07 May 2009

Changes to the Skilled Occupations List effective 15 May

Changes to the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) have been made by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in consultation with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

The Skilled Occupations List (SOL) lists all occupations that the Government considers to be a skilled profession for purposes of migration to Australia.  Applicants for a General Skilled Migration visa must nominate a skilled occupation listed on the SOL in order to gain points towards their Australian visa application.  They must also have their nominated skills assessed by an approved assessing body before their application will be accepted by DIAC.

The Government periodically reviews the SOL so that it remains reflective of the Australian economy, and this week, after consultation with DEEWR, DIAC have released a revised version of the SOL to go live on 15 May 2009.

While no occupations have been removed or added from the SOL, the Government has changed the assessing requirements for occupations.  Now, Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS) can act as a co-assessing authority alongside the Trades Recognition Authority (TRA) for all countries except "recognised countries" for the following occupations:

"Recognised Countries" are UK, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Philippines.

Effectively, this means that skilled applicants in the above trades, who are not residents of any recognised country, now have another option to TRA to have their skills assessed in order to complete their Australian visa application.

It is not clear whether VETASSESS has plans to conduct practical assessments in any other country but they may consider doing so, depending on demand.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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