The ENS Visa Program
The ENS visa program allows Australian businesses that are actively and lawfully operating in Australia to sponsor foreign skilled workers for permanent residence in order to fill genuine positions in their business.
The subclass 186 visa has three streams, with each stream having its own specific requirements:
- Temporary Residence Transition Stream - for 457 visa holders who have worked for their employers for at least 2 years and are nominated for permanent residency with the same employer in the same occupation
- Direct Entry Stream - for persons who are not eligible for the Temporary Residence Transition stream or who are untested in the Australian labour market
- Agreement Stream - for persons who are being sponsored by an employer through a labour or regional migration agreement
The Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) Stream
An application for a subclass 186 visa under this stream comprises of a nomination by an approved standard business sponsor and a corresponding visa applicant by the nominated skilled worker.
The nomination application should identify the same position and occupation as were identified in the original 457 nomination application. If registration, licensing or membership of a professional body is mandatory for the occupation in the relevant State or Territory then at the time of visa application the applicant must hold or be entitled to hold that registration, licensing or membership.
Generally speaking, applicants under this stream require to be under 50 years old although there are some important exceptions to this requirement for researchers, scientists, academics, medical practitioners, 457 holders who have been employed on a 457 visa for 4 years and whose earnings have been at the Fair Work High Income Threshold and Ministers of Religion.
Do I need a skills assessment for the TRT stream?
Applicants under the TRT stream do not require a skills assessment as they are considered to have demonstrated their skills by working for their nominating employer for 2 years in the 3 years immediately before applying.
Are there are any English language requirements for the TRT stream?
Applicants must demonstrate that they have at least 'vocational' English, meaning a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four categories of an approved English language examination. There are exceptions to this requirement for passport holders of the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland as well as for Ministers of Religion, those who earn at least an equivalent to the current top ATO individual income tax rate or those who completed at least 5 years of study in a secondary or higher education institute where the language of instruction was English.
The Direct Entry Stream
Applicants for this stream must be under 50 years of age although there are also exceptions to this requirement for researchers, scientists, academics, medical practitioners and subclass 444 and 461 holders who have been working for their employers for 2 years in the 3 years before applying.
What are the English language requirements for the Direct Entry stream?
At the time of application the applicant must have 'competent' English, meaning they must have achieved a score of at least 6 in each of the four bands of an IELTS test. There are exceptions to this requirement for passport holders of the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland and for Ministers of Religion and those who earn at least the equivalent to the current ATO top individual income tax rate ( although these applicants are still required to be assessed for 'functional English').
Do I need a skills assessment for the Direct Entry stream?
Applicants under this stream are required to lodge a positive skills assessment for their nominated occupation at the time of application (there are some exceptions to this requirement). Skills assessments are normally valid for a period of 3 years unless there is an expiry date on the assessment which indicates otherwise.
Is there a skilled work experience requirement for the Direct Entry stream?
At the time of application the applicant must have worked full-time for at least 3 years in their nominated occupation. Full-time work is defined as at least 35 hours per week. part-time work can be considered on a pro-rata basis, for example if you worked 17.5 hours per week then you would require to establish that you worked in your nominated occupation for 6 years.
Exceptions to this requirement are available for scientists, researchers, academics, persons whose earnings are equivalent to the current ATO top individual income tax rate, subclass 444 or 461 holders, or Ministers of Religion.