Employer Nominated Visas

186 Australian Permanent Work Visa (Employer Nomination Scheme)

The 186 visa is a Permanent Visa allowing the holder and accompanying family members to remain permanently in Australia. The Australian government comprehensively reformed this visa on the 1st July 2012 largely restricting the exemptions in regards to Skills, English language ability and Age applicable under the old scheme. However, some exceptions are still available to the requirements outlined below.

Requirements

There are two parts to a 186 Visa, the Nomination application and the Visa application. The Nomination application reviews the operations of the business, training expenditure and the details of the occupation and salary being offered to the visa applicant. The Visa application assesses the applicant’s skills, English language ability, health and character. The 186 Visa is a common way for existing 457 Visa holders to transition to Permanent Residence but it is also possible to apply for Permanent Residence directly with this visa.

You must be less than 50 years of age at the time you apply for this visa.

There are two distinct pathways that enable applicants to obtain this visa.

The Temporary Residence Transition Stream enables existing 457 visa holders who have worked for their sponsoring employer for 2 years to apply based on a further Nomination by their existing employer.

The Direct Entry Stream enables applicants who demonstrate 3 years relevant work experience and obtain a Skills Assessment to apply for this visa.

The processing time for the 186 visa can take from 5 – 6 months.

186 Nomination Application

The 186 nomination application determines the suitability of the employer and that of the nominated occupation. A nomination is valid for 6 months after approval.

Employer Nominated applications require a substantially higher level of documentation than that of the 457 visa.

Skills Assessment

For applicants applying under the Direct Entry Scheme they will be required to have their skills assessed as suitable for their occupation. There are a number of Skills Assessing Authorities appointed by the Australian government for this purpose. Importantly, Skills Assessing Authorities have different requirements and criteria that must be met depending on your occupation. There is a fee payable for a skills assessment.

Skill Requirement – Exceptions

There are limited exceptions to the Skill Requirement for the 186 Visa. If you fall within one of the categories below you will not be required to demonstrate that you have three years relevant employment experience and a successful Skills Assessment.

  • Nominated in the occupation as a Senior Academic, Scientist, University lectures or Ministers of Religion

  • New Zealand citizens who have worked for their sponsoring employer for at least two years in the nominated occupation.

  • The Salary on offer to the visa applicant is above a certain threshold.

  • The Visa applicant is applying on the basis of holding a 457 visa for at least two years (Temporary Residence Transition Stream) and is being nominated in the same occupation.

Age Requirement – Exceptions

You do not have to be less than 50 years of age at the time you apply for this visa if you fall within one of the following categories;

Persons who are employed in certain occupations and industries as follows:

  • Ministers of Religion (ANZSCO 272211) who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by a religious institution; or

  • Researchers, scientists and technical specialists at ANZSCO skill levels 1 or 2, who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by Australian scientific government agencies; or

  • Senior academics who have applied for a visa under the Regulations to occupy a position as nominated by a university in Australia. A senior academic is a person to be employed at an Academic Level of B, C, D or E as a University Lecturer (ANZSCO 242111) or Faculty head (ANZSCO 134411).

  • who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying and whose annual earnings for each year in the four year period was at least equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold; or

Medical practitioners (ANZSCO MINOR GROUP 253):

  • who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 457 visa for at least the four years immediately before applying and whose nominated position is located in regional; or

Medical practitioners (ANZSCO MINOR GROUP 253):

· who have been working for their nominating employer as the holder of a Subclass 422 visa before becoming a holder of a Subclass 457 visa for the prescribed period of two years in the four years immediately before applying and whose nominated position is located in regional Australia.

Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) Subclass 187 Visas

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme or RSMS visa is a permanent employer sponsored visa which requires a job offer in a Regional Area of Australia.

RSMS Application Stages

There are in general three stages to an RSMS application:

  • RCB Certification: the Regional Certifying Body will ensure that the position is genuine and in many cases require that the position has been advertised
  • Nomination: review of the business and position by the Department of Immigration
  • Visa application: there are three pathways, and generally the skill level is lower than for the ENS program. Applicants must be aged under 50, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

RSMS Regional Areas

In order to be granted an RSMS visa, the employee must be offered a position in a “regional area”. The regional areas are specified by postcode by the Department of Immigration.

The following are considered Regional areas for the purposes of RSMS sponsorship:

  • The whole of Western Australia
  • The whole of South Australia
  • The whole of Tasmania
  • The whole of ACT
  • The whole of Northern Territory
  • New South Wales (NSW) – all areas excluding: Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong
  • Victoria – all areas excluding Melbourne
  • Queensland- all areas excluding Brisbane

Application Pathways

There are three possible application pathways for an RSMS visa:

  • Temporary Residence Transition: where applicants have worked with the employer on a 457 visa for the last 2 years. In this case, no RCB certification is required and an English level equivalent to IELTS 5 is required.
  • Direct Entry Stream: the position will need to be certified by an RCB, and the employee will need English level equivalent to IELTS 6. Applicants in trade occupations may require a formal skills assessment.
  • Agreement Stream: where the employer has a Labour Agreement

Benefits of Applying for RSMS over ENS visa

The requirements for RSMS are more straightforward than ENS in a number of important ways:

  • The employer does not need to meet the training requirement
  • The visa applicant requires a lower level of skill for the Direct Entry Stream – most applicants do not require a skills assessment, and there is no minimum work experience requirement
  • It is possible to apply for RSMS in a wider range of occupations than ENS
  • RSMS is the highest priority visa in the skilled migration stream

Common Issues with RSMS Visas

The main difficulties employers face when obtaining RSMS visas are as follows:

  • Identifying the correct eligibility stream
  • Obtaining an RCB approval – each RCB has different criteria and an approval may need to be individually negotiated with the RCB
  • Showing exceptional circumstances where visa applicants would not meet the usual requirements for Age, English language ability and skill level

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