While reports that the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training might cut 53 occupations from their skilled migration program are Skilled Occupation List, experts have commented that these cuts won’t necessarily happen.
The occupations mentioned as the most frequently used for the 457 program are Cooks, Cafe or Restaurant Managers, Marketing Specialists, Chefs and Developer Programmers. At this stage, it is not clear which occupations run the risk of being removed.
Yet all is not lost. 457 visa application lodged before the proposed changes will not be affected as long as those occupations are on the Skilled Occupations the requirement that the occupation be on the approved list is at the "time of decision" being made. But be warned that if you have lodged your application prior to the change, you could be caught out if the occupations list changes before a decision is made on your application.
It has happened before
Annually Australia undergoes the process of updating and changing the Skilled Occupation List. Just because an occupation is flagged does not mean it will definitely be removed. Most of the occupations were also flagged for 2015-16, and were not removed and if the Skilled Occupation List is changed it is likely to only come into effect on 1 July 2017.
Every year the Australian Government considers updates to the SOL based on certain criteria e.g., demand and supply or the amount of training needed etc., and flags certain occupations for future removal. Today was the last day for submitting feedback to the Minister for Immigration for consideration in March. The final list will take affect from 1st July next year.
The current list includes 183 occupations and is used to determine the applicant’s eligibility for Australia’s permanent skilled migration scheme.
Which occupations could be affected?
Right now, the following occupations have been shortlisted for potential removal from Skilled occupation list.
Production Manager (Mining)
Other Spatial Scientist
Production or Plant Engineer
Medical Laboratory Scientist
Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
Medical Radiation Therapist
Intensive Care Specialist
Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Medical Practitioners (nec)
Boat Builder and Repairer
Common occupations on the list of occupations for potential removal include:
Engineers in most specialisations
Accountants and Auditors
Surveyors and Cartographers
Medical Laboratory Scientists
Various Medical Practitioner Specialisations
Allied health professionals - such as Radiographers, Occupational Therapists, Podiatrists, Speech Pathologists
Psychologists and Psychotherapists
Barristers and Solicitors
Maritime transport professionals
What happens if my occupation is cut from the list?
The impact if an occupation is removed from the SOL would be as follows:
• You would no longer be eligible for the Skilled Independent Subclass 189 visa
• You would no longer be eligible for the Graduate Work Stream of the Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa
But, if you have lodged your visa application prior to the change coming into effect you won’t be affected. Which means you should get started with your application right away or you may not be eligible to apply for a work visa in Australia by mid-2017.
What can I do to pre-empt a negative application outcome?
If your occupation is on the flagged list, you would be best to ensure that you apply for skilled migration as soon as possible. This would require a skills assessment - for some occupations this can take several months, so you may wish to start work on this without delay.
Other Visa Streams could also be affected?
As the 457 list is the same for the Employer Nomination Scheme Subclass 186 Visa and Occupational Trainee Stream of the Training Subclass 407 visa, if the 457 list were reduced, this may also affect these types of visas.
If you are planning on immigrating and your occupation is listed as possibly being affected you should seek professional advice from your MARA registered immigration practitioner. Accredited and registered agents have quick and accurate access to all the latest developments and will be able to offer you the best possible advice relating to your application.