Red, Orange, and Green: What these colours mean for skilled migration

Red, Orange, or Green?

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has released their Traffic Light Bulletin on potential changes to the skilled occupation lists for Immigration purposes. A number of interesting changes have been proposed, including the removal or down-grading of some trades occupations, and the addition of occupations relating to personal and aged care.

A full list is available on the Department's website here.

Please note that these are only proposed changes at this stage. Changes will not be formalised until closer to the release date in March 2020 and there is no guarantee that any or all of the proposed amendments will occur.

Red Occupations

These are occupations that could be removed from all occupation lists. Standing out are the occupations of Hairdresser, Massage Therapist, and Community Worker, which have previously been popular amongst migrants and in some demand in Australia.

Orange Occupations

Orange occupations are those that have been flagged to move between the three occupation lists:
  • Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)
  • Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
  • Regional Occupation List (ROL)

Occupations currently flagged to be downgraded from MLTSSL to the STSOL include Automotive Electricians and Motorcycle Mechanics, Painting Trades Workers, and Wall and Floor Tilers.

Flagged to move from the ROL to the STSOL - opening up the option for employers in non-regional Australia to sponsor for visas - are occupations including Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson and Real Estate Representative.

Potential occupations moving from the STSOL to the MLTSSL are Sales and Marketing Manager, ICT Project Manager, and Information and Organisation Professionals which includes the occupation 'Data Scientist'. This move would give pathways to permanent residency for 482 visa applicants as well as the chance to apply for a Skilled Independent 189 visa. It is important to note that these occupations also come with a recommendation for salary caveats above a certain level.

Moving from the STSOL to the ROL could be Geologist, which would limit applicants to living and working in regional Australia.

Finally, making a big jump from the ROL to the MLTSSL could be the occupations of Procurement Manager and Ship's Master, again giving employers the chance to sponsor employees outside of regional Australia.

Green Occupations

A number of personal support occupations have been flagged for addition to the STSOL after languishing off all lists for quite some time. Those that could be added are Aged or Disabled Carer, Nursing Support Worker, and Personal Care Assistant. All three occupations come with the recommendation that there is a mandatory skill assessment.

Recommendation for Salary Caveats

While there would be no changes to the list for these occupations, the Department has recommended the implementation of a minimum salary caveat of AU$65,000 per annum for Bakers, Pastry Cooks, and Fitter and Turners. Sportspersons nec would require a minimum salary of AU$120,000 per annum.

New and Emerging Occupations

Finally, the Department has identified a number of new and emerging occupations that do not currently fit into the ANZSCO system. These have now been determined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to fit into the following definitions:

Occupation not in ANZSCO ABS Determined Occupation Code
Blockchain Strategist 261111 ICT BUSINESS ANALYST
Blockchain Planner/Manager 135112 ICT PROJECT MANAGER
Irrigation Manager 121213 FRUIT OR NUT GROWER
Biosecurity Officer 311313 QUARANTINE OFFICER
Horticulture Farm Manager 121213 FRUIT OR NUT GROWER
Maintenance Electrician 341111 ELECTRICIAN (GENERAL)

These definitions are in place now and can be used for Immigration purposes.

Acacia's Advice

The first thing we would advise migrants is not to panic; these are proposed changes only. However, we would suggest that if you will be disadvantaged by any of the changes (i.e. moving off the lists, or from MLTSSL to STSOL), it would be best to see if any application can be lodged as soon as possible. Generally, lodged applications are not affected by occupation list changes.

If you may have better opportunities after the changes, it may be a good idea to look at your visa options and start preparing necessary documents such as a skill assessment or English language test.

To discuss your options with the Acacia team, book a consultation online now.

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