RSMS 187 and ENS 186 visa processing times

186 processing times

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection (subsumed by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on the 20th December 2017) has flagged that it has changed its approach to the Subclass 187 Regional Skilled Migration Scheme and Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme visas processing times, in response to a number of factors in the current caseload. These changes will significantly affect 187 and 186 visa processing times for both lodged and future applications.

Factors which have resulted in the processing changes include:

  • the large number of current RSMS/ENS applications on hand
  • the particularly high number of lodgements prior to the July changes (DHA advises that more than 16,000 applications were lodged in June 2017 alone, which is equivalent to approximately four months of average application lodgements)
  • Increased levels of non-genuine applications or applications with integrity concerns which require a higher level of scrutiny and
  • incomplete visa applications.

DHA have indicated they will no longer process all applications in date-order rather taking a risk-focused approach which will prioritise applications it considers to be low risk. This approach is expected to mean that some applications will see improved processing times while other applications are likely to face increased waiting times, higher levels of scrutiny and an expectation of requests for further information and documentation.

The Department has not indicated what factors it considers are likely to indicate a higher risk level and therefore it is difficult to advise current and prospective clients on the processing timeframes for individual applications. The DHA website now publishes 186 and 187 visa processing timeframes for applications at the 75th and 90th percentile on their website. For further details refer to the Department’s ENS 186 page and RSMS 187 page.

DHA advises that applications have continued to be processed since the announcement of the abolition of the 457 visa program in April 2017, and continue to be processed, despite concerns raised by the profession that slowing 187 and 186 processing times indicate a potential halt to assessment of these visa types.