Broadly speaking, the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows skilled workers in Australia to apply for permanent residence under one of three streams. These are the:
- Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream;
- Direct Entry (DE) stream; or
- Labour Agreement stream.
Below is a summary of the TRT and DE stream requirements and the impact of the transitional arrangements. The Labour Agreement requires consultation and negotiation with the Department to agree upon specific eligibility requirements so is not addressed.
Eligibility for the Temporary Residence Transition stream
Eligibility for the TRT stream depends on whether transitional arrangements apply. The Department has classified two cohorts of individuals for the TRTS application are as follows:
- if an individual held or applied for a 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 which was subsequently granted and continues to hold this visa or a TSS visa / related bridging visa at the time of the ENS application (Transitional Arrangements Pathway); or
- if an individual applied for a 457 visa after 18 April 2017 (Standard Pathway)
|An applicant must be nominated by an employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating.||An applicant must be nominated by an employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating.|
|The applicant must have been working full-time in Australia on the 457/TSS visa in the same occupation with the nominating employer for at least 3 of the last 4 years before the nomination application is made.||The applicant must have been working full-time in Australia on the 457/TSS visa in the same occupation with the nominating employer for at least 2 of the last 3 years before the nomination application is made.|
|The nominated occupation must be on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills list||Occupation list requirements DO NOT apply. This means even if an occupation has been removed from the skilled occupations list, an applicant can still apply for the TRT stream.|
|The applicant must be LESS than 45 old unless exempt.||The applicant must be LESS than 50 years old unless exempt. |
|A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component unless exempt.||A requirement of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (or equivalent test) score of 6 in each component unless exempt.|
Health and Character
|The applicant meets health and character requirements.||The applicant meets health and character requirements.|
Eligibility for Direct Entry stream
This stream does not have any transitional arrangements. All applicants under this stream must meet the following requirements:
- the occupation is on the relevant list of skilled occupations;
- the applicant must have a positive skills assessment in that nominated occupation rom the relevant skills assessing body and demonstrate at least three years of post-qualification work experience in that occupation;
- the applicant must be less than 45 unless exemptions apply;
- the applicant must meet health, character and English requirements.
Despite changes to eligibility requirements for permanent residence, the transitional arrangements provide significant benefits to individuals who held or applied for a 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017. If you fall under this cohort, we would recommend you speak to an immigration professional as soon as possible to lay out your future pathway to permanent residency.
Please feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone+61 3 9016 0484 if you have further comments or queries or would like some guidance.
Except certain occupations.
 Age exemptions: (1) you are nominated as an academic (position of university lecturer or faculty head at Academic Level B, C D or E) by a university in Australia (2) you are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian scientific government agency (3) as a subclass 457 or TSS visa holder,you have been working in your nominated occupation for your nominating employer for at least 3 years and your earnings were at least as much as the Fair Work High Income Threshold in each year over that period (4) you are a medical practitioner who has worked in your nominated occupation for at least 3 years as a 457 or TSS visa holder, and for two of those years you were employed in regional Australia, and the nominated position is in regional Australia.
 Age exemptions: (1) you are nominated as an academic (position of university lecturer or faculty head at Academic Level B, C D or E) by a university in Australia (2) you are nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist at ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2 by an Australian scientific government agency (3) 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.