When you are looking for a permanent residency visa for Australia, you could be eligible for the subclass 186 visa. But you must have the sponsorship of an Australian employer before submitting a visa application.

The 186 visa has three streams you can apply under:

  • 1. Direct Entry Stream
  • 2. Temporary Residence Transition Stream
  • 3. Labour Agreement Stream.

Receiving a 186 permanent visa gives you permanent residency so you can stay in Australia with your family members.

Subclass 186 Requirements

The following are the common key requirements the primary visa holder must satisfy when applying for the direct entry stream and temporary residence transition stream.

English Language Requirement

There is an English language requirement when applying for a 186 visa. The primary applicant must have competent English to apply for any one of the three streams when they want to stay in Australia. You are likely to have to take an English language test to demonstrate you have competent English. But you can use the result of an English language test you took within the immediate three years before lodging your visa application. This may not be suitable. You may need higher than the minimum score required for having competent English for a skills assessment if applying for the direct entry stream. You may also need higher scores if your nominated occupation requires mandatory registration, or a professional membership or licence.

Character and Health Requirements

The primary visa applicant and all family members must meet all character and health requirements to receive permanent residency. If anyone does not satisfy these, your visa application may be refused. Family members not included in your visa application must also meet the character and health requirements.

Age Requirements

As the primary visa applicant, you must be under 45 years old when lodging your visa application. You can turn 45 after the lodgement. There are a few exemptions allowed. Your migration agent will talk to you about these.

Commit to your Nominated Occupation

Your nominated occupation must be on the skilled occupation list. Also, you must commit to working in your nominated occupation for a minimum of two years from the date your receive approval for permanent residency. Your employer must also ensure they make the nominated occupation available to you for at least two years.

Eligible or Hold any Mandatory Licence, Registration or Professional Membership

Where you are required to hold a mandatory registration, licence or professional membership you must be eligible to obtain it before you can work in your nominated occupation. For example, working in the healthcare or legal system.

Applying for Permanent Residency while in Australia

You can apply for a permanent residency visa while in Australia if you have a temporary visa (457 or 482 visas, for example) or a Bridging visa A, B or C. But you cannot be in Australia when applying for the 186 permanent visa when you have a bridging visa if a visa has been refused or you are waiting for a tribunal hearing under Section 48. You can apply for a Bridging visa B. This allows you to leave Australia temporarily so you can lodge your 196 visa application and then you can return to Australia.

Note. Because the 186 visa is an employer nominated scheme, you must have an Australian employer willing to sponsor you before lodging your visa application.

Employer Nominated Scheme Requirements for Sponsoring Employers

Australian employers also need to meet certain requirements to sponsor skilled workers for the direct entry and temporary residence transition streams. While there are other specific requirements, the following are the common requirements for sponsoring workers for the direct entry stream and temporary residence transition stream:

  • Market rate salary. As the sponsoring employer, you must demonstrate the salary you intend to pay to the visa applicant is the market rate for the nominated occupation.
  • Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. The Australian employer must also demonstrate the market rate for the nominated occupation is equal to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold which is currently $AU53,000 a year.
  • No adverse information. For an Australian employer to receive sponsorship approval, there must be no adverse information about the business or anyone associated with it unless it is reasonable not take it into account.
  • Commit to ongoing sponsorship. The employer must commit to sponsoring the nominated occupation for a minimum of two years from the date of permanent residency visa approval. The Department of Home Affairs will assess all parts of the business to satisfy itself a business will continue operating for the at least the next two years.
  • Complying with the law. The sponsoring business must have  history of complying with Australian workplace relations and immigration laws.

Direct Entry Stream

The following are further requirements the primary visa applicant must meet under the direct entry stream:

  • Skills assessment. You must have an assessment of your skills for your nominated occupation by the relevant body. A skills assessment is only valid up until the expiry date of the assessment or for three years if there is no expiry date on the assessment. And this must be valid when you lodge your visa application. The relevant assessing body (for example, Engineers Australia, MedBA) is listed on the current skilled occupation list.
  • Work experience. You must have at least three years full time experience related to your nominated occupation. Work experience is only relevant after you complete your training. Casual or part time work experience is acceptable but counted on a pro rata basis; for example, six months part time work would equal three months full time.

Skills Assessment Exemptions

There are skills assessment exemptions available. For example, if you are a New Zealand citizen and hold a subclass 444 visa or related to a New Zealand citizen and have a subclass 462 visa. But you must have been working in an eligible occupation for the same employer for a minimum of two out of the three previous years.

You will not need to complete a skills assessment if your sponsoring employer is:

  • An Australian university academic
  • An Australian government scientific agency technical specialist, scientist or researcher.

Requirements for Australian Employers

The following are the requirements for Australian employers under the direct entry stream:

  • Must nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List.
  • Meet any caveats, if applicable.
  • Be able to demonstrate a genuine need for the nominated role.

Temporary Residence Transition Stream

Requirements when you held a 457 visa or were applying for one on April 18, 2017, are as follows:

  • You must have two years of work as a 457 or 4882 visa holder out of the previous three years for the Australian employer who is sponsoring your 186 visa. And the nominated occupation you have been working in must be the same as what was approved on the 457 or 482 visa.
  • The nominated occupation on your 457 or 482 visa must be eligible for nomination for the 186 visa even if is not on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) anymore.

If this does not apply to you, the primary applicant must have worked full time for at least three years out of the previous four years as a 457 or 482 visa holder. This must be completed for your Australian employer before applying for the 186 permanent residency visa. And it must be in the nominated occupation approved for the 457 or 482 visa. The time also counts if you hold a bridging visa and already held a 457 or 482 visa. Before you lodge your 186 visa application and your Australian employer lodges a nomination application, you must complete the full three years of work.

Requirements for Australia Employers

The following are the requirements for Australian employers applying for the employer nominated scheme under the temporary residence transition stream:

  • Must nominate an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List.
  • The performance of the primary applicant in their nominated occupation when working while holding 457 or 482 visas. The Department of Home Affairs can check if the worker you are sponsoring was actually working in the approved role. They can also check their performance and whether it meets the ANZSCO requirements.

Employment Terms and Conditions

The employer applying for the employer nominated scheme has to demonstrate they offer you the same employment terms and conditions as they would to an Australian worker or a permanent resident. They can do this by providing a contract of someone who is working in the same role as you.

If they do not have an Australian worker or a permanent resident working in the same role, they must demonstrate the salary is, at a minimum, equal to the market rate.

Genuine Need

Your sponsoring employer must demonstrate the business has a genuine need for the role. The Department of Home Affairs will take the following into consideration when assessing genuine need:

  • Information about whether the industry is declining.
  • The scope and nature of the business, such as:
    • Growth in business activity
    • Future expansion plans
    • Impact on the business if the department refused the nomination.
  • If current employees in the same position are doing overtime.
  • If the nominated position:
    • Still fits into the ongoing activities of the business.
    • Has evolved.
    • Contributes to the quality or output of the business.
    • Already has a temporary resident working in it.
    • Has become redundant in the past.
    • Includes work activities that are not relevant.
    • Is genuinely needed on an ongoing basis.
    • Is relevant to the business.

Direct Migration Experts can help

Contact the migration agents at Direct Migration Experts. A migration agent can help you every step of the way to make your subclass 186 permanent visa application or your sponsorship application a stress-free process. We can assess your eligibility and help you understand what is involved. It can be a complex process that is not easy to understand for either the primary visa applicant or the sponsoring employer.

Working with us means your application will meet the requirements which gives you a high chance of success. Call us today on 1300 015 592 to talk to one of our friendly migration experts.

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