top of page
  • Writer's pictureElan Rysher

When will Australia's Skilled Occupations Lists Be Updated?

Skilled occupations lists are the backbone of Australia's Skilled and Employer-Sponsored visas programs. But who decides which occupations make up the lists?

Contrary to common perceptions, there is no single list of occupations. Rather, separate lists are used for a range of employer-sponsored, points-tested, state-nominated and training visas. The different lists can be similar in content, but they are not identical.

Migrants are often surprised to hear that the Department of Home Affairs has nothing to do with deciding which occupations are added or removed from the occupations lists. That is the responsibility of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, through the National Skills Commission.

Occupation lists are tailored to Australia's economic needs. As economic conditions change, the Government needs a review mechanism to ensure the lists are responsive to genuine skill shortages. However, occupation lists have not been updated since March 2019 (excluding the PMSOL).

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) used to be responsible for regularly reviewing the skilled migration occupation lists. The last update was due in March 2020. Due to the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the update has been put aside.

In September 2020, the Government created the National Skills Commission (NSC). Its purpose is to 'provide trusted and independent intelligence on Australia’s future education, skills and jobs.' The newly created organisation is also responsible for providing advice to Government on the skilled migration occupation lists.

It has been six months since the NSC was established, which begs the question of when will occupations lists be updated? The answer is soon, probably.

Although Australia's economy is making an impressive recovery, the phasing out of JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments at the end of March 2021 will have a significant impact on the labour market. More workers could be made redundant, thereby reducing Australia's appetite for skilled migrants.

It appears that the Government is waiting to see how the economy will react to the termination of Covid-19 payments before considering changes to the occupation lists.

For some migrants, no news is good news. For offshore applicants, the Priority Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) remains a key point of reference. As a rule of thumb, Home Affairs and State Governments are not processing offshore applications outside the PMSOL. The

Once occupation lists are updated, it is likely that lower-skilled health, disability and care workers will be added. DESE proposed this back in March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to spread globally. The pressure on health providers since then is likely to push this change through. The rest remains to be seen.

ImmuUpdates posts new information about changes to Australia's visa system as it becomes available. Subscribe below to get our monthly newsletter.

For more information please Contact Us or email

Elan Rysher is a Registered Migration Agent and Qualified Student Counsellor. He is the main Writer for ImmiUpdates and the founder of Rysher Migration. Elan has many years of experience working in immigration, finance and health. Being a former migrant himself, Elan is passionate about helping others fulfill their Australian dream.


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.


Leave us a comment


Get the latest ImmiUpdates

Recent ImmiUpdates
bottom of page