Australian immigration changes update: Draft SOL released by Skills Australia

Skills Australia provided an indication of
the new Australia immigration SOL

When the most recent Australian immigration changes were announced in February, 2010, one of the most pressing issues was the lack of sufficient clarification regarding the announcement of a new SOL (Skilled Occupation List).

Very little indication was given towards which occupations would appear on the new SOL, aside from that it would be "a new list of targeted occupations determined by the independent body, 'Skills Australia'. As the new SOL will be a comprehensive, targeted list, the current Critical Skills List will be revoked."

As a result, this list of occupations is set to play a huge part in determining not only who is eligible to apply for a visa via the Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) program, but also the processing priority they will receive upon lodging their application.

Therefore, it was very interesting to see Skills Australia release what seems to be a preliminary draft of the new SOL as part of their release titled 'Australian Workforce Futures: A National Workforce Development Strategy' (which you can see for yourself by clicking here).

If you refer to page 87 of the document, you'll find a section titled 'Specialised Occupations'. It's these occupations that the new SOL seems set to draw upon, although it's very important to take into account the following disclaimer: 

"The revised Skilled Occupation List to be used in the General Skilled Migration Program will be based on these specialised occupations but may well differ in the occupations included. The new Skilled Occupation List will be announced in April 2010."


1331* - Construction managers
1332 - Engineering managers
1341 - Child care centre managers
1342 - Health and welfare services managers
1343 - School principals
1344 - Other education managers
2211 - Accountants (a)
2212 - Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers (b)
2723 - Psychologists
2221 - Financial brokers
2725 - Social workers
2241 - Actuaries, mathematicians and statisticians (c)
2245 - Land economists and valuers
2311 - Air transport professionals
2312 - Marine transport professionals
2321 - Architects and landscape architects
2322 - Cartographers and surveyors
2326 - Urban and regional planners
2331 - Chemical and materials engineers
2332 - Civil engineering professionals
2333 - Electrical engineers
2334 - Electronics engineers
2335 - Industrial, mechanical and production engineers
2336 - Mining engineers
2339 - Other engineering professionals
2341 - Agricultural and forestry scientists
2346 - Medical laboratory scientists
2347 - Veterinarians
2393 - Teachers of English to speakers of other languages
2411 - Early childhood (pre-primary school) teachers
2412 - Primary school teachers
2413 - Middle school teachers
2414 - Secondary school teachers
2415 - Special education teachers
2421 - University lecturers and tutors
2511 - Dieticians
2512 - Medical imaging professionals
2514 - Optometrists and orthoptists
2515 - Pharmacists
2521 - Chiropractors and osteopaths
2523 - Dental practitioners
2524 - Occupational therapists
2525 - Physiotherapists
2526 - Podiatrists
2527 - Speech professionals and audiologists
2531 - Generalist medical practitioners

2532 - Anaesthetists
2533 - Internal medicine specialists
2534 - Psychiatrists
2535 - Surgeons
2539 - Other medical practitioners
2542 - Nurse educators and researchers
2543 - Nurse managers
2611 - ICT business and systems analysts
2613 - Software and applications programmers
2633 - Telecommunications engineering professionals
2711 - Barristers (d)
2712 - Judicial and other legal professionals (d)
2713 - Solicitors (d)
3122 - Civil engineering draftspersons and technicians
3132 - Telecommunications technical specialists
3211 - Automotive electricians
3212 - Motor mechanics
3221 - Metal casting, forging and finishing trades workers
3222 - Sheet metal trades workers
3231 - Aircraft maintenance engineers
3233 - Precision metal trades workers
3241 - Panel beaters
3243 - Vehicle painters
3311 - Bricklayers and stonemasons
3312 - Carpenters and joiners
3321 - Floor finishers
3322 - Painting trades workers
3331 - Glaziers
3332 - Plasterers
3334 - Wall and floor tilers
3341 - Plumbers
3411 - Electricians
3421 - Air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics
3422 - Electrical distribution trades workers
3423 - Electronics trades workers
3942 - Wood machinists and other wood trades workers
3991 - Boat builders and shipwrights
3996 - Sign writers
4112 - Dental hygienists, technicians and therapists
4114 - Enrolled and mothercraft nurses
4115 - Indigenous health workers
4231 - Aged and disabled carers
4233 - Nursing support and personal care workers
4412 - Fire and emergency workers
4413 - Police

(a) CPA or equivalent, (b) Auditors only, (c) Actuaries only, (d) Legal professionals admitted to practice only

What does this draft list of specialised occupations mean for the new SOL?

Unfortunately this list raises more questions than it answers, so it's very hard to know.

While it's useful to finally have an indication of the occupations that will appear on the list (and reassuring that so many of the primary occupations appear, in contrast to what many feared), we must remember that this isn't the final list.

As a result, there's still no guarantee that all the occupations shown here will appear on the final list. Contrarily, there's every possibility that occupations which don't appear here could still appear on the new SOL when it's announced in April.

It's also interesting to see that the occupations are all from the ANZSCO (Australia and New Zealand Skilled Classification of Occupations) as opposed to the previously used ASCO (Australian Skilled Classification of Occupations).

While there have previously been hints and indications that the new SOL would switch to using the more current ANZSCO to classify occupations, it's still surprising that it hasn't been formally announced.

So, for now, I'd advise everyone to keep working and not make any rash decisions before the new SOL is formally introduced in April. In the meantime, I will continue monitoring the situation and provide updates as and when I receive them.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau