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P Nguyen

Work experience requirement for 186 Direct Entry

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Hi all,

I'm planning to apply for 186 Direct Entry and have a concern regarding the requirement on work experience. Below are my background and questions - sorry in advanced for the long post! Your help will be much appreciated.

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I've been working professionally as a software engineer for 5.5 years. During the past 4 years I've been working for a Melbourne-based tech startup as a remote contractor (working remotely from Vietnam). Now my employer wants to sponsor for me to get the 186 visa Direct Entry, so that I can come to Australia and become a permanent resident.

However, there's one requirement of the 186 visa that concerns me: "...have at least 3 years relevant work experience". I'm concerned because many sources on the internet specifically mentions that those 3 years of experience need to be post-qualification, which means experience achieved after completing a degree. The problem is that although I've entered a university in my home country Vietnam, I didn't finish it and now have no tertiary degree. I'm afraid this means my 5.5 years of work experience will not be valid for fulfilling the visa requirement.

Please let me have two questions:

1) Is the "years of work experience" requirement of visas such as 186 Direct Entry (3 years), TSS (2 years), and 189 Points-tested (contribute to points) always strictly consider only the years of work performed after completing a tertiary degree? Is there any possibility that an exception can be made for my case, given that I've already worked for  my sponsoring company for 4 years in a very senior role?

2) In case there is no exception, I'll get a tertiary degree in Australia with the ultimate goal of becoming a permanent resident. Two paths that I have in mind are:

- 2 years studying a tertiary degree --> 2 years working under 485 visa --> Submit EOI for the 189 visa


- 2 years studying a tertiary degree --> 2 years working under 485 visa --> 1 year working under TSS visa --> Apply for 186 visa Direct Entry

For my case, do you think these paths are valid and are the most ideal routes to permanent residency? Are there better options for me?

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Thank you for reading this post. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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For the permanent visas you will also need a positive skills assessment from ACS - take a look at https://www.acs.org.au/msa/information-for-applicants.html to get started on whether you qualify. For TSS visas the rules are different.

You should consider sitting down with a registered migration agent to go through your options because your questions are detailed, the situation is not simple and you are unlikely to get meaningfully helpful advice from a forum on such specifics.


Paul Hand

Registered Migration Agent, MARN 1801974

SunCoast Migration Ltd

All comments are general in nature and do not constitute legal or migration advice. Comments may not be applicable or appropriate to your specific situation. 

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