Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

Australian businesses of all sizes are increasingly experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. If you are an employer, and unable to find a suitable Australian person to fill a position, you may be able to sponsor a highly skilled person from overseas. 186


Minimum 3 months – Maximum 4 years

How it works

As an Employer

First the employer must apply for approval as a standard business sponsor and nominate the position(s) to be undertaken in Australia by the overseas worker. That means that the sponsor has to show that they are operating a lawful, reputable business in Australia, the sponsorship is of benefit to Australia and that they will be the direct employer of the applicant.

To nominate a position there must be a need for a paid overseas employee in a full-time position and the position must be on the list of approved occupations. This list is quite broad and includes trades people and professionals. The employer has to specify the kind of tasks the employee will need to perform and what experience and skills are required. The employer must also show that they will pay the employee the minimum salary specified by the government for migration purposes. They also have to accept certain obligations towards the employee including providing acceptable working conditions.

The overseas employee then applies for a visa to fill the nominated position. The employee must show that they possess the training, qualifications and experience which are necessary to fill the position. The employee will need to produce their qualifications and employment references and may be required to undergo a skills assessment.

You can sponsor overseas employees on a temporary term (from 3 months to 4 years) or for permanent residency. Although the requirements for a permanent visa are very similar, they are more stringent than for the temporary visa. For example for a permanent visa the applicant must be under 45 years this is not necessary if you apply for a temporary visa.

Regional Areas

Regional employers may seek exemption from the minimum skill or salary levels or other criteria if they are located in a low populated area. The requirements for employees are also less stringent for English language ability and skills if they apply for a low populated area.