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Direct Pathway to Permanent Residency – Subclass 186 Visa (Direct Entry Stream)

The Direct Entry Stream of the Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa offers a direct pathway to permanent residency in Australia for skilled workers. This comprehensive guide outlines the eligibility criteria, sponsorship requirements, costs, processing times and other important information.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a Subclass 186 visa via the Direct Entry Stream, you must meet the following key criteria:

  • Occupation on the Skilled Occupations List: Your profession must be listed on the specified Skilled Occupations List (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List – MLTSSL).
  • Work Experience: You must have a minimum of three years, work experience in your nominated occupation. This work experience needs to be post-qualification.
  • Skills Assessment: Obtain a positive skills assessment in your nominated occupation from the relevant assessing authority The skills assessment must be valid at the time of your application and typically remains valid for three years from the issue date.
  • Age Requirement: You must be under 45 years of age unless you qualify for an exemption.
  • Registration or Licensing (if applicable): If your occupation requires registration, licensing, or membership in a professional group, you must hold the necessary credentials in the state where the nominated position is located.
  • English Language Proficiency: Demonstrate competent English skills, which can be achieved through an IELTS test score of at least 6 in each component or an equivalent test.
  • Nomination by an Australian Sponsor: You must be nominated by an eligible sponsor in Australia.
  • Applying from Within Australia
    • If you are currently in Australia, you may apply for the Subclass 186 Direct Entry Stream visa if you hold one of the following visa types:
      • Substantive visa
      • Bridging visa A
      • Bridging visa B
      • Bridging visa C


The cost of a Subclass 186 Direct Entry Stream visa is AUD 4,045 for the main applicant. Additional charges apply for each family member applying with you.

Processing Time

The processing time for a Subclass 186 Direct Entry Stream visa is typically 10 – 14 months.

Duration of Stay

The Subclass 186 Direct Entry Stream visa grants permanent residency, allowing you to stay in Australia indefinitely.

Family Members

You can include the following family members in your application:

  • Partner/Spouse
  • Minor Child
  • Dependent Adult Child

All family members included in the application must meet health and character requirements, even if they do not intend to apply for the visa themselves.

Sponsorship Requirements:

For a successful visa application, your Australian sponsor must meet specific requirements:

  • Legal Operation: The sponsor’s business must be operating legally within Australia.
  • Clean Record: The sponsor’s business should not have any detrimental issues or cases associated with it.
  • Position Relevance: The position offered must be directly related to the sponsor’s business and not be associated with other unrelated business activities.
  • Genuine Need: Your employer must demonstrate a genuine need to hire you for the nominated position.
  • Full-time Position: The position must be full-time and ongoing for at least two years.
  • Salary Requirement: If your salary is less than AUD 250,000 per year, your employer must pay you at least the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR). In addition, the salary must not be less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which is currently $70,000 AUD.

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