The Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186), commonly known as ENS visa or 186 visa, is a permanent residence visa for skilled workers.


There are three streams.


1.  The Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream 186 Visa


The visa 186 TRT stream may be for you if you hold either of the following:


AND, you have worked with your sponsor full time in Australia on your TSS visa and/or subclass 457 visa(s) for at least:

  • 3 out of the previous 4 years before the visa subclass 186 nomination is made and in the same position that you have been nominated for OR
  • 2 out of the previous 4 years before the 186 visa nomination is made, if transitional arrangements apply because you either have held or applied for the 457 visa (and was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.


2. Direct Entry Stream 186 Visa


The Direct Entry stream 186 visa may be for you if you:

  • your occupation is on the subclass186 visa occupation list –  legislative instrument
  • you have the required qualification and at least 3 years of relevant work experience in your nominated occupation
  • a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation which is approved by the relevant assessing authority for your occupation


Applicants may be exempt from obtaining a positive skills assessment if they have applied for:

  1. a) a subclass 186 visa and are nominated as:
    • An academic by a university in Australia or
    • A scientist, researcher, or technical specialist by an Australian government scientific agency, including a State and Territory government scientific agencies.


  1. b) A subclass 186 visa and are in Australia as the holder of a subclass 444 or 461 visa ANDhave worked with their nominating employer in the nominated occupation for the last two years (excluding the period of unpaid leave) in the period of three years before the visa application is made.


3. Agreement Stream 186 visa


The 186 visa Agreement stream may be for you if you are:

  • sponsored by an Australian employer through a negotiated formal labour agreement
  • you must meet the age, skills and English language requirements stated in the agreement.


There are various labour agreements available, all of which consist of extensive requirements and processes. If you have an employer who wishes to sponsor you under this stream, our Immigration Lawyer can assess eligibility and go through specific requirements with you and your potential employer.


Stages involved in ENS visa

There are two stages involved in the ENS visa:

a)  Nomination for Subclass 186 Visa

  • you must be nominated by an Australian employer to work in Australia
  • the position must be full time
  • the position must be a genuine position


b) Visa for Subclass 186

  • You must provide evidence to show that you have the skills and qualification for the occupation that you are nominated for
  • You meet all other requirements of the stream that you are nominated for


Eligibility Criteria for All ENS Visa Streams


You might be able to get the 186 visa if you:

  • have an Australian employer who wants to nominate you and is willing to offer you a full-time position for at least 2 years
  • have been nominated by an approved Australian employer within six months before you apply for the ENS visa
  • you are under the age of 45 at the time of the ENS visa application
  • at the time of the 186 visa application, you have the required skills and qualifications for the position
  • have appropriate English language skills at the time of lodgement
  • meet health requirements
  • meet character requirements
  • meet requirements of the stream in which you are applying for.


IMPORTANT: You may still be able to apply under TRT if you are older than 45 y.o but is younger than 50 y.o at time of application if transitional arrangement applies. This means that you must have held, or was an applicant for a subclass 457 which (which was subsequently granted) on 18 April 2017.


ENS Visa

The ENS visa lets you and any member of your family member who has also been granted this visa:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time you will need to apply for a resident return visa to return to Australia)
  • apply for citizenship (when and if eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residency (if eligible)


 186 Visa Processing Time

The department updates processing time for Australian visas every month. You can see up to date processing time HERE.


Location for ENS Visa Applicants

You can be in or outside Australia when you apply for visa subclass 186.

If you are in Australia, you must hold the following visa:

  • Substantive visa – any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa which allows you to stay in Australia temporarily. This can be, for example, a student visa or a visitor visa.
  • Bridging visa A, B or C


Employers for 186 Visa

Your employer may be able to nominate you for visa 186 if:

  • they are actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia
  • have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • offer a skilled position in your field that is full time and ongoing for at least two years
  • pay you at Annual Market Salary Rate
  • they comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations law
  • no adverse information is known about the business or any person associated with the business

There are additional requirements that the Australian employer must meet, depending on the 186 visa stream that they are nominating you for.


English Language Requirements 186 Visa

Applicants are required to show that they have the following English language test scores for the 186 visa TRT, Direct Entry and Labour Agreement (unless specified in the labour agreement) stream.


Click on each English test to learn more about the test!

English test Competent Level of English
Listening Reading Speaking Writing  
IELTS 6 6 6 6
TOEFL iBT 12 13 18 21
PTE 50 50 50 50
CAE 169 169 169 169
Important Note: Your test must have been undertaken in the three years immediately prior to lodging the visa application.
Exemptions for English language requirements:
  1. TRT and Direct Entry stream: if you hold a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland.
  2. TRT stream: applicants are also exempt if they have completed at least 5 years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institute where all the tuition was delivered in English.


Find out more about Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Read more about Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa.


How Can We Help

Extensive requirements are involved for an employer to nominate a skilled worker for the different streams available for this visa. If you have an Australian employer who is looking to nominate you, we can help you assess eligibility and understand the requirements and processes involved.


You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents (formally known as Crux Migration). We will go through more specific requirements with you, tailoring your application according to your circumstances to ensure a smooth 186 visa application.



Fill in the Form

FIll in the form below and one of our Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents will contact you shortly. 



1. I am currently holding a 457 visa, will my eligibility for ENS visa or RSMS visa for TRT stream be affected in the future because of the changes?


You will have access to the TRT transitional arrangements if:


  1. You held a subclass 457 visa on 18 April 2017 and continues to hold this visa or a TSS visa/related bridging visa at the time of TRT application, OR


  1. You had applied for a subclass 457 visa on or before 18 April 2017 and was subsequently granted and continues to hold this visa or a TSS visa/related bridging visa at the time of TRT application.
2. What does the TRT transitional arrangements mean for me?


If the answers to question 1 above apply to you, you will be able to access the following grandfathering provisions under the TRT stream:


  • If you continue to work with the same employer in the same position and occupation as approved for your subclass 457 visa or your new TSS visa, your eligibility for the 186 visa application or 187 visa application TRT stream will not be affected.
  • The 2 years’ work requirement will remain the same i.e. you must have worked at least 2 years out of the previous 3 years in the same occupation and with your nominating employer, before the 187 visa application or 186 visa application is made.
  • The occupation list requirements will not This means even if your occupation had been removed from the skilled occupations list, you can still apply for TRT stream.


Please note that additional requirements may apply for 186 visa application or 187 visa application for Temporary Residence Transitional stream, and this includes English language requirements and salary arrangements.


See further requirements on ENS visa or RSMS visa.

3. If I change my occupation on my 457 visa or TSS visa, will I still be eligible for the TRT under the grandfathering provisions?


Yes, you may be eligible as long as you have been approved a new nomination for the changed occupation (see 5 & 6) and have worked for 2 years.

4. I will be over 45 years old when I become eligible for TRT, will my age affect my eligibility to apply for the subclass 186 visa or subclass 187 visa?


If you held a subclass 457 visa, or had applied for a subclass 457 visa (and was subsequently granted) on or before 18 April 2017, you can still apply for the temporary residence transition stream if you are over 45 years old but less than 50 years old.


Exemptions may apply for medical practitioners, university lecturers, and people earning over the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently AUD142,000).

5. Will I need to obtain a skills assessment for my occupation?


If you are applying for the 186 visa or 187 visa TRT stream you will generally not required to obtain a skills assessment for your occupation. However, the department may still request for this if they consider this to be necessary.

6. What is the ANZSCO 4-digit number rule?


The ANZSCO 4-digit number is extremely important when it comes to determining your eligibility for Temporary Residence Transitional stream.


Your occupation’s 4-digit ANZSCO code that you were originally nominated on MUST be the same as the 4-digit code for the occupation that you will be nominated on for TRT stream.