The Federal Government has released the new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to fast track skilled workers needed for Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.

The PMSOL is a list of 17 occupations in the health care, construction and IT sectors that will be able to enter Australia from overseas to fill urgent skill vacancies in these critical sectors.

Overseas skilled professionals can request (and would likely be granted) an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions provided they:

a) have been granted a visa; b) have been sponsored by an Australian business in a PMSOL occupation; and c) undergo a strict 14-day quarantine on arrival at their own expense.

The existing skilled occupation lists (Short-term Skilled Occupation List and Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List) will remain active and the associated visas will continue to be processed, however visa applications nominating PMSOL occupations will take priority. A visa holder may still apply for a travel exemption even if their occupation is not on the PMSOL.

Another measure introduced by the Department of Home Affairs is that employers are now required to advertise the nominated position on the Government’s Jobactive website in addition to the former requirements of advertising the position on two websites with a national reach. This amendment a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely disrupted Australia’s labour market. The Government has decided to enhance the current labour market testing conditions to ensure Australian workers are prioritised for job opportunities in Australia.

what this means

The visa processing times for applicants who are outside of Australia have increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic, with anecdotal evidence indicating offshore visa applications may not be progressing at all. This announcement means that where the nominated occupation is on the PMSOL, those visa applications will be afforded priority processing. To travel to Australia, these visa holders will still need to apply for a travel exemption, and it is likely these exemptions would be granted.

The PMSOL is subject to change contingent upon changes in Australia’s skills needs.

The 17 occupations currently on the PMSOL (ANZSCO code) are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  •  Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)