The subclass 186 visa, or employer sponsored visa, gives you permanent residency in Australia from the day it is granted. You can either be already working and living as a temporary resident or be living outside of Australia. An employer must be an approved standard business sponsor for you to be eligible to apply for the 186 visa.

What is a 186 visa?

The subclass 186 visa allows you to work, live and study in Australia without any conditions and apply for citizenship if you are eligible. Members of your family may also be eligible to come to Australia. Although you need a sponsoring employer to nominate you for a specific job, once you receive the 186 visa you do not need to keep working in that occupation.

For basic eligibility for the 186 visa, you must:

  • Have the skills to do the job.
  • Have an Australian employer nominate you.
  • Have a positive skills assessment.
  • Meet the requirements for character and health.

The 186 visa has two main streams: temporary residence transitional (TRT) and direct entry.

Do you qualify for a visa?

Temporary Residence Transitional Stream

You are eligible to apply for a 186 visa under the temporary residence transitional (TRT) stream if you are currently a temporary worker with a 482 (457) visa or a bridging visa. You must have worked for your sponsoring employer for at least three years (you will need to prove this using a recent group certificate) and your occupation must be on the medium to long-term 186 visa occupation list.

The TRT subclass 186 visa costs from $4,045 and takes between 15 and 11 months to process.

Direct Entry Stream

The direct entry stream is suitable for you if you have never or only briefly worked in Australia and your sponsoring employer lodges a valid nomination. You must have a job on the list of eligible skilled occupations, at least three years’ work experience in your nominated occupation and a positive skills assessment before applying for a visa unless you are exempt.

The direct entry subclass 186 visa costs from $4,045

Eligibility for subclass 186 visa

To apply for a subclass 186 visa, your Australian employer must nominate you and you need to apply for the visa within 6 months of approval of the nomination. You must also be under 45 years old at the time of nomination. But you may be eligible for a 186 visa age exemption if you are nominated for a position:

  • As a senior academic by an Australian university.
  • As a technical specialist, researcher or scientist by an Australian scientific government agency.

You may also be age exempt if you have a New Zealand citizen’s family member subclass 461 or subclass 444 visa and worked for the nominating employer for a minimum of two years out of the last three years.

You will also need to receive an English score equivalent to IELTS 6 unless you are exempt.

Your 186 visa application may not be successful if:

  • The job is no longer available.
  • Your employer withdraws the application.
  • There is any adverse information available about your nominating employer.

Employer eligibility

For your employer to be eligible to nominate you for a 186 visa they must be an approved as a standard business sponsor. To qualify as a sponsor, the requirements your employer must meet include:

  • Paying you a salary that is in accordance with the Australian market and your contract must meet Fair Work Australia conditions.
  • Establishing and providing evidence they cannot fill the position with someone from Australia and need to employ someone from overseas.
  • Being able to demonstrate a commitment to training.
  • Offering you the position for a minimum of two years.
  • Showing evidence, such as financials, the business is currently operating legally in Australia.
  • Paying a Skilling Australian Fund levy at the time of nomination. The current cost is around:
    • $3,000 for a business turning over less than $10 million a year.
    • $5,000 for a business turning over more than $10 million a year.

186 Visa Occupation List

The following is a snapshot of the occupations on the 186 visa occupation list.

Item Number 

Occupation ANZSCO Code Assessing Authority
1. Chief Executive or Managing Director 111111 IML
2. Construction Project Manager 133111 VETASSESS
3. Chief Information Officer 135111 ACS
4. Dancer or Choreographer 211112 VETASSESS
5. Economist 224311 VETASSESS
6. Surveyor 232212 SSSI
7. Structural Engineer 233214 Engineers Australia
8. Agricultural Consultant 234111 VETASSESS
9. Chemist 234211 VETASSESS
10. Biochemist 23513 VETASSESS
11. Veterinarian 234711 AVBC
12. Special Needs Teacher 241511 AITSL
13. Optometrist 251411 OCANZ
14. Podiatrist 252611 PodBA
15. General Practitioner 243111 MedBA
16. Psychiatrist 253411 MedBA
17. Nurse Practitioner 254411 ANMAC
18. Multimedia Specialist 261211 ACS
19. Software Engineer 261313 ACS
20. Radiocommunications Technician 313211 TRA
21. Diesel Motor Mechanic 321212 TRA
22. Sheetmetal Trades Worker 322211 TRA
23. Fitter and Turner 324111 TRA
24. Panel beater 323212 TRA
25. Carpenter 331212 TRA
26. Painting Trades Worker 332211 TRA
27. Wall and Floor Tiler 333411 TRA
28. Drainer 334113 TRA
29. Horse Trainer 361112 TRA
30. Footballer 452411 VETASSESS

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