australia, as well as and for temporary residents who do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream.
  • The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour agreement. Your employer can advise you if such an agreement is in place for your industry or occupation.

 3.  You must be under 50 years of age

There are some exemptions to the age requirement, however they are limited. Exemptions include if you are a senior academic, scientist, researcher technical (scientific) specialist, or minister of religion. There are also exemptions for medical practitioners and New Zealanders who have worked for their nominating employers for a specified period of time, as well as for visa applicants who have worked for their nominating employer for four years under the 457 program and are paid at least the Fair Work High Threshold for each of these years. The high income threshold for 2015 is set at $133,000.

4.  You must meet the skills and qualifications requirement

You must have the required skills, qualifications and mandatory licencing before you lodge your visa application. This is because the Migration Regulations stipulate that you must be able to show you meet this requirement at the time you lodge your visa application.

5.  You must meet English language requirements, unless exempt

You can show that you meet the English language requirements by providing evidence of a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and you are a citizen of that country.  If you do not hold a passport from one of these countries you must show that you have achieved the minimum test scores for an accepted English language test. The most well known English language test is IELTS.  For the Temporary Residence Transition scheme of ENS you must demonstrate that you have vocational English, which can be shown by achieving an IELTS score of 5 across all four test categories of listening, speaking, reading and writing.   For the Direct Entry scheme of ENS you must demonstrate you have competent English and obtain a score of 6 across all four categories.

Exemptions: You may not need to show adequate English language skills if you are a minister of religion, earn over AUD180,001 (although you may need to pay a second instalment visa application charge) or are applying through the Temporary Residence Transition stream and have completed at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where all of the tuition was delivered in English.

All visa applicants must also meet health and character requirements. 


Do you need visa assistance?  Live Work Australia is a team of dedicated Australian immigration lawyers who deal exclusively with migration to Australia and provide Australian visa solutions to individuals and businesses. View our other pages to learn more about our services or call and speak to our specialist legal team on 1300 230 313 or email