Did you know that you may be able to qualify for a permanent residence visa to Australia under the employer nomination scheme automatically, with no need to wait three years?

As you may know, Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa holders may be eligible to transition to permanent residence with their sponsoring employer after having worked in the position for at least three out of the last four years.

This pathway is available to eligible applicants under the employer nomination scheme.

Note: The Subclass 482 visa replaced the Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa on 18 March 2018. Special rules apply to visa applicants who held a Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa or a Bridging visa associated with a 457 visa on 18 April 2017. These transitional arrangements are designed to ensure that employer sponsored visa 457 holders who held this visa before the changes were announced will, in certain circumstances, remain eligible for an employer nominated visa under the TRT stream (which is discussed below) after they have worked for their sponsoring employer for at least two out of the last three years.

But did you know that some TSS visa holders may already be eligible for a permanent residence visa, without having to wait for three years, and can therefore apply at any time?

How can this be done?

How Can A TSS Visa Holder Qualify For Permanent Residence Automatically?

The Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa programme operates under three streams:

  • Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) – this requires applicants to hold a Subclass 482 visa and to have worked for the nominating employer full-time for at least three years. For the nominated occupation to be eligible, it must be on the relevant occupation list at the time of the nomination application (transitional arrangements may apply);
  • Direct entry – this stream enables employers to hire overseas workers who are untested in the Australian labour market, as week as workers in Australia who do not qualify under the TRT stream. For the nominated occupation to be eligible, it must be on the relevant occupation list at the time of the nomination application.;
  • Labour agreement – this stream provides a pathway to permanent residence for employers who have entered into a labour agreement with the Government. Prospective visa applicants can be nominated only in the occupations listed in the labour agreement.

Note: The Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa replaced the Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa on 16 November 2019. Like the Subclass 186 visa, the 187 regional sponsored migration scheme also required an employer nomination. Under the new regional sponsored migration scheme, nominees must be employed to work in the nominated occupation, in a position within the sponsoring business or an associated entity of that business, in a designated regional area of Australia.

 The Subclass 494 visa is a temporary (provisional) visa which enables the visa holder to enter and stay in Australia for a period of five years from the date of grant. ‘Provisional’ means it provides a pathway to permanent residence via the Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa after holding the Subclass 494 visa for at least three years (other requirements must also be met to qualify for permanent residence). The key point to note is that the Subclass 494 visa holder (and all dependents) must live and work only in a designated regional area.

 You can find more information about the Subclass 494 visa programme in our Australian Skilled Migration Visa List article.

What Is Required To Be Eligible For An Employer Nomination Scheme Visa Under The Direct Entry Stream?

The employer nomination scheme subclass 186 application process consists of two parts.

First, the employer must lodge a nomination application, which relates to the position that it is seeking to nominate.

Second, the proposed nominee needs to submit a separate visa application and meet valid visa lodgement and grant criteria in order to qualify.

What Is Required For A Nomination Under The Employer Nomination Scheme?

For a business to be eligible for nomination approval under the 186 employer nomination scheme, the key requirements it needs to meet are:

  • There must be no adverse information known about the business, or any person associated with it, or it is reasonable to disregard this information;
  • It must actively and lawfully operate a business in Australia;
  • It must have a genuine need (Employer Sponsored Visas) for a paid employee to fill a skilled position, under the direct control of the nominating business;
  • pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy when it submits the nomination application;
  • have complied with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws.

The proposed nominating business must also:

  • be able to offer to the nominee a skilled position that is full time and ongoing for at least two years (the employment contract must not limit the position to two years);
  • if the nominee will earn less than AUD $250,000 a year, the nominating business must pay the nominee at least the annual market salary rate; and
  • be able to demonstrate that the applicant is eligible for any licence, registration or membership that is required at the time of the nomination application.

And importantly, to be eligible, the nominated occupation must be on the list of eligible skilled occupations for the employer nomination scheme subclass 186 visa.

What Is Required For An Employer Nomination Scheme Visa?

To qualify for a Subclass 186 ENS visa, the main requirements to be satisfied by the visa applicant are:

  • be aged under 45;
  • have competent English (hold relevant passport or eligible English language test, including IELTS minimum score of 6 in each test component);
  • have an occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations for the 186 employer nomination scheme visa;
  • have been employed in the skilled occupation for at least three years on a full-time basis (post-qualification) and at the level of skill required for the occupation;
  • have a positive skills assessment in the skilled occupation;
  • Be licensed, registered or a member of a professional body if it is mandatory in the state or territory where the applicant intends to work in

NOTE: Some exemptions are available for the Age, Skill & English language requirements. Additional requirements apply to all visa applications. Please contact us directly for complete advice.

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