Full Time Employment


The direct entry ENS visa requires (unless exempted) that an applicant have full time work experience at the time of application (in contrast to the skilled visa regime where ‘employed’ is regarded as 20 hours per week), see cl 186.234:


(b)      the applicant has been employed in the occupation for at least 3 years on a full-time basis and at the level of skill required for the occupation.

Full time is regarded as at least 35 hours per week although the writer argues that 32 would still meet the criteria.

Here is what the PAM says:

At the time of application the applicant must have been employed for at least 3 years in the occupation for which they have been nominated.

The applicant must have worked full-time for at least three years however the period of work does not have to be continuous, or be immediately before the visa application was made. In order for the work to qualify as full-time, the applicant should have worked for at least 35 hours per week.

Any period of employment where an applicant changed careers (gained employment in another occupation), was unemployed, or took extended leave without pay should be excluded when calculating the period of employment.

The information provided by the applicant in their visa application and supporting documents will generally be sufficient to enable delegates to decide whether the applicant has worked full-time for at least three years. If required, delegates should seek clarification or additional documentation from the applicant before deciding whether the requirements of 186.234(2)(b) have been satisfied.

Employment in the nominated occupation

The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the tasks in the position that they claim towards meeting the 3 year employment requirement are the same as or closely related to the tasks of the nominated position. The tasks must have been performed to the same level of complexity and with at least the same level of responsibility. The focus should be on tasks of the occupation rather than the title.

Employment at the relevant skill level

The applicant must have been employed and actively performing the duties of the nominated occupation for a period of at least three years after obtaining any qualifications that would allow them to work without restriction in the occupation. They must have been fully skilled to perform the duties specified for the occupation. Any periods of work as an apprentice, trainee, assistant or other developmental role for the occupation do not count towards the three year full-time work requirement.

Note: If the applicant is a medical practitioner, see section 43.2 Registration for medical practitioners Medical practitioners may be considered to have been working without restriction if they have been working and are being nominated to work under specific medical registration that requires them to be supervised at a minimal level.

Employment should be full time

ENS recognises that, in addition to full-time work, there now exists a range of variable employment arrangements. Citizens of numerous countries depend on multiple income earning strategies to make a living. In Australia, part-time work arrangements and variable working hours are increasingly common. This will impact on how work experience is calculated. If work experience is to be expressed in full-time terms, for part-time workers this can be calculated pro-rata. For example, if the requirement is for 3 years of relevant full-time work experience, if part-time work is at 50% of a full-time load, the applicant must be able to demonstrate they have worked in that occupation on a part-time basis for 6 years.

Work experience can be obtained in or outside Australia

The work experience requirement can be satisfied by any combination of overseas and Australian employment.

If a delegate believes that claims of overseas employment experience need to be tested, they may refer relevant work references to the appropriate overseas post for verification, under established case referral procedures.


To verify that the visa applicant had in fact been employed throughout the 3 year period officers should request PAYG payment summaries for the full 3 year period for the visa applicant.