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Businesses are entitled to hire foreign workers on temporary and permanent visas.

The Employer Nomination Scheme is the permanent component of Australia's employer sponsored visas. It contains the 186 and 187 visas.
Overview

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

The ENS and RSMS program consists of employer sponsored visas for skilled foreign workers in certain occupations. The 186 and 187 visas are both permanent resident visas, and eligibility is dependent on a number of factors including the occupation, age, or salary of the candidate. For further information, review the FAQs here. You can read more about the temporary component of this program, the TSS visa, here.

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Target Market
  • Established businesses in Australia
  • Established business overseas seeking to enter Australia
  • Employees with job offers from companies
Nomination requirements
  • ENS requires the nominator to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for the nominee to work as a paid employee under its direct control, meet specified training benchmarks, and nominate an occupation on a specified list
  • RSMS requires the nominator to obtain approval from a Regional Certifying Body (RCB) attesting to various factors
Stream types
  • Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • Direct Entry Stream
  • Labour Market stream
Visa Requirements
  • Various requirements depending on stream (see tabs above)
ENS Visa

Eligibility

This ENS 186 visa allows skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, to live and work in Australia permanently.

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Key Eligibility Criteria
  • must be nominated by their employer
  • must be genuinely performing the tasks of the nominated position
  • the Temporary Residence Transition stream is typically for those who have worked for three years full time, whilst holding a TSS / 457 visa in the same occupation with their nominating employer who is ready to offer them a role in that occupation
  • the Direct Entry stream is for applicants who have already obtained a positive skills assessment in the nominated occupation and want to apply for permanent residence directly
  • applicants must be under 45 years of age (although the Temporary Residence Transition stream provides for some exemptions)
  • must demonstrate at least competent English
  • must meet relevant health and character requirements
Transitional criteria
  • if you have applied for and were granted a 457 visa prior to the 18th of April 2017, you can apply for the ENS subclass 186 visa in the TRT stream once you have worked for your current sponsor for two years
  • if you obtained a 457 or 482 visa after the 18th of April 2017, you must have an occupation on the Medium and Long Term Skilled Occupation List (MLTSSL) to apply for a 186 visa in the TRT or Direct Entry stream
  • see here for further information
Employer Nomination Scheme Processing Time
  • 75% of applications: 7 months
  • 90% of applications: 9 months
ENS Visa

Temporary Residence Transition Stream

This visa allows adequately skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, to reside and work in Australia permanently, as well as apply for Australian citizenship, if specific eligibility criteria is met. The basic requirement of this application is to have worked with a sponsoring employer on a valid TSS / 457 visa for at least 3 of the last 4 years.

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Nomination requirements
  • the business must be actively and lawfully operating in Australia
  • there must be a genuine need for the visa applicant in the nominated position under its direct control
  • the business must have the capacity to employ the individual in that position for 2 years
  • the position must be full time and available for at least 2 years from the time the visa is granted
  • the position must be an occupation included on the current Medium to Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) (unless transitional provisions apply)
  • the position must have a salary that is at least (a) $53,900 per annum and (b) at least the annual market salary rate for the nominated occupation
  • the position must be subject to conditions of employment that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location
Visa requirements
  • must have held a 457 visa or a 482 visa to work on a full-time basis in the nominated position (or a very closely related position) for the nominating employer in Australia for at least 3 years during the last 4 years
  • be genuinely performing the tasks of the nominated position
  • have competent English
  • be under 45 years of age (unless exempt)
  • meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements
  • satisfy the relevant health and character criteria
ENS Visa

Direct Entry

This visa allows adequately skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, to reside and work in Australia permanently, as well as apply for Australian citizenship, if specific eligibility criteria is met. The basic requirement of this stream is that if an applicant has a positive skills assessment in the nominated occupation, they can apply for direct permanent residence.

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Nomination requirements
  • the business must be actively and lawfully operating in Australia
  • there must be a genuine need for the visa applicant in the nominated position under its direct control
  • the business must have the capacity to employ the individual in that position for 2 years
  • the position must be full time and available for at least 2 years from the time the visa is granted
  • the position must be an occupation included on the current Medium to Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) (unless transitional provisions apply)
  • the position must have a salary that is at least (a) $53,900 per annum and (b) at least the annual market salary rate for the nominated occupation
  • the position must be subject to conditions of employment that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location
Visa requirements
  • have their skills assessed as suitable for the occupation by the relevant skills assessing authority
  • have at least 3 years of post qualification experience in the relevant occupation
  • have competent English
  • be under 45 years of age
  • meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements
  • satisfy the relevant health and character criteria
ENS Visa

Labour Agreements

This visa allows skilled workers who are nominated by their employer to reside and work in Australia permanently. The Labour Agreement stream may be applicable to a foreign worker who either currently or, in the future, will work for an employer who is party to a labour agreement. 

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Labour Agreement
  • the Labour Agreement stream is for applicants who currently work, or will work for an employer who is a party to a labour agreement and sponsored by an employer through a work contract
  • given this is directly negotiated within your industry with the Department, please contact your Hannan Tew representative for further information. 
ENS Visa

Documents

The actual documents you require are dependent on your particular circumstances including (but not limited to) your family members, your health and character, your identity and your occupation. Your Hannan Tew advisor will provide you with a link to the Hannan Tew portal which will set out the specific documents required.

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Identity, health and character
  • Biographical pages of your current passports or travel documents
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of yourself
  • Evidence of your health assessment (we will advise you if this is required after we receive your completed questionnaire)
  • Police certificates for any country (including Australia) if you have lived for a cumulative period of 12 months or more
Family relationships
  • Passport bio data page for each family member
  • Full quality passport sized photograph of each family member
  • Birth certificate for each family member (translated)
  • If in a married relationship, a copy of your marriage certificate (translated)
  • If in de facto relationship, evidence of at least 6 months of (i) shared finances (bank / credit card statements) (ii)living together (lease,
    correspondence at same address) and (iii) social (messages to each
    other)
  • Police certificates for any country (including Australia) if they are over 17 and have lived for a cumulative period of 12 months or more)
  • If children are between 18 and 23, evidence of financial dependency: (i) reside in the same household (E.g. correspondence to the same address) (ii) financially dependency (e.g. bank statements) (iii) studying (E.g. university enrollment)
  • If including a child under 18 where a parent is not included, evidence of custody (legal documents and Form 1229)
Occupations and skills
  • Your up to date CV covering at least 5 years
  • Educational qualification certificates
  • Registration, licensing and professional membership
    certificate (as relevant)
  • Employment references from previous employers (as
    relevant)
  • Evidence of a positive skills
    assessment (if apply for Direct Entry)
  • Documents evidencing your English capabilities: (i) IELST / OEP / PTE/ CAE results or (ii) Passport biodata page / qualifications
ENS Visa

Process

We’ll advise and guide you from assessing eligibility to lodgement stage. We use an online document / information collection tool so that all your files and information are stored in one single location. You can use the Hannan Tew Portal to track the status of your matter and have a complete overview of documents required and provided.

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Step 1: Before you apply
  • consider the requirements for English, health examinations and police clearances and being the process of obtaining them
  • ensure your employer has submitted a nomination application. They will receive a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) when they do. You will require the TRN to apply for the visa
  • understand your rights and your employer obligations (see here)
  • for Direct Entry applications you will also need to undergo and obtain a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
Step 2: Gather your documents
  • identity documents
  • evidence of any licence, registration or professional memberships mandatory to perform the noinated occupation
  • evidence of skills and experience including CV, employment references and qualification certificates
  • evidence of competent English
  • police clearances for any countries you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
  • if you are more than 45 years old at time of application, you will need to provide evidence of an exemption if applying for the TRT stream. Note that exemptions do not apply for the Direct Entry stream.
  • or Direct Entry applications you will also need to provide a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
  • or Direct Entry applications you will also need to provide a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation
  • if you have dependents you may also need:
    • marriage certificate or proof of de facto relationship
    • passport and identity documents of all family members
    • English, health and character requirements for all dependents
Step 3: Apply for the visa
  • apply for the visa through the Immi Account
  • fill out the relevant online form
  • attach documents
  • pay the visa application charge, noting the application will not be submitted until this fee is paid
Step 4: After you apply
  • the Department will send you a confirmation letter (via email and / or the ImmiAccount portal messaging system) once your application and associated documentation has been submitted. You may also receive a bridging visa if you lodge the application onshore
  • if you have any mistakes in your application, promptly update the Department through your ImmiAccount. You should also notify the Department should your circumstances change (e.g. updated passport or birth of a child)
  • Current processing times are as follows (speak to your Hannan Tew adviser for up to date information):
    • 75% of applications: 7 months
    • 90% of applications: 9 months
Step 5: Visa outcome
  • you can be inside or outside of Australia when the Department makes a decision on your application
  • if you are approved, you will be issue a grant letter which contains your visa grant number, the date your visa starts and the visa conditions
  • if you are refused, you will be issued with a refusal notification which will list out the reasons for your refusal and your review rights (time specific, so please contact us immediately if this is the case
ENS Visa

Client Dashboard

Preparing visa applications necessarily requires the collation of an abundance of data from both visa applicants and sponsoring organisations. We provide secure access to beautiful visualisations of this data to allow you to easily track your visa populations. You can customise fields, visualisation types, branding, colour schemes, placements and widgets to ensure you can easily sift through the data in a way that suits your business needs.

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ENS Visas

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I commence work before my ENS visa application is approved?

Unless you have an existing visa with work authorisation, you must not commence work with your employer until your ENS visa is approved. Most applicants will already hold an employer sponsored temporary visa which will permit them to continue working (with conditions).

I hold a current visa and am in Australia, what if it expires before my ENS visa is approved?

If you are in Australia and hold a substantive visa when we lodge your ENS visa application, in most cases you will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA). This BVA will allow you to remain in Australia during processing of your ENS visa.

Please note that the BVA will not allow you to re-enter Australia if you depart during processing of your ENS visa. Please notify us immediately if you have travel plans during the processing of your ENS visa.

Do I need health, character and / or English assessments?

Depending on your country of nationality and your travel history, you may require health examinations to process your visa. Hannan Tew will advise you of the relevant assessments once you have completed the information questionnaire.

You will need to obtain an English assessment unless one of the following applies:

  1. You hold a passport from the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand or Ireland
  2. You have completed a minimum of five years of full-time study in a
    secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was
    delivered in English
  3. You are in an excluded occupation
  4. You are sponsored by an Overseas Business Sponsor and are paid a
    salary of at least AUD 96,400 per annum

You will need to provide police clearances for all countries in which you have resided for 12 months or more in the last 10 years.

Do I have any conditions once I have obtained my ENS visa?

No, the ENS visa is a permanent visa granted without conditions (apart from, in some cases, the condition to enter into Australia before a particular date).

How long is my ENS visa valid for?

This is a permanent visa so does not have an expiry date. However, the visa is granted with a 5 year travel facility. This means that unless you obtain citizenship, after the travel facility expiry you will require a further visa (such as a Resident Return Visa) to enter Australia.

Can I include my family in my ENS visa application?

Yes, you generally can include your spouse/partner and children in your visa application.

They will also receive an ENS Visa.

There are specific requirements for children over the age of 18 to demonstrate dependency. Children 23 years or above cannot be included except in very limited circumstances.

I have a dependent partner, can they work?

Yes, your partner will have full work authorisation in Australia which means they can work for any employer.

Can my children study?

Yes. However, different States/ Territories in Australia have different requirements and fees may be applicable. We strongly recommend that you explore this with the education provider directly.

Does the ENS visa grant access to Medicare?

Yes, applying for permanent residence gives you access to Medicare.

Should I just book my health examinations and obtain police clearances?

The Department have appointed particular panel doctors who are authorised to conduct health examinations for Australian visa purposes.

If the health examinations are not carried out by these individuals, they will need to be redone.

The Department also require specific police clearances.

Please wait for instructions from your HT advisor to ensure that you don’t unnecessarily incur any costs or loss of time.

Do I still need health insurance once I've obtained my ENS visa?

Once you have obtained permanent residence, you no longer need to maintain adequate levels of health insurance in Australia (though you may still wish to do so to top up any gaps in Medicare).

What if I've lost my job after I've obtained my ENS visa?

If you hold a 186 visa, there are generally no immigration consequences and you are able to find a new employer at your leisure. This is because as a 186 visa holder you are a permanent resident with no conditions on your employment.

Disclaimer

The information contained here is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and our firm. The information: (i) must be regarded as a practical guide for general information and not a process guide for determining the specific immigration requirements of the countries covered, (ii) should not be a substitute for a more indepth analysis of applicable facts and circumstances conducted by competent professionals, and (iii) does not represent an opinion from Hannan Tew or any of its agents with regard to the laws of any of the jurisdictions concerned. The information does not guarantee the outcome or approval of any particular immigration application.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience representing the world’s largest corporations, SMEs, and start ups, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to the employer sponsored visa process, including: business sponsorship applications, nomination applications, compliance and sponsorship bars.

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