Employer Nominated Workers’ Visa

The Australian employers can sponsor overseas employees with a permanent visa as long as they are operating the business lawfully and actively. The employer sponsored program aims to allow Australian employers to satisfy the skill shortages by recruiting overseas skilled workers

The two employer-sponsored visa categories are:

• the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186

• the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187

While ENS can assist Australian businesses anywhere in Australia to fill vacancies in their business, RSMS can only be used by employers in regional or low population areas in Australia.  Concessional criteria and a wider range of permissible occupations for nomination apply for RSMS applications.



The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) allows employers anywhere in Australia to nominate skilled people for permanent visas.    There is only one subclass, subclass 186, which can be applied for when the visa applicant is in Australia or overseas.  The ENS process has two steps. First, the employer must apply to the Department for approval of a nominated position.  Second, the nominated employee must make a separate application for a visa.

There are three nomination streams available:

1. the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream

2. the Direct Entry stream

3. the Labour Agreement (‘Agreement’) stream

Different nomination criteria apply, depending on whether the nominee will be applying under the TRT stream, or under the DE stream.  TRT stream can be available to those who have held a 457 visa for 2 years in the past 3 years under the nominator. This visa stream is the most favourable one for the visa applicants. If you do not have work experience in Australia, you are required to meet the criteria of the Direct Entry stream in most cases. The applicants in the Direct Entry stream are required to be under the age of 50 and have IELTS 6.0 on each band at time of visa application.


The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) helps Australian emp­loyers in regional and low population growth areas to recruit skilled foreign workers to fill permanent vacancies that are unable to be filled from the local labour market.  RSMS applications are given highest priority processing pursuant to Direction No 50, issued under section 499 of the Act

Any employer can participate in the scheme as long as they are actively and lawfully operating in regional Australia, meet certain other requirements and the position being filled is in an area covered under the RSMS.

‘Regional Australia’ is defined by postcode in a Gazette Notice. All areas of Australia are currently covered by the RSMS except Sydney, Wollon­gong, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Like ENS, RSMS program also consists of 3 different categories of pathways: the Temporary Residence Transition stream, the Direct Entry stream and Agreement stream. This program is suitable to those whose occupation is not contained in the occupation list.