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Australia 186 Employer Sponsored Visa Eligibility (Direct Entry): Do You Qualify?

Updated: Apr 11

In this blog, we will be discussing the basic requirements for the Direct Entry stream of the 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visa. This visa allows skilled workers who are nominated by their employers to live and work in Australia permanently.

Let's examine the basic requirements for the employer:

The business seeking to employ you must:

  • Be actively and lawfully operating in Australia.

  • Genuinely need you to work in the nominated position under its direct control and have the capacity to employ you in this position for at least two years.

Let's now look at the position to be nominated for the 186 Visa.

The position to be filled must:

  • Be full-time and available for at least 2 years from the time your visa is granted.

  • Be an occupation included on the current Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Note: Certain occupations on this list will be subject to additional requirements (e.g., salary, type of business operated by the employer, nature of the position). Have a salary that is:

  • At least $70,000 per year (excluding any non-monetary benefits) AND

  • At least the annual market salary rate (AMSR) for your nominated occupation.

Notes: The AMSR for your nominated occupation (excluding non-monetary benefits) must also be at least $70,000 per year.

The AMSR is the salary that an Australian earns (or would earn) for performing equivalent work on a full-time basis for a year in the same workplace at the same location.

You will be exempt from the AMSR requirement if your salary is more than $250,000 per year.

  • Be subject to conditions of employment (other than earnings) that are no worse than those that apply (or would apply) to Australians performing equivalent work in the same location.

Employers must pay a one-off Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy for EACH subclass 186 nomination lodged with the Department of Home Affairs. The amount payable varies based on the employer’s annual turnover:

  • For employers with an annual turnover of LESS THAN AU$10 million, the SAF levy is AU$3,000 per nomination.

  • For employers with an annual turnover of AT LEAST AU$10 million, the SAF levy is AU$5,000 per nomination.

The SAF levy must be paid upfront at the time the nomination is lodged.

Now, let's explore the requirements for the Visa Applicant:

As the visa applicant, you must (unless a specific exemption applies in any case):

  • Have competent English, i.e.,

  • Hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland (and you are a citizen of that country) OR

  • Have an IELTS test score of at least 6 in EACH test component OR

  • Have an OET test score of at least B in EACH test component OR

  • Have a TOEFL iBT test score of at least 12 for listening, 13 for reading, 21 for writing, and 18 for speaking OR

  • Have a PTE test score of at least 50 in EACH test component OR

  • Have a CAE test score of at least 169 in EACH test component.

Notes: In each case, the test must have been undertaken within the last three years.

  • Have your skills assessed as suitable for your nominated occupation by the relevant skills-assessing authority.

  • Have at least three years of full-time experience in your nominated occupation. As per the email received from the Department, they have advised that it is recognized that in addition to full-time work, a range of variable employment arrangements exists, with part-time work and variable working hours being increasingly common. This will impact on how work experience is calculated. If work experience is to be expressed in full-time terms, for part-time workers, this can be calculated pro-rata. For example, if the requirement is for 3 years of relevant full-time work experience, if part-time work is at 50% of a full-time load, the applicant must be able to demonstrate they have worked in that occupation on a part-time basis for 6 years. This advice additionally covers periods of casual employment. As noted above, they will be considered on a pro-rata basis.

  • Be under 45 years of age.

  • Meet any mandatory licensing, registration, or professional membership requirements.

  • Satisfy the relevant health and character requirements.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and have an employer in Australia willing to sponsor you, you may want to contact us.


The information shared by Nationwide Migration and Education on social media and blogs is for general informational purposes only. (The information is accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change.) It is not legal or immigration advice and should not be relied upon as such.

If you need immigration advice specific to your circumstances, please book a consultation with our Registered Migration Agent.

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