Subclass 186 visas are for skilled workers from outside Australia or skilled temporary residents who live and work in Australia. This visa is a permanent residence visa. Holders of 186 visas and their family members are allowed to live, study and work permanently in Australia, enrol in Medicare, access some social security benefits, apply for Australian citizenship, sponsor other people for permanent residence and travel in and out of Australia for five years.
There are three pathway options for a subclass 186 visa, known as ‘streams’. These are:
- Temporary Residence Transition stream. This is for applicants currently on a temporary 457 visa who have worked with their employer for 2 years, where the employer now wishes to offer them a permanent position.
- The Direct Entry stream is for people who have only briefly or never worked in Australia but who have an employer willing to sponsor them for permanent residence; and
- The Agreement stream. This is for people sponsored by an employer under a labour agreement or regional migration agreement.
Each stream has different criteria which must be satisfied for a visa application to be valid. However, there are general criteria that must be met regardless of which stream the application is under. For all streams, the applicant must:
- Be nominated by an approved Australian employer;
- Be less than 50 years of age when making the application;
- Have the required skills and qualifications; and
- Meet the English language requirements.
Warning for the applicant
It is important that applicants applying for a 457 visa with the intention of applying for a 186 visa through the Temporary Residence Transition stream down the track understand the criteria for both visas from the beginning of their journey. There are different criteria for both visas. For example, it is not necessary that applicants for a 457 visa meet IELTS but to qualify for a 186 visa some applicants need vocational English. It is extremely disappointing for people if they find out after being on a 457 visa that they do not meet the criteria for a 186 visa. This is something that people need to consider prior to applying for a 457 visa.
Warning for the employer
As a sponsor, the employer has a number of responsibilities and obligations regarding the person they are sponsoring for a 186 visa. It is important that sponsors are familiar with their obligations and responsibilities before they sponsor an employee.
How we can help with Subclass 186 visa
Our Migration team can assist both employers and employees. We urge people planning on utilising the Temporary Residence Transition stream to seek migration advice about the processes and criteria early. If you have a query or are interested in more information, please contact our Migration team.