ENS Visa | Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa Australia

EMPLOYER NOMINATION SCHEME - Subclass 856 (Onshore) VISA & Subclass 121 (Offshore) VISA

About this Visa

Also known as the ENS, this is a permanent residence visa for highly-skilled workers requiring nomination by an employer. The application is dependent on the main applicant meeting eligibility criteria and the employer being an Australian business. There is a two stage process for the ENS visa subclass:

  1. Employer nominates a position
  2. Employee applies for this position

These stages can be applied for at the same time, or within six months of approval for the nominated position. In most instances, the usual applicants for the ENS visa are existing visa holders for Temporary Business - Long Stay (Subclass 457). The application is dependent on the sponsor, the position and the employee (main applicant) meeting eligibility criteria. Secondary applicants can be included in the application; but the employer must undertake the same obligations. The applicant can be either onshore (Subclass 856) or offshore (Subclass 121) when the application is lodged and likewise at the time of granting. If the applicant was onshore when the visa application was made, generally they have review rights; otherwise there are no review rights for the applicant. However, the employer has review rights irrelevant of whether the visa was lodged onshore or offshore.

Employer Eligibility

  1. The employer must be actively and lawfully operating a business in Australia
  2. The employer must demonstrate that they have a training record for local employees.
  3. The employer must demonstrate that it is a financially viable organisation capable of sustaining the employment of its current employees and any sponsored workers for the term of the visa. Basically, it must show its ability to meet the sponsorship obligations.
  4. The nominated position must be full time and available for three years or more, with the possibility of extension.
  5. The sponsor must be the direct employer (or related entity) of the nominated employee. They cannot be subcontracted out to another employer (See Labour Agreement)
  6. Employer must have complied with previous nomination and sponsorship obligations.
  7. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure the visa applicant has or can obtain the relevant registrations and licensing for performing the nominated occupation while in Australia.
  8. The nominated occupation must be on a specified list of ENSOL occupations. See Employer Nomination Skilled Occupation List (ENSOL).
  9. A minimum salary level (MSL) is required to be paid for the position.
  10. If the employer is in a regional area, look at the RSMS options. There are some concessions for positions in regional areas of Australia.

Employee Eligibility for the Nominated Skilled Position

  1. The main applicant must demonstrate they have the required skills (personal, employment experience, educational) for the nominated position.
  2. The main applicant must meet one of the following criteria:
    1. Have worked full time in the nominated occupation on a Subclass 418, 421, 422, 428, 444, 457 or 461 temporary residence visa for the last two years prior to application for ENS, with at least one year with the nominating employer; or 
    2. The nominated position is highly paid, being over $250,000 gross per annum; or
    3. Have their skills assessed as being suitable, by the relevant assessing authority, with at least three years full-time work experience in the nominated occupation immediately before visa lodgement.
  3. Must have an offer of employment from the employer.
  4. For the onshore visa, Subclass 856, the applicant must be have been on an existing substantive visa of a specified kind.
  5. Be under 45 years of age, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  6. The main applicant must have vocational level English, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Vocational English is a score of at least 5 in each of the 4 component of the IELTS test.
  7. Secondary applicants over 18 years of age, with less than functional English are required to pay the secondary visa application fee.
  8. Applicant must meet any mandatory licensing, registration or professional membership requirements.
  9. All applicants must meet health, character, public interest and special return criteria.
  10. The nominated appointment of employer must have been approved at the time of the decision.
  11. An Assurance of Support (AOS) may be requested by DIAC.


This is a permanent residence (PR) visa valid for five years. With this subclass there is unrestricted entry and departure for the validity period. After this, a resident return visa or citizenship if eligible, is required before expiry. Condition 8502 (may not enter Australia before another person specified on the visa) may be imposed on this visa if applying for offshore, Subclass 121.

Independent Migration


Employer Nomination


State/Territory Government Nomination

Not required.

Family/Relative Sponsorship

Not required.

Permanent Migration Pathway

This is a permanent residence (PR) visa. It is also currently the quickest processed PR visa under priority processing directions.

Employment Prospects

Contact Konnecting for assistance with migrant employment solutions. If you match the skills requirements of an Australian employer, we can also help you with visa options.

Provided by:
Fred Molloy, Registered Migration Agent (MARN: 0853698)
Konnecting – Australian Skilled Migration & Recruitment Consultants

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