The skills occupation list of Australia

The skills occupation list of Australia is a list of occupations where Australia is actively recruiting talent from overseas. Migrants in an occupation on the list who also meet all the other immigration requirements stand a good chance of living and working in Australia.

Here we’ll cover the skills occupation list in detail by discussing:

  • The three skills lists including:
    • The visas under each list
    • The number of occupations on each list
  • Occupation ceilings.
  • Skills list changes
    • Changes coming into effect in November 2019
    • How skills list changes affect your application.
skills occupation list australia

Three Australian skills lists

Australia has three skills lists, each with a number of visas under it. These visas enable migrants to work in the country with or without a job offer, or with state or territory nomination. Depending on the visa, the stay in Australia may be temporary or permanent. Temporary visas usually have a route to permanent residency.

The three skills lists are:

  1. Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  2. Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  3. Regional Occupation List (ROL)

The Skills Lists and Their Visas

Let’s discuss each skills list and its associated visas:

The MLTSSL is relevant to migrants who apply for visas under the Skilled Migrant Category. General skilled migration is one of the most common ways for migrants to move to Australia.

The four Skilled Migrant visas that fall under the MLTSSL are the following:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189): This visa does not require sponsorship, i.e. a job or sponsorship. Furthermore, the Skilled Independent visa is a points-based visa and you’ll need a score of at least 65 to be eligible for a visa application.
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190): You must have state or territory nomination to apply for a subclass 190 visa. You don’t necessarily have to have a job offer, but you must score at least 65 points in order to submit a visa application.
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489): To be eligible for a subclass 489 visa, you must obtain sponsorship from an eligible relative or nomination from a state or territory government. Just like with the 189 and 190 visas, you must achieve a score of at least 65 in your points assessment.
  • Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485): This visa allows students who have studied in Australia for two years to apply for temporary permission to stay in Australia. The subclass 485 visa is not points based.

The STSOL is relevant to persons who have state or territory nomination to apply for one of two visas:

  • Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190): This points-based visa offers successful applicants permanent residency. You must be under the age of 45 to be eligible.
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489): This is a 4-year provisional visa that can lead to permanent residency. The subclass 489 visa is points based and you must also be under the age of 45 to apply.

The ROL is offers both temporary and permanent residency options and it’s relevant to people who are nominated by either a state or territory, or an employer.

There is only one visa under the ROL:

  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489): You must obtain sponsorship from an eligible relative or nomination from a state or territory government for a subclass 489 visa. This is a points-based visa and could lead to permanent residency for eligible candidates.

The Skills Lists and Their Occupations

It’s not just visas that are associated with each skills list. There are also a list of occupations under each skills list.

To work in an occupation, you must meet the requirements as captured in the occupation's ANZSCO code (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations). This code provides the required skill level of the job as well as the qualifications and/or experience needed to work in the occupation, breaking the occupation down in groups.

Here is a summary of the occupations under each skills list:

There are 212 occupations on the MLTSSL, which include the following:

The STSOL contains 215 occupations open for state or territory nomination. These occupations include:

  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • ICT Project Manager
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Industrial Designer
  • Geologist
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Primary School Teacher
  • Education Manager
  • Dental Specialist

With only 77 occupations, the ROL contains the least number of jobs of all the skills occupations lists. Some of these 77 occupations are the following:

  • Mixed Crop Farmer
  • Dairy Cattle Farmer
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Regional Education Manager
  • Human Resourse Adviser
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Vocational Education Teacher
  • Environmental Health Officer

Occupation ceilings

In certain cases, Immigration Australia apply an occupation ceiling to invitations issued under the Skilled Independent and Skilled Regional (Provisional) visas. This means there is a limit on how many Expressions of Interest (EOIs) can be selected for skilled migration from an occupation group during a program year.


What is an Expression of Interest?

You show your interest in applying for a skilled migrant visa through an Expression of Interest (EOI). It is basically a series of questions asking you about your skills. Your answers are used to calculate your ability to meet the points test for certain visas. Should you score enough points, you’ll then be able to submit your Expression of Interest through SkillSelect.

Once the occupation ceiling is reached for an occupation group, Immigration Australia won’t issue any further invitations for that particular group until the next program year. Immigration Australia will instead allocate invitations to migrants in other occupation groups.

You can view the occupation ceilings for the 2018/2019 program year here.

Skills occupation list changes coming in November 2019

The Department of Home Affairs regularly makes changes to the skills occupation list of Australia. Most often occupations that are removed from lists, or moved from one list to another. But a big change that’s coming in November is the replacement of the subclass 489 visa by the new Skilled Worker Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491).

For the subclass 491 visa you’ll still have to:

  • Obtain nomination from a state or territory government or an eligible family member.
  • Be in an occupation on the relevant skills occupation list of Australia.
  • Meet the overall requirements:
    • Score at least 65 points in your assessment.
    • Have competent English.
    • Meet Australia’s character and health requirements.

The biggest change however is that you’ll have to live and work in regional Australia for three years. Previously this was two years on the subclass 489 visa. The definition of ‘regional Australia’ is also changing in November to include all areas of Australia except certain metropolitan areas.

How does it affect you if occupations are removed from skills lists?

As mentioned, occupations are sometimes removed altogether from the skills occupation list of Australia. This mainly happens because Australia’s labour market needs have changed. Most likely there are no longer talent gaps to fill in the removed occupation.

When this happens, you won’t be adversely affected if your nomination or visa application is already underway or submitted. If you already hold a skilled visa, you will not be impacted unless there are changes in your circumstances which require you to lodge a new nomination application. This impact may occur if you’re changing your occupation or employer, and your occupation is no longer on a skills occupation list for Australia.

Find out if your occupation is on the skills occupation list of Australia and if you qualify for skilled immigration. Book your free consultation now!

Find out if your occupation is on a skills shortage list!

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