The application process for employer-sponsored work visas is long and it is often difficult to guarantee a positive outcome. There are certain things that need to be proved for both for the sponsor and the applicant. Below, we set out basic information on the most common employer-sponsored visas and focus on what sponsoring businesses should be aware of. This article examines Visa 186.

About the Visa 186

Visa 186 is the other standard work visa, also known as the Employer Nomination Scheme. The fundamental difference between visa 186 and the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa 482 is that visa 186 is a permanent residence visa, and is hence harder to obtain due to its high rejection rate. Applicants can either apply directly or, more commonly, the transition from a 482 visa after having worked in Australia for two years.

There are two streams of entry for the 186 – either through Direct Entry or, if you have already sponsored the applicant for a Visa 482 and he or she has worked for over two years in Australia, then through the Temporary Residence Transition Stream.


The process to become approved as an employer for the Employer Nomination Scheme is also a two-step process. Firstly, there must be a nomination by an approved Australian employer; once this nomination is approved, then the visa applicant can submit an application under the nominated stream.

Who can sponsor?

To nominate a worker for an 186 visa, you must be able to prove that:

  • Your business is actively and lawfully operating in Australia;
  • You have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill the vacant position;
  • The vacant position is full time and ongoing for at least two years;
  • You can pay a market salary rate;
  • You comply with Australian workplace relations laws;
  • There is no adverse information against your business.

Eligible Occupations

You must ensure that the applicant you are nominating is:

  • Under the age of 50;
  • Meets the necessary English requirements;
  • Has the required skills and qualifications for the position;
  • Is nominated to work in an approved occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.

Documents Needed

  • A signed paying for visa sponsorship certification;
  • Employment contract between you and the visa applicant;
  • References to the appropriate industrial award, if applicable;
  • Copies of past employment contracts and payslips if Australian citizens are performing equivalent work;
  • Similar job vacancy advertisements;
  • References to the nominated position to the government’s Job Outlook;
  • References to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Employee Earnings and Hours Survey;
  • Financial documents – including an audited balance sheet, profit and loss statements and BAS;
  • Market salary proof – including salary from other similar job advertisements, data from, and referring to an industrial award if applicable;

If you are using the Direct Entry stream, note that you will also need the following:

  • Business registration documents – including ABN registration and ASIC extracts;
  • Business plan and organisational structure chart of your business;
  • Detailed description of the position;
  • Evidence that there is a need for the position – either evidence that the position has been previously occupied but become vacant, or evidence of appropriate market research to show that your business is diversifying
  • Training benchmark documents – including receipts for training expenditure for your employees and payroll details (for businesses trading less than 12 months, then the forecasted versions of the documents);

If you are an employer thinking of sponsoring a skilled worker for the 186 visa and would like some legal advice on the matter, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers.

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