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How Does the Employer Nomination Scheme Visa Work?

In this article, we will take a close look at the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) to understand the purpose of the scheme, how to apply, and the fees and processing times. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.

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Australia, like many other countries, is keen to encourage workers from around the world with the skills it needs to thrive economically. This is because, domestically, it does not have enough skilled labour to meet the needs of the private and public sector. The Australian government, under the auspices of the Department for Home Affairs, offers many work-based visas catering for a range of scenarios, including temporary skilled visas, regional visas, and points-based skilled worker visas. In this article, we will take a close look at the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186) to understand the purpose of the scheme, how to apply, and the fees and processing times.

What Is The Employer Nomination Scheme Visa (Subclass 186)?

The 186 visa enables skilled workers from around the world who have been nominated by an employer to live and work in Australia permanently (permanent residence is granted when the visa is approved). This is distinctly different from the subclass 494 regional sponsorship and the 482 TSS visa, which are intended to allow overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis.

Who Can Sponsor A 186 Visa?

Only eligible businesses with suitable skilled positions are able to sponsor an overseas worker on a 186 visa. An eligible business is one which:

  • has no adverse information known about it or any person associated with it, or it is reasonable to disregard this information
  • is actively and lawfully operate a business in Australia
  • if it undertakes activities related to hiring labour to other unrelated businesses, the position must be within their business activities and not for hire to other unrelated businesses
  • has a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • pays the Skilling Australians Fund levy when submitting their employer nomination application
  • have complied with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws

The Department of Home Affairs, the business must also be able to:

  • offer a skilled position that is full time and ongoing for at least two years. The nominee’s employment contract must not limit the position to two years
  • if the worker will earn less than AUD$250,000 a year, pay them at least the annual market salary rate
  • demonstrate the applicant is eligible for any licence, registration or membership needed at the time you submit the application

How Do I Lodge My Employer Nomination?

It is the employer’s responsibility to complete the necessary paperwork to nominate an overseas worker for a 186 visa. This process is completed online and involves:

  • Complete your nomination application in ImmiAccount.
  • Attach the required documents to support the nomination
  • Pay the application fee of AUD$540.
  • Pay the Skilling Australians Fund levy.
  • Note the nomination Transaction Reference Number (TRN). The overseas employee will need it to apply for their 186 visa.

The documents required to nominate an overseas member of staff for a 186 visa include the applicant’s employment contract, proof that the business is actively and lawfully operational, evidence that there is a genuine need for the employee, and proof of paying the proper market rate.

Benefits Of ENS For Both Holder And Family Members

Under the direct entry scheme for the 186 visa, workers and their dependants can live, work and study in Australia indefinitely, enrol in Australia’s public health care scheme, Medicare, sponsor eligible family members to come to Australia, and apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible.

What Happens If A 186 Visa Nomination Is Refused?

After a nomination is fully submitted, it will be processed and assessed by the Department for Home Affairs. If the nomination is not approved, a letter will be sent to the nominating employer explaining the reasons for the refusal and whether there is a right to review the decision. If there is a right to review, this must be completed within the specified timescale. In this situation, it is highly recommended that you speak to an immigration lawyer who will be able to handle the review process on your behalf with a view to securing a positive decision as quickly as possible.

What Are The ENS Requirements For 186 Visa In 2021?

To secure a 186 visa, overseas workers will need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be under 45 years
  • Have a job offer for an eligible occupation
  • Have at least three years of work experience in that occupation
  • Hold the necessary licence, registration, or membership
  • Have a positive skills assessment
  • Be nominated by their employer
  • Meet the health and character requirements
  • Have a sufficient level of English language proficiency
  • Not have had a previous visa application refused or visa cancelled

What documents do I need for a 186 visa?

Applicants need to submit several documents with their 186 visa application, including:

  • Proof of their identity (e.g. passport)
  • Evidence of licencing, registration or membership
  • documents that prove their skills and qualifications; or documents to prove they are exempt from proving their skills and qualifications
  • proof of English language proficiency
  • an overseas police certificate from every country, including their home country, where they spent a total of 12 months or more in the last ten years since they turned 16
  • Documents relating to their spouse/partner and any dependant children

Is A Skills Assessment Required For A 189 Visa?

Yes, a positive skills assessment is a mandatory requirement for a 186 visa; this should be gained before applying for a visa. There are some limited exceptions, including those who:

  • have been nominated as an academic (university lecturer or faculty head at Academic Level A, B, C, D or E) by a university in Australia, or
  • have been nominated as a scientist, researcher or technical specialist by an Australian government scientific agency, or
  • currently hold a Special Category (subclass 444) or New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461) visa and have worked for the employer who nominated you, in the nominated position, for at least two years in the last three years prior to the date you applied for the visa

Is A Labour Market Testing (LMT) Required For A 186 Visa?

There is no requirement for a nominating employer to carry out a labour market test to find out if a settled worker is already available in Australia. They do, however, need to prove they have a genuine need for a paid employee and that the overseas worker will receive a salary that meets or exceeds the proper market rate for their occupation.

How Do I Prove My Work Experience For 186 Visa?

You can prove your experience to fulfil the role you are being nominated for by providing a copy of your CV. You may also choose to provide letters from your recent employers outlining your period of employment, role title, and role description.

Visa Processing Times In 2021

How Long Does It Take For The Nomination To Be Approved?

The current processing time for a nomination to be approved in 2021 is between four and six weeks.

How long does a 186 visa take to process after nomination approval in 2021?

According to the Department for Home Affairs, 75% of applications are processed with six months and 90% within 11 months.

Can I Leave My Employer Or Job After Getting A 186 Visa?

It is possible to switch to a different employer on a 186 visa, but the Department of Home Affairs expects holders to work for their nominating employer for at least two years.

How Much Does A 186-Visa Cost?

The current application fee for a 186 visa in Australia is AUD$4,045.

ENS Visa Pathway To Citizenship

As a permanent resident, you will be able to work towards Australian citizenship. You will typically need to be living in Australia for four years continuously (this means you must be away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the four years, including no more than 90 days in total in the 12 months before applying.

Final Words

The fact that the 186 visa leads to immediate permanent residence makes it highly desirable. The key to making a successful application is finding a suitable employer who is willing to nominate your application for a 186 visa. If you need any help with your application, speak to an Immigration Solicitor who will be able to assist you.

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