How to Immigrate to Australia: What You Need to Know


Australia has long been a popular destination for individuals seeking a new life abroad. With its vibrant cities, diverse landscapes, and high standard of living, it’s no wonder that many people aspire to immigrate to Australia. However, the immigration process can be complex and overwhelming without proper guidance. In this article, we will walk you through the essential information you need to know about immigrating to Australia, including the highly sought-after 186 visa.

Understanding the Australian Immigration System

Australia offers a range of visa options for individuals wishing to migrate to the country. The Department of Home Affairs manages the immigration process, and it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the different visa categories before applying. Here are some of the primary visa pathways:

  • Skilled visas: These are for individuals with recognized qualifications and skills that are in demand in Australia.
  • Family visas: These are for individuals who have family members in Australia who are willing to sponsor them.
  • Business and investment visas: These are for individuals who wish to invest in or establish a business in Australia.
  • Student visas: These are for international students who want to pursue their studies in Australia.

The 186 Visa: Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)

The 186 visa, also known as the Employer Nomination Scheme, is a popular pathway for skilled workers to obtain permanent residency in Australia. This visa requires the sponsorship of an Australian employer and consists of three streams:

  • Temporary Residence Transition stream: For individuals who have held a 457 or 482 visa for at least three years and have an employer willing to offer them a permanent position.
  • Direct Entry stream: For individuals who have never, or only briefly, worked in Australia or have not held a 457 or 482 visa.
  • Agreement stream: For individuals sponsored by an employer through a labor agreement.

Key Requirements for the 186 Visa

To be eligible for the 186 visa, applicants must meet certain requirements, including but not limited to:

  • Having a relevant occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL).
  • Meeting the skills and qualifications criteria for the nominated occupation.
  • Demonstrating a suitable level of English language proficiency.
  • Undergoing a skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority.
  • Being under the age of 45 at the time of application.

The Application Process

Applying for the 186 visa involves several steps, which can vary depending on the stream you are applying under. Here is a general outline of the process:

  • Step 1: Employer nomination: The employer must lodge a nomination application to sponsor the employee for permanent residency.
  • Step 2: Skills assessment: The employee must undergo a skills assessment by the relevant assessing authority for their nominated occupation.
  • Step 3: Lodging the visa application: The employee must submit their visa application along with supporting documents, including proof of English language proficiency, qualifications, and employment history.
  • Step 4: Health and character requirements: All applicants must meet certain health and character requirements, which may involve medical examinations and police checks.
  • Step 5: Visa decision: Once the application is processed, the Department of Home Affairs will make a decision on the visa.

Benefits of the 186 Visa

Obtaining the 186 visa comes with several benefits, including:

  • Permanent residency: The 186 visa provides a pathway to permanent residency in Australia.
  • Work and study rights: Visa holders have the right to work and study in Australia without restrictions.
  • Access to healthcare: Visa holders can access Australia’s excellent healthcare system, Medicare.
  • Social security benefits: Visa holders may be eligible for social security benefits, subject to meeting specific criteria.
  • Sponsor family members
  • Sponsor family members: Once granted the 186 visa, you can sponsor eligible family members to join you in Australia.
  • Pathway to citizenship: After holding the 186 visa for a specified period, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship, which provides additional benefits and rights.

Points to Consider

While the 186 visa offers an excellent opportunity to immigrate to Australia, there are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Occupation demand: It’s crucial to choose an occupation that is in demand in Australia to increase your chances of success.
  • English language proficiency: Demonstrating a suitable level of English language proficiency is essential for visa approval. Taking language tests like IELTS or PTE can help assess your language skills.
  • Skills assessment: Each occupation has a specific skills assessment requirement, and it’s important to ensure you meet the necessary criteria.
  • Age restrictions: The 186 visa has an age limit of 45 years, meaning you must apply before turning 45 to be eligible.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Navigating the Australian immigration process, including the 186 visa application, can be complex and time-consuming. Seeking professional assistance from a registered migration agent or immigration lawyer can significantly increase your chances of a successful application. These experts can provide guidance, assist with document preparation, and ensure compliance with all requirements.

Other Visa Options

If the 186 visa doesn’t suit your circumstances or requirements, there are alternative pathways to consider, such as:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): This visa allows skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer or family member to live and work in Australia permanently.
  • State and Territory Nomination: Many Australian states and territories offer nomination programs that provide additional points and assistance to skilled workers interested in living and working in a specific region.


Immigrating to Australia is an exciting prospect, and understanding the immigration process is essential to increase your chances of success. The 186 visa, or Employer Nomination Scheme, offers a valuable pathway to permanent residency for skilled workers. By familiarizing yourself with the requirements, seeking professional assistance when needed, and exploring alternative visa options, you can embark on your journey to Australia with confidence. Remember, thorough preparation and adherence to the visa guidelines will greatly contribute to a smooth immigration process. Good luck on your Australian immigration journey!