186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) results in a permanent visa for the sponsored employee. It is a common way for 457 visa holders to qualify for permanent residence, but has a higher skill level than the 457 visa.

ENS Stages

There are three stages to the ENS subclass 186 application:

  • Sponsorship: the business that wants to sponsor an overseas worker submits an application to  DIBP for approval as a sponsor and must meet certain requirements to be approved as a sponsor.
  • Nomination: the business sponsor submts a nomination to DIBP nominating the position offered to the employee for approval.
  • Visa Application: the employee applies for a visa which corresponds to the position nominated by the business sponsor.  Other visa requirements include a skills assessment, English language testing and health and police checks.

Application Streams

There are three streams within a 186 visa:

  1. Temporary Residence Transition: where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. In this case, no skills assessment is required.
  2. Direct Entry Stream: the employee will need to provide a formal skills assessment in their occupation, and show that they have worked in their occupation for three years.
  3. Agreement Stream: where the employer has a Labour Agreement.

Common Issues with ENS Visas

ENS visas require a significantly higher level of documentation than a 457 visa. Difficulties which can be encountered in applying for ENS visas include:

  • Obtaining skills assessments
  • Changes in the business sponsoring the employee, including changes in the position nominated
  • The sponsoring business failing to meet DIBP requirements for sponsors
  • Showing exceptional circumstances where visa applicants would not meet the usual requirements

We provide advice and assistance at every stage of the three step process ( sponsorship, nomination and visa) to ensure that both the sponsoring business and the visa applicant satisfy DIBP requirements.