186 visa skill requirements


Skills Assessment as at time of visa application

The applicant must provide evidence that, at the time of their application, their skills had been assessed as being suitable for the occupation. A skills assessment undertaken after the visa application was made does not meet visa requirements.

A positive skills assessment for an occupation other than the 6-digit ANZSCO occupation code on the nomination does not meet legislative requirements to be accepted. For example, a positive skills assessment for the occupation of Fitter and Turner (ANZSCO 323212) will not satisfy criteria as a skills assessment for an application specifying the occupation of Metal Machinist (First Class) (ANZSCO 323214), although it is in the same core group 3232.

The skills assessment must clearly show that the applicant had their skills assessed as suitable by the relevant assessing authority no later than the date on which the visa application was made.

Skills assessments can be submitted after the visa application is made but the results of the assessment must have been obtained prior to date of visa application. If a skills assessment is not submitted with the application, officers should give the applicant an opportunity to submit the skills assessment (assuming the assessment was obtained before the visa application was made). Any correspondence should clearly indicate that a skills assessment dated after the date of application will not satisfy visa requirement.

If a positive skills assessment is submitted for an occupation that:

  • is not the 6-digit occupation on the application but
  • is within the same 4-digit unit group

in limited circumstances there may be an option under policy for the applicant. In this situation, the applicant may request confirmation from the assessing authority that they would otherwise meet a skills assessment for the nominated occupation even though they gained an assessment for another occupation within the same 4-digit unit group. The delegate should accept this as an alternative only if it is clear that a legitimate error has occurred in the processing of the application and the skills assessing authority is the same for both occupations.

For example, if:

  • the application is for the occupation of Registered Nurse (Paediatrics)(ANZSCO 254425) but
  • the skills assessment is for the occupation of Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health) (ANZSCO 254413)

and AHPRA is the assessing authority for both, the above policy may be applied. It is the applicant’s responsibility to correspond with the assessing authority in these cases.


Validity period for skills assessments

Some skills assessing authorities issue skills assessments specifying expiry dates. If a skills assessment specifying an expiry date is provided after the stipulated expiry date, the skills assessment will not meet the requirements of 186 visa.

Skills assessments that do not specify an expiry date are valid for 3 years from the date of the assessment. If more than 3 years has elapsed between the date the skills assessment was issued and the date on which the application was made, the assessment will not meet the requirements of 186 visa.

Must have been employed in the nominated occupation for 3 years

At the time of application the applicant must have been employed for at least 3 years in the occupation for which they have been nominated.

The applicant must have worked full-time for at least 3 years however the period of work does not have to be continuous, or be immediately before the visa application was made. In order for the work to qualify as full-time, the applicant should have worked for at least 35 hours per week.

Any period of employment during which an applicant changed careers (gained employment in another occupation), was unemployed, or took extended leave without pay should be excluded when calculating the period of employment.

Employment should be full time

ENS recognises that, in addition to full-time work, there now exists a range of variable employment arrangements. Citizens of numerous countries depend on multiple income earning strategies to make a living. In Australia, part-time work arrangements and variable working hours are increasingly common. This will impact on how work experience is calculated. If work experience is to be expressed in full-time terms, for part-time workers this can be calculated pro-rata. For example, if the requirement is for 3 years of relevant full-time work experience, if part-time work is at 50% of a full-time load, the applicant must be able to demonstrate they have worked in that occupation on a part-time basis for 6 years.