Employer-Sponsored Permanent Residency Pathways: A quick overview

Since 2017 skilled migrants seeking work in Australia with a view to permanent residency have been able to apply for a number of different employer sponsored visas.

Currently one of the most common pathways used to achieve Australian permanent residency is via the Temporary Skill Shortage subclass visa 482 and the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the permanent Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa which (until now) had allowed holders of subclass 482 visas in the Medium-term stream to apply for permanent residency through their employer. Short-term stream subclass 482 visa holders had not previously been eligible to apply for permanent residency, unless transitional provisions relating to the former subclass 457 visa apply.

Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482 visa – background and overview of pathway for sponsoring employers and visa holders

The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa is the first visa stage in the two visa stage to employer-sponsored permanent residency. Like its predecessor the subclass 457 visa, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa scheme involves three stages on the path to permanent residency: Sponsorship, Nomination and Visa.

  1. Sponsorship: The sponsoring employer must first apply and be approved as a ‘Standard Business Sponsor’. 

To qualify as a standard business sponsor, the sponsoring employer will need to satisfy certain requirements under the Migration Act 1958, including that they:

  • are actively and lawfully operating (whether in or outside of Australia);
  • have no relevant adverse information against the sponsoring employer;
  • will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices;
  • agree to comply with sponsorship obligations throughout the life of the sponsorship agreement with the Department of Home Affairs.
  1. Nomination: The sponsoring employer must then nominate the available position in an occupation selected from the Skilled Occupation Lists, being either the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

The nomination application must satisfy prescribed criteria, including that:

  • there is a genuine need for the position to be filled within the sponsoring employer’s business;
  • the position offered is full-time and the terms of employment are no less favourable than those that would apply to an equivalent Australian worker;
  • the salary offered for the position is not less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and is made with consideration to the Annual Market Salary Rate;
  • labour market testing for the nominated position has been undertaken, unless International Trade Obligations or other exemptions apply;
  • a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund (the SAF levy, also known as the nomination training contribution charge) is paid to the Department of Home Affairs at the time the nomination application is lodged.
  1. Visa: The relevant nominated occupation will determine the stream of the visa the applicant applies for, either the Medium-term stream for MLTSSL occupations or the Short-term stream for STSOL occupations.

Visa applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy prescribed criteria, including that they:

  • possess the necessary skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the nominated position;
  • meet English language requirements, unless exempt;
  • in certain occupations, possess a positive skills assessment conducted by an appointed body, unless exempt;
  • hold, or will be able to meet, the registration or licensing requirements to work in their nominated occupation (if registration and licensing is required for them to work in their position in Australia);
  • have at least two years of relevant work experience in the nominated occupation;
  • meet health and character requirements.

Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive and other criteria may apply. Please consult CMN’s Immigration Law team for more details and to confirm your or your employee’s eligibility.

Employer Nomination Scheme subclass 186 visa Temporary Residence Transition stream – background and overview of pathway for sponsoring employers and visa holders

Prior to the announcement of the new pathway, typically only Medium-term stream TSS visa holders would be eligible to progress along the pathway to Australian permanent residency through the

The subclass 186 visa scheme consists of two stages: Nomination and Visa.

  1. Nomination: The subclass 186 Nomination criteria are similar to the criteria for the subclass 482 Sponsorship and Nomination outlined above and:
    • labour market testing is not mandatory although should still be conducted;
    • the subclass 482 visa holder is offered a contract in their nominated occupation of at least a further two years with their sponsoring employer;
    • the subclass 482 visa the holder holds is in the Medium-term stream, unless transitional provisions relating to the former subclass 457 visa apply;
    • the nominated occupation is to be on the MLTSSL, unless transitional provisions relating to the former subclass 457 visa apply.
  2. Visa: The subclass 186 Visa criteria are also similar to the criteria for the subclass 482 Visa outlined above and:
    1. the applicant for the subclass 186 visa meets the age requirement, that is, they are less than 45 years of age when lodging their subclass 186 visa application, unless exempt;
    2. a formal skills assessment is not required, but the applicant possesses the necessary skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the nominated position.

Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive and other criteria may apply. Please consult CMN’s Immigration Law team for more details and to confirm your or your employee’s eligibility.

For a confidential discussion about your visa options or any other immigration matter, please contact our team on 1300 123 529, or via email at visas@craddock.com.au.

Please note that this page states the law as at April 2022. Australian immigration law is complex and changes frequently, and the law in relation to visa pathways for Temporary Skill Shortage visa holders may have been changed since we prepared this page.