The permanent employer sponsored skilled visas – Subclass 186 and Subclass 187 visas
If you are a skilled worker whose occupation is on one of the “lists” and you have an Australian employer who is willing to nominate you for permanent residence, then you may be eligible to apply for one of these visas.
The subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa is available nationwide. The subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa is only available in “Regional” Australia. Both these visas have three “streams”.
- The Temporary Residence Transition stream is for subclass 457 or TSS visa holders who have worked for the required time period in the same position for their employer and their employer wants to offer them a permanent position.
- The Direct Entry stream is for people who have never, or only briefly, worked in the Australian labour market but have an employer willing to sponsor them for a permanent position.
- The Agreement stream is for people sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement
The process has two stages.
Employer Nomination Application
The employer must submit a nomination application for the employee to the Department of Home Affairs. Key points to demonstrate in this part of the process are that:
- The role is on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) (subclass 186 visa) or the MLTSSL or Regional Occupations List (ROL) (subclass 187 visa)
- The business genuinely needs to employ an overseas worker
- The nominated role is intended to be available in the business for two years from the date the visa is granted.
- That the business will pay the employee at the market rate (there is a minimum salary of $53,900 but the salary actually offered must reflect market rate for the occupation)
- That the business can afford to pay the employee’s salary for the period of two years from the date the visa is granted.
The business will also be required to pay the Skilling Australians Fund Levy (”SAFL”) at the time the nomination is submitted. The SAFL has replaced the employer’s obligation to spend a certain amount on training Australian citizens or permanent residents. If the business’ turnover is less than $10 million, then the SAFL is currently $3000. If it is $10 million or above, then the SAFL is $5000.
When the nomination application has been submitted, the employee can submit his/ her visa application. The visa application must be submitted within six months of the date that the nomination application is approved. A lot of supporting documentation is needed at this stage and it varies according to the stream you are applying in, but key points are that you:
- Must be under 45 when you apply for the visa (subject to certain, very specific exemptions)
- Must have a positive skills assessment (Subclass 186 Direct Entry Stream applications and some Subclass 187 Direct Entry Stream applications)
- Must meet the work experience requirements for the steam you are applying in
- Must meet the English language requirements for the stream you are applying in (unless specific exemption criteria apply)
- Must make a genuine effort to remain with the employer for at least two years from the date the visa is granted. (Please be aware that if you are granted a subclass 187 visa and you don’t remain with your employer for at least two years following visa grant, then your visa can be cancelled)
- Must meet Australia’s health and character requirements
Can I include my family?
- You can include some members of your family in the application (generally your spouse/ partner and your children). An extra Department Home Affairs application charge is payable by those additional applicants and they must also meet Australia’s health and character requirements. Any additional visa applicants over the age of 18 must also meet English language requirements or pay an additional fee before the visa application can be approved.
Hang on, I’m confused…
Didn’t I hear something about being able to:
- apply up to the age of 50
- apply with a Short Term Skilled Occupations List
- apply in the Temporary Residence Transition Stream when I have worked for my employer for two years?
Yes, you probably did. When the Australian Government made significant changes to the employer sponsored visa programmes in 2017 and 2018, certain visa holders were protected (“grandfathered”) from the effect of those changes. Depending on when your subclass 457 visa was granted, you may be able to take advantage of those protections. This a complex area, so please call us to see if we can help you determine which rules apply to your situation.
The information here is just a brief overview of the process and many other points may need to be considered. We have helped many applicants and their employers through this complex process, so please get in touch and we can help you decide whether or not this is the right visa option for you.