Subscribe to our mailing list

Immigration Matters | Changes to skilled occupation lists – effective 10 March 2019


Vol. 2 | 18 March 2019

The Department of Home Affairs released a range of new Legislative Instruments last week confirming changes to the occupations eligible for nomination under a range of employer sponsored visa programs (including the TSS and ENS) as well as the independent General Skilled Migration program.

As part of broader reforms to Australia’s skilled migration framework implemented over the course of the last two years, the period of stay available to an individual under the employer sponsored temporary visa is now ultimately determined by which list their occupation is included on.  The inclusion on a particular occupation list will also impact on a skilled visa holder’s option to later transition to permanent residence status.

Under the current framework, the Department of Jobs and Small Business conducts a twice yearly review of each program list as a way of ensuring these skilled visa programs are adequately responding to shifts in labour market requirements in both metropolitan and regional areas.     Depending on feedback and submissions received from other agencies, industry and business, the review outcome may see occupations added, removed or moved between the following lists:

  • Short Term Skills Occupation List (STSOL) – these occupations generally only allow for a temporary stay
  • Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) – these occupations will allow for a temporary and/or permanent stay
  • Regional Occupations List (ROL) – these occupations will also allow for a temporary and/or permanent stay

The addition of 36 new occupations across the various Medium-Long Term Strategic Skills lists may represent one of the biggest amendments since the introduction of these separate lists and confirms the Government has the ability to respond to shifting labour market needs.  In what is no doubt welcome news for the recruitment industry, the TSS program has also seen a change in the salary caveat applied to the occupation of Recruitment Consultant, which now requires minimum annual earnings of $80,000, reduced from the previous minimum of $90,000.

While the inclusion of new occupations on both the MLTSSL and ROL is good news, we believe there are still a number of job creating occupations which should be moved from the STSOL to the MLTSSL in future reviews, including but not being limited to the occupations of


Sales & Marketing Managers, Recruitment Consultants and Specialist Managers not elsewhere classified.

If your business or industry has been experiencing difficulty in attracting skilled individuals from overseas due to the exclusion of a particular occupation from the MLTSSL, we can assist in lobbying the Department of Jobs and Small Business to consider changing the status of these.  You could also consider seeking approval under the Global Talent Scheme while this remains open, subject to your business and the position meeting all eligibility characteristics.

We have provided a summary of the changes by visa subclass below and this confirms that regional employers and independent skilled migrants will be the main beneficiaries from this latest review, with agricultural and science based occupations being the main additions.

Visas for General Practitioners (GPs) initiative

From 11 March, a new “Visas for GPs” initiative has come into effect as a way of regulating the number of doctors entering Australia via the skilled migration program.   From this date employers nominating a doctor to work in one of the following occupations will require a Health Workforce Certificate:

  • General Practitioner;
  • Resident Medical Officer; and
  • Medical Practitioners not elsewhere classified.

The initiative is expected to help ensure doctors are moving into rural, remote and regional areas where access to health services has traditionally been difficult, and will also see a reduction of approximately 200 doctors per year entering the primary healthcare workforce through the skilled visa programs.

Summary of occupation lists changes – by visa subclass

Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa
Moved to MLTSSL (from STSOL) Arts Administrator or Manager; Dancer or Choreographer; Music Director; Artistic Director; Tennis Coach; Footballer (salary caveat applies – minimum $120,000 per annum).
New to MLTSSL Telecommunications network planner;  Pressure welder
Moved to ROL (from STSOL) Aquaculture farmer;  Cotton grower;  Fruit or nut grower;  Grain, oilseed or pasture grower;  Mixed crop farmer;  Sugar can grower;  Crop farmers (nec); Beef cattle farmer; Dairy cattle farmer; Mixed livestock farmer;  Pig farmer;  Sheep farmer; Livestock farmers (nec); Mixed crop and livestock farmer; Dentist; Anaesthetist.
New to ROL Deer farmer; Goat farmer
Removed from program Visual arts and craft professionals nec; Textile, clothing and footwear mechanic; Watch and clock maker and repairer, Chemical plant operator; Library Technician
Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme
New Telecommunications network planner; Pressure welder; Horse trainer; Arts administrator or manager; Dancer or choreographer; Music director; Artistic director; Tennis coach; Footballer (salary caveat applies).
Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
No changes – note that all occupations added to the 482 MLTSSL and ROL were already available for nomination under the subclass 187 visa.   The salary caveat for the occupation of Footballer does not apply to the 187.
Subclass 407 (Training) visa
New to MLTSSL Deer farmer; Goat farmer
Removed Visual Arts and Crafts Professionals nec; Textile, Clothing and Footwear Mechanic; Watch and Clock Maker and Repairer; Chemical Plant Operator; Library Technician
General Skilled Migration Program
Subclasses 189, 190, 485, 489 (Family Sponsored) and 489 State/Territory Sponsored
New to MLTSSL Environmental manager; Musician (Instrumental); Statistician; Economist; Mining engineer (excluding Petroleum); Petroleum engineer; Engineering professionals nec; Chemist; Food technologist; Environmental consultant; Environmental research scientist; Environmental Scientists nec; Geophysicist; Hydrogeologist; Life scientist (general); Biochemist; Biotechnologist; Botanist; Marine biologist; Microbiologist; Zoologist; Life Scientists nec; Conservator; Metallurgist; Meteorologist; Natural and physical science professionals nec; University Lecturer; Multimedia Specialist; Software and applications programmers nec; Horse trainer; Physicist (no longer restricted to medical only).
Moved  to MLTSSL (from STSOL) Arts administrator or manager; Dancer or choreographer; Music director; Artistic director; Tennis coach; Footballer.
Subclass 489 visa – State/Territory nominated only
New to ROL Deer farmer; Goat farmer; Aquaculture Farmer; Cotton grower; Fruit or nut grower; Grain, oilseed or pasture grower; Mixed crop farmer; Sugar cane grower; Crop farmers nec; Beef cattle farmer; Dairy cattle farmer; Mixed livestock farmer; Pig farmer; Sheep farmer; Livestock farmers nec; Mixed crop and livestock farmer; Dentist; Anaesthetic.


Need to know more?

If you would like to discuss any of the above changes or have a separate immigration query, please reach out to:

  • Email queries:
  • Telephone queries: Sarah Pettit, Principal – +61 8 9485 4200
Written by
Sarah Pettit
Sarah has been providing Australian and overseas businesses with immigration advice for over 18 years. With extensive experience and specialisation in corporate migration, Sarah has worked with some of Australia's largest corporations across multiple industries including Oil & Gas and Resources, Finance, Information Technology, Health, Banking and Education.