Occupational Ceilings for 2016-17 Announced

webster By Mark Webster
Monday, 20 June 2016

The Occupational Ceilings for the 2016-17 financial year have been announced. The Occupational Ceilings are the maximum number of invitations that can be issued for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Family Sponsored Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visas.

The occupational ceilings give a good idea of whether the waiting time or minimum pass mark for an EOI invitation will increase for the new program year. A summary of the changes by Occupational Category is below:

Accountants and Auditors

Update - 27 June 2016: please note that the SkillSelect website was updated on 27 June and as a result, there are only 2,500 places available in the 2016-17 program year for accountants (rather than the 4,777 as originally published). As this is about the same number of places for accountants as last year, we expect minimum point scores and waiting times to be fairly similar to last year for the occupation.

There is good news for accountants and auditors with a significant increase in the occupational ceiling.

The ceiling for Accountants has increased by 89% to 4,777 places - this was the biggest increase in percentage terms for 2016-17. The ceiling for auditors has increased by 41% to 1,413 places.

Both of these occupations were filled in the 2015-16 program year, and accountants needed a score of 70 points for an EOI invitation for subclass 189 for most of the year. As a result, we expect the minimum score to reduce for accountants - possibly back to 60 - for at least part of the program year.

IT Professionals

Most of the IT occupations were also filled in the 2015-16 program year, and also faced higher minimum scores for an invitation for most of the year.

The news is somewhat mixed for IT professionals in the 2016-17 program year:

  • Computer Network Professionals: ceiling reduced by 28% to 1,426 places. The minimum invitation score for this occupation was 60 for most of the 2015-16 year. We expect this minimum score to increase to above 60 for 2016-17.
  • Software and Applications Programmers: ceiling increased by 6% to 5,662 places. The minimum score for this occupation was 65 points for much of the year - we expect this to stay about the same or possibly reduce for 2016-17.
  • ICT Business and Systems Analysts: ceiling reduced by 4% to 1,482 places. For this occupation, we saw minimum scores of 65-70 points required for an invitation - we expect this to continue for 2016-17.


Engineers will face occupational ceiling reductions for most occupations, but this is unlikely to have any significant impact on engineers applying for skilled migration:
  • Engineering Managers: increase of 39% to 1,407 places. As the occupation was only 3% filled in 2015-16, this is unlikely to have any impact
  • Civil Engineering Professionals: 27% decrease to 2,174 places. This occupation was only 45% filled in 2015-16, so this is unlikely to have any impact
  • Electrical Engineers: 2% increase to 1,254 places. This occupation was only 45% filled in 2015-16, so minimal impact
  • Electronics Engineers: no change - remains at 1,000 places
  • Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers: 14% reduction to 1,539 places. This occupation was filled in 2015-16, so we may see an increase in minimum points score for an invitation
  • Mining Engineers: Eliminated from SOL for 2016-17
  • Telecommunications Engineering Professionals: No change - 1,000 places
  • Other Engineering Professionals: No change - 1,000 places

Medical Practitioners

Most specialisations will remain largely unchanged for the 2016-17 program year. However, the category of Other Medical Practitioners will increase by 32% to 1,315 places. This was by far the most popular category within this occupational group so will ensure that sufficient places will be available for the 2016-17 year.

Other Occupations

Apart from the occupations mentioned above, the following occupational ceilings were increased significantly for 2016-17:
  • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics: 64% increase
  • Solicitors: 58% increase
  • Psychologists: 26% increase
  • Physiotherapists: 22% increase
  • Registered Nurses: 18% increase
  • Medical Laboratory Scientists: 18% increase
  • Chefs: 15% increase
  • Plasterers: 15% increase
  • Wall and Floor Tilers: 15% increase

The biggest losers in percentage terms were the following occupations:

  • Panelbeaters: 12% decrease
  • Architects and Landscape Architects: 16% decrease
  • Health and Welfare Services Managers: 17% decrease
  • Metal Fitters and Machinists: 17% decrease
  • Social Workers: 18% decrease

Note that as none of the above occupations were even close to reaching their occupational ceilings in 2015-16, the changes are unlikely to result in any impact on EOI invitations.


The new occupational ceilings are great news for accountants and auditors. Engineers and most occupations are largely unaffected by the new ceilings. The news is less good for IT professionals and they may well face higher minimum points scores to be invited in the 2016-17 program year.

The new ceilings will be effective from 1 July 2016. If you would like advice on applying for skilled migration to Australia, please book an appointment with one of our advisors.


SkillSelect - Department of Immigration and Border Protection

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