Changes to ENS Occupations List and Salary Level

By Mark Webster
5 December 2010

Changes to the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) program come into effect today. The changes are to the following areas:

  1. Minimum salary level to be exempt from skills assessment or 2 years residence in Australia to qualify for ENS
  2. A number of occupations have been added to the ENS Occupations List, and one removed

Minimum Salary

There are 3 possible skill options which an applicant must meet for grant of an ENS visa. Broadly speaking these are:
  1. Skills assessment in the occupation plus 3 years of work experience in the occupation
  2. 2 years in Australia on a long-stay work visa (most commonly a 457 visa)
  3. Meeting a minimum salary level for high level executives
The change introduced on the 5th of December is to the third option - the previous minimum salary to meet this skill option was $165,000, and this salary level has now been raised to $250,000. The Department of Immigration claims that this change has been introduced because salaries have moved since the introduction of this skill option in 2005.

Please note that no change has been made to the minimum gazetted salary for occupations otherwise - these remain at $65,020 for IT professionals or $47,480 for other occupations.

Changes to ENS Occupations List

A number of occupations seem to have been excluded by accident by the Department of Immigration from the ENS Occupations List when they moved from the previous ASCO system of occupational classification to the ANZSCO system on 1 July 2010. The reason for the exclusion of the occupations seems to have been that a number of ASCO occupations were split into a number of specialisations under ANZSCO. As a result, the closest match was included in the new ANZSCO ENS List, but a number of the specialiations which would have been included in the relevant ASCO occupation were excluded. A good example of this was the occupation of Graphic Designer - this was split under the ANZSCO system into specialisations such as Illustrator, Multimedia Designer and Web Designer as well as the occupation of Graphic Designer itself.

This issue has been somewhat redressed by the 5 December changes, with the following occupations added to the ENS Occupations List:

111111 Chief Executive or Managing Director
131113 Advertising Manager
139911 Art Administrator or Manager
149311 Conference and Event Organiser
224912 Liaison Officer
232313 Jewellery Designer
232414 Web Designer
234212 Food Technologist
234514 Biotechnologist
249112 Education Reviewer
263112 Network Administrator
263213 ICT Systems Test Engineer
311311 Fisheries Inspector
311399 Primary Products Inspectors nec
312114 Construction Estimator
323212 Fitter and Turner
452314 Snowsport Instructor

Whilst this is a good start, there are a number of occupations, particularly in the IT sector which are still not included in the ENS List without any logical reason. Examples include:

131114 Public Relations Manager
132111 Corporate Services Manager
135112 ICT Project Manager
222312 Financial Investment Manager
223211 ICT Trainer
225211 ICT Account Manager
225212 ICT Business Development Manager
232413 Multimedia Designer
234311 Conservation Officer
234511 Life Scientist (General)
241311 Middle School Teacher
251911 Health Promotion Officer
261211 Multimedia Specialist
261212 Web Developer
263211 ICT Quality Assurance Engineer
263212 ICT Support Engineer
263299 ICT Support and Test Engineers nec
313113 Web Administrator
313199 ICT Support Technicians nec
323213 Fitter-Welder
342411 Cabler (Data and Telecommunications)
342412 Telecommunications Cable Jointer
612112 Property Manager
612115 Real Estate Representative

It seems particularly bizarre that the occupation of Snowsport Instructor has been added to the list, whereas a highly skilled and in demand occupation such as ICT Project Manager has been overlooked.

The occupation of Medical Technicians (Not Elsewhere Classified) has been removed from the ENS List. This is consistent with the exclusion of other medical technicians such as Anaesthetic, Cardiac, Operating Theatre and Pharmacy Technicians.


The changes noted above will be of benefit to a number of occupations which seem to have been excluded from ENS list due to error. However, the increase in minimum salary for the executive level skill option will disadvantage people who are being paid over $165,000 but less than $250,000. In addition, there are still a number of occupations which should logically be on the ENS list but which are still excluded, particularly in the IT field.

Feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss applying for ENS visas.


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