The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) enables skilled applicants to apply for a Permanent Residence Visa nominated by their employer and is the foundation of any international assignment and mobility program.
There are two distinct stages to a permanent residence application pursuant to the Employer Nomination Scheme.
First, the employer lodges an Employer Nomination Application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) nominating your position to be an approved appointment.
Second, the employee lodges a Permanent Residence Visa Application to DIBP demonstrating you have the skills, qualifications and experience required to fill the nominated position.
While these two applications are separate, nonetheless they are inextricably bound up with each other, and usually lodged with DIBP contemporaneously.
1. Employer Nomination Application
To be eligible the nominating employer must demonstrate it:
- operates a genuine business located in Australia;
- offers a permanent full-time job (of at least 2 years duration and not subject to any express exclusion of the possibility of renewal) within a highly skilled occupation;
- offers Australian wages and conditions satisfying market salary requirements;
- is committed to training Australian workers to meet long-term needs satisfying Training Benchmarks.
Obtaining approval for the “approved appointment” from DIBP requires detailed information regarding the employer, including but not in all cases limited to:
- company structure chart showing which positions are filled by persons who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents;
- details of the nature of the company's business listing its main activities, a copy of the company's financial or annual report, and publicity material;
- the date the company commenced business operations in Australia;
- details of affiliated businesses overseas;
- position description for the nominated position showing its responsibilities and main duties, the level of formal training or equivalent experience required to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position, and, the level of additional post-training employment experience required;
- details of the position's annual salary and any work-related benefits relevant to the position;
- details of the number of people employed and the numbers working in the same occupation as the nominated position;
- details of the number of graduate trainees recruited in the current and previous calendar years, the total number of new graduate trainees currently employed, and the planned intake of new graduates for the next year;
- details of training strategy, listing its aims and how they are achieved (including involvement in government or industry training schemes);
- details of how the employer plans to overcome the shortage of available skills related to the nominated position;
- documentary evidence demonstrating satisfaction of Training Benchmarks.
The Employer Nomination Application and the Visa Application are both lodged and processed in Australia at DIAC irrespective of whether the visa applicant is onshore or offshore.
2. Permanent Residence Visa Application
The Employer Nomination Scheme involves much more intensive preparation than a temporary work visa application and therefore a longer lead time both in preparation and, usually though not always, in processing of a visa application. Where the visa applicant is in Australia and holds a relevant temporary work visa, the permanent visa application will be lodged and decided, and the permanent visa issued, all whilst the applicant remains in Australia.
A non-exhaustive summary of some typical documents and requirements for visa applicants is as follows:
- Evidence of vocational English language ability for the main visa applicant. An IELTS test may be requested;
- Evidence of functional English language ability for all secondary visa applicants aged 18 years and over. An IELTS test may be requested;
- Certified or notarised copy of qualifications, awards and certificates;
- Certified or notarised copy of marriage certificate (if applicable), and if divorced or separated from a partner, documentation may be required to evidence this;
- Certified or notarised copy of unabridged birth certificates; unabridged birth certificates show the full particulars of the parents of a person, not merely the person's name and date and place of birth;
- Health examination results. These examinations are much more intensive than for temporary residence. Physical examinations, x-rays and blood tests are usually required. (Prescribed processes and time frames apply – do not proceed without advice);
- Police clearance certificates from each country in which the applicant has lived during the past ten years, where stay in the country was for 12 or more months cumulatively. Police clearances can take time to procure, in some cases many months. Military discharge certificates will be required for any applicant who has served in the military or para-military services of any country. (Prescribed processes and time frames apply – do not proceed without advice);
- Employer Nomination approval from DIBP regarding the nominated position;
- Other supporting documents may be required, e.g. proof of de facto spouse relationship; custody documents in respect of children (DIBP need to be satisfied about custody and guardianship of biological or adopted children and there are no legal impediments to them migrating and travelling out of their country of residence); previous employment references;
- Curriculum vitae must be current at the time of lodgement of the permanent residence visa application.
The above list is not conclusive, furthermore, no two applicants have the same factual situation and therefore no two visa applications are the same.
Permanent Residence Visa applicants need to be less than 50 years of age and satisfy one of the following eligibility criteria
1. The applicant’s skills are positively assessed by the Relevant Australian Assessing Authority and the applicant has at least 3 years post qualification employment experience in the nominated occupation (Direct Entry Stream); or,
2. The applicant has been employed by the nominating employer in the nominated occupation for at least the 2 years in the period of 3 years immediately before the nominator made the application as a Subclass 457 visa holder (Temporary Residence Transition Stream).
Applications lodged under the Direct Entry Stream need to be lodged nominating an occupation listed on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL).
Applications lodged under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream need to be lodged nominating an occupation listed in the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) with the same 4 digit Occupation Unit Group as the occupation undertaken by the Subclass 457 Visa holder.
Exemptions may apply for Age, Skills and English Language proficiency and depend on the nominated occupation, salary and previous employment experience.
Preparation, lodgement and processing
Preparation of the Employer Nomination and Permanent Residence Visa applications may take up to a month including health and character checking. DIAC may take up to 6 months to process the applications, however, Employer Nomination and associated Permanent Residence Visa applications currently receive processing priority and decision ready applications may be processed within one month.
We recommend a professional consultation to discuss the abovementioned information and to review your eligibility.
A professional consultation will enable us to explain the process comprehensively, appropriate options and strategies, timelines and costs and your prospects of success.
Please refer to consultation page.
"I have known Philip Summerbell since 2006 when he first advised me for visa information. Since then he has assisted me to obtain two working visas (I am a UK citizen). I can only speak highly of Philip and the information and knowledge he has of the Australian immigration system. I would highly recommend him to anyone venturing into these unknown waters and wish him well for his future endeavours. I will certainly be working with him at the next stage towards my naturalisation process."
Robin Ellwood - 2 May 2010
community worker now living in Melbourne and successfully building his career in Australia.