Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists

Following a review of the Australian Skilled Migration Program, the Australian Government introduced changes to the Skilled Migration Program and in particular to the occupations which are eligible to participate in the Skilled Migration Program on an independent or sponsored basis. Changes to Skilled Occupation Lists take effect from 1 July 2015.

The Skilled Migration Program provides a platform for migration to Australia by foreign highly-skilled workers holding qualifications and skills that are in demand in Australia. The program provides approximately 220,000 migration places in Australia each year.

1. Changes to Independent Skilled Subclass 189 Visa and Subclass 489 Visa

Occupations removed from the Skilled Occupation List for these visa categories:

Urban and Regional Planner
Dental Specialist

Occupations added to the Skilled Occupation List for these visa categories:


What does this mean? Occupations removed from the list are no longer eligible for independent skilled migration. However, such occupations may be eligible for employer or state / territory sponsored or other types of visas. Occupations added to the list are now eligible for independent skilled migration and applicants who meet the requisite level of skill, work experience and English ability do not require sponsorship to migrate to Australia.

The changes apply to visa applicants not nominated by an employer or state and territory government, who were issued invitations to apply on or after 1 July 2015.

2. Changes to Employer Sponsored Work Visas (Subclass 457 Visa and Subclass 186 Direct Entry), State Sponsored Work Visas (Subclass 190 Visa and Subclass 489 Visa), Graduate Subclass 485 Visa and Training & Research Subclass 402 Visa:

Occupations removed from the Consolidated Skilled Occupation List applicable for these visa types:


You will note that these occupations were moved to the independent skilled migration Skilled Occupation List, meaning that employer or state / territory sponsorship is no longer required for workers in these occupations.

Occupations added to the Skilled Occupation List applicable for these visas:

Dental Specialist

What does this mean? For skilled workers, it means that applicants holding qualifications and experience in these occupations require employer or state / territory sponsorship. For trainees, researchers and graduates, it means that temporary work visas are now available for these occupations.

The changes apply to visa applicants who are nominated on or after 1 July 2015, in the case of skilled work visas, or to applications made on or after 1 July 2015 in the case of  Graduate 485 Visa and Training & Research 402 Visa applicants.

2015-16 Occupation Ceilings

Occupation ceilings for invitations for skilled visas in the 2015-16 general skilled migration program have been released.

There have been some minor increases in the ceilings for 22 occupations and minor decreases for 13 occupations. The largest increases were for Metal Fitters and Machinists with an extra 1254 (18%) places and Plumbers with an extra 666 (15%) places. The largest decreases were for Accountants down 2953 (-54%) places and Registered Nurses which decreased by 1170 (-8%) places.

The 2016-16 Occupational Ceilings are available on the Department’s website

For more information please contact us to speak to an expert registered migration agent.

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