If you are a skilled worker employed in Australia under a temporary 457 or 482 visa, you may be eligible for permanent residency under the Employer Nomination Scheme. This scheme will allow you to apply for a 186 visa through either the Temporary Residence Transition stream or the Direct Entry stream. However, which pathway should you select? You will need to consider your circumstances, including your:

  • age;
  • English language skills;
  • ability to pass a skills assessment; and
  • work experience.

This article will explain the difference in criteria between the Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry streams.

Your Age

Both the Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry pathways require you to be under 45 years old when you submit a 186 visa. However, age exemptions do apply under the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Age Exemptions

If you are applying under the Temporary Residence Transition pathway, you will be exempt from the age requirement where you meet any of the criteria in the table below.

Criteria

Explanation

Earn a High Income

You were paid a base salary equal to or greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold for at least three years immediately before submitting the visa. This threshold is currently $148,700. However, it increases each financial year.

Employment in a Government Scientific Agency

You work for a government scientific agency as a researcher, scientist or technical specialist, with a

  • Bachelor degree or higher qualification;
  • NZ Register Diploma;
  • AQF Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma; or
  • at least three years of relevant experience.

Employment in an Australian University

You work for a university in Australia as a:

  • lecturer;
  • professor;
  • associate professor;
  • dean;
  • head of faculty;
  • research fellow; or
  • senior fellow.

Age Requirements if You Held a 457/482 Visa Before 18 April 2017

If you held or applied for a 457 or 482 visa before 18 April 2017, you will be subject to special requirements during a transition period as the government replaces the old 457 visa with the current 482 visa. 

This means you will only need to be under the age of 50 at the time of submitting a 186 Temporary Residence Transition visa application. 

English Language Skills

You need to have competent English at the time of your application when applying through either scheme. 

To demonstrate your English skills, you need to provide evidence that you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport issued by: 

  • the United Kingdom;
  • the United States of America; 
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand; or 
  • the Republic of Ireland.

If you are not a citizen of these countries, you must have obtained the required scores in the relevant English test within three years immediately before your application.

Prior to 16 November 2019, applicants could be exempt if they had studied full-time in English for at least five years. However, this exemption no longer applies.

Skills Assessment Requirement

A skills assessment is only required under the Direct Entry stream and is not necessary if you apply through the Temporary Residence Transition pathway.

Skills assessments are issued by third party bodies, who check that your skills meet the standards that they set for your nominated occupation. These requirements will differ across different industries and jobs.

For example, if you are an accountant, you may need to have: 

  • a specific Bachelor degree;
  • specific certificates; and 
  • a certain level of experience working in that area. 

The skills assessment will require you to:

  • provide all the necessary paperwork to demonstrate that you have the correct skills; and
  • pay a processing fee.

Work Experience

457 Visa Holders Before 18 April 2017

Special transitional arrangements will apply under the Temporary Residence Transition stream if you held or applied for a 457 visa before 18 April 2017. In this circumstance, you will need to demonstrate two years of work experience in your nominated occupation. You must have been carrying out this work with the same employer.

457/482 Visa Holders After 18 April 2017

If you were granted your 457 or 482 visa after 18 April, you will need to demonstrate three years’ work experience in your nominated occupation. This requirement applies to both streams. 

However, through the Temporary Residence Transition stream, you must have worked for the same employer over the three years. In contrast, the Direct Entry stream allows you to have worked for several different employers.

For example, someone who has worked for three different companies over the last three years would be eligible under the Direct Entry stream but not the Temporary Residence Transition stream.

Comparison Between Temporary Residence Transition and Direct Entry

The table below will help you identify which stream is most appropriate for your needs by comparing the two different sets of criteria.

Criteria

Temporary Residence Transition

Direct Entry

Current Visa Status

Must hold a:

  • 457 visa;
  • 482 visa; or 
  • bridging visa associated with an application for a 482 or 457 visa.

Can hold any visa and be either inside or outside of Australia at the time of application.

Work Experience

Three years working in your nominated occupation for the same employer. This may only be two years if transitional arrangements apply.

Three years employment in your nominated occupation. This can be for one or many different employers. 

Age

Be under 45 years old, unless you qualify for an age exemption.

Must be under 45 years old. No age exemptions apply.

English Language Skills

Must pass an English competency test or hold a passport issued by:

  • the United Kingdom;
  • the United States of America; 
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand; or 
  • the Republic of Ireland.

Must pass an English competency test or hold a passport issued by:

  • the United Kingdom;
  • the United States of America; 
  • Canada;
  • New Zealand; or 
  • the Republic of Ireland.

Skills Assessment

A skills assessment is not required.

A positive skills assessment is mandatory.

Key Takeaways

If you are eligible for a 186 visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme, you should consider several factors when deciding whether to apply through the Temporary Residence Transition or Direct Entry streams. Some of these include your:

  • age;
  • English language skills;
  • ability to pass the skills assessment; and
  • work experience.

If you would like advice on your options to transition to permanent residency, contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers today on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

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