Australia offers various work visa routes for skilled professionals seeking to immigrate either temporarily or permanently from abroad. Among the main options are subclass 186 for direct employer-sponsored transfers, subclass 189 for independent workers able to pass a points test, and subclass 190 requiring state or territory sponsorship which we all covered previously.
While all three visa subclasses provide pathways to work legally in Australia long-term for migrants with in-demand qualifications, there are some pivotal differences between these categories when it comes to eligibility requirements, conditions imposed, and processing procedures.
The 186 visa has a temporary 2-4 year validity before applicants can transition to permanent residency, provided they remain with the original sponsoring employer. The 189 visa offers direct permanent residency without such obligations and the 190 visa fast tracks permanent residency in exchange for residing in the particular sponsoring state for two years after arrival.
Understanding these key differences between Australia’s 186, 189 and 190 skilled visa subclasses allows migrants to assess which alternative aligns best to their career goals, language ability, work experience and future life plans in Australia. This article will explore the criteria and conditions around each visa category in depth, enabling applicants to make an informed decision on their preferred route forward.
Visa 186 Breakdown
The Subclass 186 Visa is an employer-sponsored visa for skilled workers who have secured a formal job offer from an Australian company unable to find a local worker to fill the position.
Employer Sponsorship: The 186 visa applicant must be nominated by an Australian employer who has undertaken extensive recruitment efforts and labor market testing before resorting to foreign talent.
Temporary 2-4 Year Validity: The 186 visa grants foreign workers initial entry and work rights for 2 years. This can be extended up to 4 years without transitioning to permanent residency if additional time is required.
Pathway to Permanent Residency: 186 visa holders can apply for permanent resident status under the “Direct Entry” stream after working for their sponsor for at least 3 years, given excellent English skills.
Must Remain with Sponsor: To maintain valid 186 visa status, the migrant employee MUST continue working for the original sponsoring employer for the duration of their stay in Australia under the temporary visa. Quitting or getting fired could lead to visa cancellation and departure.
So in summary, the Subclass 186 employer-sponsored visa enables Australian companies to address local skill shortages with foreign talent able to fill vacant roles, with extensive obligations and restrictions imposed on the visa holder tied to that sponsoring employer.
Visa 189 Breakdown
The Subclass 189 visa is a points-tested permanent residency visa designed for highly skilled foreign professionals who do not require employer sponsorship. Some key details include:
Points-Based Eligibility: The 189 visa uses a comprehensive ranking system that awards points for factors like English ability, work experience, age, qualifications and skillset demand. There is no job offer required.
No Sponsorship: Applicants qualify for this visa independently purely based on their scores earned across these key categories according to Australian immigration point tables.
Permanent Residency: Those who pass the minimum eligibility threshold of 65 points are granted full permanent resident status on arrival without initially being tied to one sponsor or geographic area.
Live/Work Flexibility: 189 visa holders can live, study and build their careers anywhere across Australia right from arrival without waiting periods, location limitations or sponsor approval.
Highly Competitive: Given generous provisions allowing quick access to citizenship and family reunion options, the 189 is extremely competitive with most applicants requiring 85+ points that maximize English, experience and credentials.
In summary, the 189 Skilled Independent visa expedites permanent residency for talent meeting or exceeding thorough points benchmarks across human capital factors without mandating employer sponsorship.
Visa 190 Breakdown
The Subclass 190 visa provides a state or territory-sponsored pathway to permanent residency for skilled workers in high demand within regional Australian jurisdictions.
State/Territory Sponsorship: Applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest and be nominated by a specific state or territory government under their unique application criteria and target occupation lists.
Expedited Processing: In exchange for priority visa processing benefits, 190 visa holders are obligated to live and work within their sponsoring region for at least 2 years after arrival in Australia.
Points-Based Factors: Qualifying applications are assessed based on factors like English ability, skilled work experience, age and education level—similar to the 189 visa competitive points tables.
Post-Obligation Flexibility: After satisfying 2 year sponsor commitments, 190 visa holders can live and pursue employment opportunities anywhere across Australia long term.
In essence, the 190 visa fast tracks permanent residency for migrants whose skills specifically address demonstrated state/territory labor market needs—contingent on remaining exclusively in said region initially before enjoying full domestic flexibility.
Comparison table of Australian visas 186, 189, and 190
The differences between the visa subclasses are outlined in the table below to make it easier to consume.
|Subclass 186 Visa
|Subclass 189 Visa
|Subclass 190 Visa
|Type of Visa
|2-4 years temporary before PR eligibility
|Direct permanent residency
|Direct permanent residency
|Key Eligibility Requirements
|– Employer sponsorship
– At least 3 years relevant work experience
– Meet 65 point threshold
|– No sponsorship
– Normally 3-5 years work experience
– Meet 65+ point threshold
|– State or territory nomination
– 1-3 years work experience
– Meet 65 point threshold
|English Test and Passing Score
|IELTS score of 6.0
|IELTS score of 7.0
|IELTS score of 6.0
|Only occupations on relevant skills list
|Broader range of occupations
|State-specific occupation lists
|Annual Application Cap
|Limited places per year
|Visa Application Cost
|Average Processing Time
In recap, while the 186, 189 and 190 visas all offer pathways for skilled worker migration to Australia, there are some pivotal distinctions when weighing up the best option:
- The 186 visa ties applicants to a specific employer sponsor for up to 4 years before permanent residency eligibility. The 189 and 190 do not impose such restrictions.
- The 189 visa grants direct permanent residency whereas the 190 expedites PR but requires staying in a particular sponsoring state for 2 years initially.
- English language requirements, work experience demands and overall eligibility point thresholds also vary between categories.
With these key differences in mind, skilled migrants can determine which visa route best aligns to their qualifications, career aspirations, language abilities and lifestyle goals in Australia by leveraging online self-assessment tools.
Those open to employer-tied temporary stays may gain quickest entry through 186 visas. Independently skilled applicants have the most flexibility via 189 visas if able to accrue enough points and migrants willing to commit to a single state or territory for two years can tap into 190 visa priority benefits.
No matter your situation, always verify updated eligibility criteria and processing procedures through official government immigration websites as visa rules frequently evolve. With sound information and these summarized 186 vs 189 vs 190 visa differentiators, skilled foreign nationals can make informed choices when navigating pathways forward.
The next step is to thoroughly assess individual background against current visa thresholds and target the best category improving permanent residency prospects down under!