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Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186) visa checklist

By October 7, 2021No Comments

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The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (Subclass 186) visa is an employer sponsored visa for skilled foreign workers employed in specified occupations. The  visa enables suitable employees to live and work in Australia permanently where a suitable Australian worker cannot be sourced. Eligibility for the 186 visa is dependent on several factors, including the occupation, age, and salary of the candidate.

What are the stages of a 186 visa application?

There are two stages of a 186 visa application. This includes the:

  1. Nomination, where the sponsoring employer nominates a position within the organisation; and
  2. Visa, where the visa applicant demonstrates they meet the eligibility requirements.

What are the eligibility requirements of the 186 visa?

The 186 visa has three streams, being the:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream;
  2. Direct Entry (DE) stream; and
  3. Labour Agreement stream.

Each stream has its own specific eligibility requirements. However, generally speaking, eligibility for a 186 visa requires an approved nomination, for the applicant to have the qualifications and work experience required for the role, and that the applicant meet the English, health, and character requirements.

You can read more about eligibility requirements for the different streams of the 186 visa here.

What documents are required for a 186 nomination application?

The sponsoring employer will need to provide the documents required for a 186 nomination. Documents that should be provided are outlined in the table below:

Evidence required
Document type
Genuine position
  • Organisational chart
  • Candidate’s employment contract
  • Position description
  • Organisation’s lease agreement
  • Evidence that the role was previously filled (if relevant)
  • Genuine position statement
Financial capacity to fill role
  • Letter of support from an accountant confirming the company is a “going concern”
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Annual report from the most recent financial year
  • Tax returns from the most recent financial year
  • Recent business activity statements (BAS)
  • Recent bank statements
  • Evidence of business operations (e.g., business activity statements or client contracts)
Market rates
  • Position description
  • Job advertisements for similar roles
  • Salary remuneration reports
  • Employment contract of any Australian employees undertaking the same work at the same location

Although not an essential legislative requirement, undertaking labour market testing (LMT) is also highly recommended in order to demonstrate that a position is genuine.

What documents are required for a 186 visa?

The specific documents required for a 186 visa application will depend on the unique circumstances of the nominee and their family members. A general guide to the documents required for a 186 visa is outlined in the table below:

Document required
Primary applicant
Secondary applicants
Passport and other identity documents (e.g., national identity card, change of name documents)
Passport sized photograph
Evidence of relationship to primary applicant (e.g., marriage certificate or birth certificate)
CV (covering at least the last five years)
Degree certificates and transcripts (with accompanying translations)
Licences and registrations

(for certain occupations)

Reference letters from previous employers

(if qualifications are insufficient)

Positive skills assessment

(for direct entry stream)

PAYG statements / payslips

(for direct entry stream)

Police clearances from every country you have spent 12 months or more in the past 10 years (since turning 16 years of age)
Evidence of English language proficiency

(for applicants aged 18 years and older)

The above is a general checklist, meaning further information may be required. Notably, additional documents will be required you are seeking to rely on an age or English exemption.

Who can be included in a 186 visa application?

Immediate family can be included in a 186 visa as secondary applicants. This includes a spouse or de facto partner, dependents under 18 years of age, and dependents over 18 years of age in certain circumstances.

To include dependents over 18 years of age who are not a spouse or de facto partner, it will need to be evidenced that they are dependent on the primary applicant or the primary applicant’s partner. Dependency refers to a substantial reliance to have basic needs met. For dependants under 23 years of age, this includes evidence that:

  • they live with the primary applicant (demonstrated by bills or a lease agreement);
  • they are a full-time student (demonstrated by course enrolment); and
  • they require financial support (demonstrated by bank statements).

Only in limited circumstances can a dependant over 23 years of age be included in a 186 visa (e.g., they have a recognised disability).

I have lodged my 186 visa – what happens now?

Unless you have an existing visa with authorisation to work, you cannot commence work with your employer until your visa is approved. However, many 186 visa applicants will already hold an employer sponsored temporary visa which will permit them to continue working.

If you are in Australia and have lodged a 186 visa application, you will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA), which will allow you to remain in Australia until a decision on your application is made. It is important to note that you will not be allowed to re-enter Australia if you depart on a BVA. If you wish to travel while the holder of a BVA, you will need to apply for a different bridging visa.

You can learn more about bridging visas and what they mean for your immigration status here.

Do you require further assistance?

If you require assistance with your 186 visa application, or have any other immigration related queries, our experienced team can help. Contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at +61 3 9016 0484.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.
Emily Young

Author Emily Young

Emily completed her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from Bond University in 2019, and is busy building her legal knowledge across the entire Australian immigration law framework. She's passionate about global mobility and social issues, having previously worked on matters regarding international parental child abduction, volunteered for Camp Quality, and even set foot in North Korea!

More posts by Emily Young

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