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  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

Choosing the right occupation - all about ANZSCO (part 2)

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how Immigration use ANZSCO to manage skilled and sponsored-work visas. We also learned about Alice's story and her ANZSCO occupation issues. In this part, we will dig in a bit deeper and discuss tips for selecting the occupation which is right for you.

Navigating ANZSCO can be confusing

Choosing an occupation is a crucial step in your migration journey. It can't be just any occupation you feel is right or aspire to work in. It requires careful consideration of many factors such as work experience, qualifications, occupation caveats, skills assessment requirements and more.

Some find it easy to find it easy to choose their occupation on ANZSCO. A Chef is a Chef. For others, it can cause major headaches. So how should you go about finding 'the right' occupation for you?

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First thing's first- your CV

Your CV (AKA resume or curriculum vitae) is a summary of your professional and academic achievements. The best starting point when searching for a skilled occupation is by comparing your CV to ANZSCO. Before you do this, you should make sure your CV is accurate and up-to-date.

Check your resume. Are all your jobs past and present mentioned? Have you listed all your professional qualifications?

Woman comparing her CV to ANZSCO occupations
Is your CV up to date?

Make a list of key duties under each position and include your job title, company name, start and finish dates. Each qualification should indicate the level (Diploma, Bachelors etc.), field of study, name of awarding institution, location and year attained.

Find the occupation list

Skilled and sponsored-work visas have different occupation lists. Find the correct list for your visa subclass. Review the list carefully and identify 3-5 occupations which appear related to your CV. This is your shortlist of potential occupations. Don't worry about the fine print for now, you will go into the details later.

Occupation lists are organised under headings or sub-lists. Occupations under the Medium and Long‑term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) are usually more beneficial than those under the Short-Sterm Skilled Occupations List (STSOL).

It is important that you know which sub-list your potential occupations belong to and how your application will be affected by them. This will help you to make the right choice.

Man searching ANZSCO occupations for Australian skilled migration
Which ANZSCO occupation is best for you?

For example, Contracts Administrator 511111 is a STSOL occupation on the Skilled visas occupation list. Therefore, it available for subclass 190 and 491 visas, but not subclass 189. On the other hand, Solicitor 271311 is a MLTSSL occupation which is eligible for the 189, 190

and 491 visas.

Occupations contain other important information such as occupation caveats and the names of the organisations responsible for skills assessments. If you are not sure where to do your skills assessment or a caveat applies to your occupation, get help from an experienced Migration Agent.

Compare your CV with ANZSCO

Go to ANZSCO and search for the occupations you shortlisted. The web page that will come up contains the definition of the occupation, level of academic qualification required and a list of daily duties. If your CV matches the ANZSCO description you can proceed to the next stage with that occupation. If not, cross it off your shortlist.

You don't need a 100% match. If the ANZSCO description and your CV are substantially equivalent, that should be sufficient. Substantially equivalent means very similar/more similar than different.

Overseas student in graduation ceremony in Australia
Overseas degrees are compared to the AQF

Comparing your academic qualifications can get tricky. Australia has its own system of qualification levels, known as the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). A Bachelor's degree obtained overseas may only be considered as an Advanced Diploma in Australia.

Check skills assessment requirements

You would know by now which organisations perform skills assessment for your shortlisted occupations. Find their websites and review the eligibility criteria carefully.

Do you have enough relevant work experience? Is your qualification in a relevant field of study? Can you provide the necessary supporting documents?

If work experience is necessary for your skills assessment, you may only be able to claim points for experience after the qualifying period has passed. For example, VETASSESS generally require at least 12 months of experience for assessments in professional occupations. You cannot claim points for work experience in the Points Test for the initial qualifying period.

Work experience requirements can vary even for the same occupation. The devil is in the detail. Sometimes you will need to show more work experience if you only recently obtained your qualification.

Migrant in Australia researching skilled migration
Are you eligible to pass a skills assessment?

Cross off occupations from your shortlist if you don't think you can pass the assessment. Is there one or more occupations left on your shortlist? Well done! These are your skilled occupation/s.

Should you get a Migration Agent?

Choosing the correct occupation is the foundation of skilled and sponsored-work visa applications. Getting it right is the key to success. Getting it wrong typically means refusal.

If you have any shadow of a doubt about which occupation you should choose - consider getting help from an Agent. An experienced Migration Agent can help you to:

  • Determine whether your qualification is suitable for your occupation

  • Assess the relevance of your work experience to the ANZSCO description

  • Advise on which occupation is most beneficial for immigration

  • Discuss ways to maximise your chance of success

  • Look for alternatives if you are having a hard time finding your ANZSCO occupation

In the next part of this article, we will learn about 'nec' occupations, what they mean and why they are so important for some candidates. I will also tell you the end of Alice's migration problems.

Have any questions? Drop them in the comments below! (or send us a message)


Information (or the lack of it) contained in ImmiUpdates should not be relied on as immigration assistance or advice. ImmiUpdates expressly disclaim any liability, arising at law, in equity or otherwise, for any information published or not published in past, the present or future editions of the blog. People seeking immigration assistance should seek advice from a registered migration agent and those seeking legal advice should consult a lawyer. The copyright in the newsletter belongs to Rysher Migration Services and no part of the blog is to be reproduced by any means without the written consent of Rysher Migration Services.


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