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Accountants May Be Removed from Skilled Occupations List

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 04 February 2014

The Australian Government is considering removing Accounting occupations from the Skilled Occupations List.

If the Government decides to remove accountants from the SOL, this will have a significant effect on many applicants for skilled independent and graduate temporary subclass 485 visas. Many of these prospective applicants are international students.

The decision has not yet been finalised, but discussions are underway with the accounting professional bodies and other interest groups to justify accountants continuing to be included on the Skilled Occupations List.

The change would come into effect from 1 July 2014.

Effect of Removal of Accountants from Skilled Occupations List

If the accounting occupations are removed from the Skilled Occupations List, this will have a significant effect on people seeking to apply for skilled migration and Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visas. In particular, accountants will no longer be able to apply for the following types of visas as they require an occupation on the SOL:
There are many international students completing studies in Accounting in Australia - if a change is made to the SOL, this would have a very significant effect on a large number of students.

What do the Accounting Professional Bodies Think?

CPA Australia and The Institute of Chartered Accountants have released a joint submission to the Minister of Immigration on this issue. In this submission, they argue very strongly against accountants being dropped from the SOL.

In this submission, the professional bodies state that the job market for accountants remains strong. To remove accountants from the SOL would be too severe a measure, and instead they suggest that a higher points score be required for accountants.

When Will We Know for Sure?

A decision has not been made as yet whether to remove accountants from the Skilled Occupations List. The decision will be made by the Australia Workplace and Productivity Agency.

The new Skilled Occupations List for 2014-15 is likely to be announced in April or May 2014.

When Would the Change Come into Effect?

The Skilled Occupations List is reviewed each year, and comes into effect on 1 July.

The change would not affect applications lodged prior to 1 July 2014.

What Can Accountants Do to Avoid the Changes?

If you are an accountant, you may wish to apply before 1 July 2014 to avoid the changes. If you are unable to apply before 1 July, then it may be possible to apply for a skilled visa which does not require an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List. Examples include:

Conclusion

If you are concerned that you may be affected by the proposed change, then please contact us immediately to get further advice.

One of our experience advisors can meet with you to discuss your case in detail and give you advice about your best options going forward.

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