A new legislative instrument (IMMI 16/059) determining which occupations are eligible for certain skilled and employer-sponsored migration to Australia has been released by the Federal government; the new instrument takes effect from 1 July 2016.

Schedule 1 of the instrument (known as the Skilled Occupation List or SOL) applies to ‘invitees’ and primary applicants of the following visa categories:

  • Subclass 189 Skilled – Independent
  • Subclass 489 Skilled – Regional (Provisional)
  • Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate

Schedules 1 and 2 of the instrument together form the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) which applies to the following visa categories:

  • Subclass 457 Temporary Work
  • Subclass 190 Skilled – Nominated
  • Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (Direct Entry stream),
  • Subclass 402 Training and Research (Occupational Trainee stream)

Whilst the broader CSOL remains effectively unchanged, the SOL itself has undergone some notable changes.

“Winners” under the changes (i.e. occupations which have been added to new SOL) are:

  • Orthotists or Prosthetists [251912] VETASSESS
  • Audiologists [252711] VETASSESS

Accountants had also been tipped by some to be removed from the SOL, but remain on the list for the time being.

“Losers” (i.e. occupations which have been removed from the new SOL) are:

  • Mining Engineers [233611] EA
  • Petroleum Engineers [233612] EA
  • Metallurgists [234912] VETASSESS
  • Environmental Health Officers [251311] VETASSESS
  • Occupational Health & Safety Advisers [251312] VETASSESS
  • Dental Hygienists [411211] VETASSESS
  • Dental Prosthetists [411212] TRA
  • Dental Technicians [411213] TRA
  • Dental Therapists [411214] VETASSESS

Would-be applicants for Skilled Independent (189) and Skilled Regional (489) visas hoping to receive an invitation from the Minister before the changes take effect must first obtain a positive skills assessment from the relevant skill assessing authority. Prospective applicants for a Temporary Graduate (485) visa merely need to have applied for the skills assessment prior to lodgement (following course completion).

It is therefore imperative that prospective applicants take note of the following processing timeframes (published by the relevant skill authorities):

  • EA (Engineers Australia): Processing time is ‘highly variable’ but can be as little as 10 working days for an additional rush fee of $250.
  • VETASSESS: Processing time is 10-12 ‘working weeks’ but expedited processing can be sought in exceptional circumstances such as imminent visa expiry, but usually NOT due to impending legislative changes.
  • TRA (Trade Recognition Australia): Processing time is up to 60 working days but TRA may consider priority processing with evidence of an offer of employment.

Save for mining and petroleum engineers, very few affected people will be able to secure their skills assessment in time to make an application for independent skilled migration to Australia.

A link to the full instrument can be found here.