Gateway to Permanent Residency in Australia – The Subclass 186 Visa

Gateway to Permanent Residency in Australia - The Subclass 186 Visa

Australia’s Subclass 186 visa, also known as the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), is a key pathway for skilled workers who wish to secure permanent residency in Australia through employer sponsorship. Introduced to address skill shortages in the Australian workforce, particularly in regional areas, the Subclass 186 visa offers numerous benefits and opportunities for both employers and skilled migrants.

Overview of the Subclass 186 Visa

The Subclass 186 visa is designed for skilled workers nominated by an approved Australian employer. It consists of two main streams:

  1. Direct Entry Stream

This stream is for applicants who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia, or have held a temporary visa but do not qualify for the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

  1. Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream

This stream is for applicants who have worked for their employer in Australia on a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482) or a predecessor visa (subclass 457) for at least three years (some exemptions apply).

Key Features and Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Subclass 186 visa, applicants must meet several key criteria:

  1. Employer Nomination

An Australian employer must nominate the applicant for a position that is listed on the relevant occupation list and meets minimum salary and skill requirements.

  1. Skills and Qualifications

Applicants must have the skills and qualifications necessary for the nominated occupation. This may include undergoing a skills assessment depending on the occupation.

  1. Age

Generally, applicants must be under 45 years of age at the time of application, though exemptions may apply in certain cases.

  1. English Language Proficiency

Minimum English language requirements must be met unless exempt based on nationality or other criteria.

  1. Health and Character

 Applicants must meet health and character requirements as stipulated by the Australian government.

Application Process

The application process for the Subclass 186 visa typically involves the following steps:

  1. Nomination by Employer

 The employer must lodge a nomination application for the skilled worker through the Department of Home Affairs’ online portal and demonstrate the genuine need for the position.

  1. Visa Application

After the nomination is approved, the skilled worker can lodge their visa application, providing evidence of their skills, qualifications, and meeting health and character requirements.

  1. Decision:

The Department of Home Affairs assesses the visa application and makes a decision based on the information provided.


Benefits and Opportunities

The Subclass 186 visa offers several advantages for both applicants and employers:

  1. Permanent Residency

 Successful applicants and their accompanying family members can live and work in Australia indefinitely.

  1. Work and Study

Visa holders have unrestricted work rights in Australia and may also study in Australia at their own expense.

  1. Family Inclusion

Immediate family members can be included in the visa application, allowing them to live, work, and study in Australia.

  1. Pathway to Citizenship

After holding permanent residency for a specified period and meeting other criteria, visa holders may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.


The Subclass 186 visa plays a crucial role in Australia’s skilled migration program, supporting economic growth and addressing skill shortages by allowing employers to sponsor skilled workers for permanent residency. It offers skilled migrants a pathway to establish long-term roots in Australia, contributing their talents and expertise to the nation’s diverse economy. As Australia continues to refine its immigration policies, the Subclass 186 visa remains a pivotal option for those seeking to build a future in this vibrant and dynamic country.

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