Skilled Occupation Lists to Change; May Affect Eligibility for Certain Visas

The Australian Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has released a bulletin identifying the list of occupations that are under consideration for a change in status on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Regional Occupation List (ROL), which are lists used to determine eligibility for Australia’s skilled visa programs.

Highlights of possible changes set out in the bulletin include:

Move of Geologist category : The Geologist category would move from the STSOL to the ROL – a recognition by the Department that the shortages in industries such as resources and oil and gas, which are primarily located in regional areas, are facing a real shortage of skilled labour in this category.

Move of Sales and Marketing Manager categories : The Sales and Marketing Manager categories would move from the STSOL to the MLTSSL, with a salary requirement of at least AUD 120,000 per year. This will improve the ability to attract and retain highly specialized Sales and Marketing Managers.

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Move of data-related categories: New and emerging occupations such as Blockchain Manager and Data Scientists, by identifying the appropriate Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) occupations (Information and Communications Technology Project Manager and Information and Organization Professionals respectively) to move to the MLTSSL with a salary requirement of at least AUD 90,000.

Move of care categories : Aged or Disabled Carer, Nursing Support Worker and Personal Care Assistant, previously off-list, to be added to the STSOL in recognition of the growing need for labour in the aged care sector.

Following the government’s review of the proposed changes, the addition, removal or movement of occupations between these lists impacts employers’ ability to utilize the employer-based temporary and permanent visa programs.

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Specifically as it relates to the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa program, occupations that are moved to the STSOL are subject to more restrictive grant periods, and importantly, do not provide visa holders with a pathway to permanent residency.

The publication of the bulletin is the most recent step in the review of the Skilled Migration Occupation lists that was announced in September 2019.

The Department will review the Skilled Migration Occupation Lists to ensure they are responsive to the skills needs across Australia. A formal submission period for commentary on the lists will open February 2020.

The new Skilled Migration Occupation Lists are expected to be released in March 2020.

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