AUSTRALIA: Traffic Light Bulletin – Skilled Migration List Review

December 16, 2019

Following consultations with various stakeholders, including Newland Chase Australia (read our 28 November blog post here), the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has released its Traffic Light Bulletin outlining its proposed changes to Immigration’s skilled occupation lists.

Of interest is the number of occupations that have been flagged for movement between the occupation lists. This would indicate an increase or decrease in demand for these occupations, with trades occupations most affected.

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

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

Flagged for Removal (Red)

The occupations of Hairdresser, Massage Therapist, and Community Worker are among those that have been flagged for removal from all occupation lists, making migrants in these occupations ineligible for almost all skilled visas (it may still be possible under a labor agreement).

These occupations have been in decline over recent years, although there has still been some demand under the employer-sponsored pathways, particularly in more regional areas.

Flagged for Change of List (Orange)

There are a number of occupations 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)

All of the occupations that appear on the list to be moved from the MLTSSL to the STSOL are trades related. This includes Glaziers, Automotive Electricians, Painting Trades Workers, and Cabinetmakers.

Occupations that could move from the STSOL to the MLTSSL – giving pathways for permanent residency under employer-sponsored and skilled independent pathways – are ICT Project Manager (which includes Blockchain Planner/Manager), Information and Organization Professionals (which includes Data Scientist), and Sales and Marketing Manager. There are recommendations for a salary caveat for each occupation, indicating significantly-skilled applicants are required.

Moving from the ROL to the MLTSSL could be the occupations of Procurement Manager and Ship’s Master, giving employers the chance to sponsor employees outside of regional Australia, as well as opening up a skilled independent pathway.

Identified as occupations that could be moved from the ROL to the STSOL are Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson, Post Office Manager, and Real Estate Representative. This again opens up the option for employers in non-regional Australia to sponsor visas.

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

Flagged for Addition (Green)

After being off list for a long time, a number of personal support occupations have been flagged for addition to the STSOL, with a recommendation that there is a mandatory skill assessment. These include Aged or Disabled Carer, Nursing Support Worker, and Personal Care Assistant. The occupation of Corporate Treasurer is also flagged, but no skill assessment has been recommended.

Salary Caveat Recommendations

Certain occupations – not otherwise affected by list changes – have been identified as those where a minimum salary caveat should be applied. Poultry Farmer, Baker, Pastry Cook, Horse Trainer and Fitter and Turner would now require a minimum salary of AU$65,000 per annum, while “Sportspersons nec” (not elsewhere classified) would require a minimum salary of AU$120,000 per annum.

New and Emerging Occupations

In addition to the skilled occupation list review, the Department identified a number of new and emerging occupations that do not currently fit into the ANZSCO definitions. In collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), these occupations have now been defined as follows:

Occupation not currently in ANZSCO

Occupation Code Designated by ABS

Blockchain Strategist 261111 ICT Business Analyst
Blockchain Planner/Manager 135112 ICT Project Manager
Data Scientist 224999 Information and Organisation Professionals nec
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)


It is possible to utilise these definitions now for Immigration purposes.

Next Steps

The Traffic Light Bulletin is designed to flag occupation list changes, and to gather feedback from stakeholders and the community. The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business is now seeking public submissions on their bulletin with the submission period concluding on 12 February 2020.

If the proposed changes would affect your business and you would like to provide submissions, you can lodge these through the Department’s website here.

Newland Chase is interested in hearing from industry groups, businesses, and education providers on the proposed changes. If your group or business would like support while consulting with the Department of Employment, or would like assistance with preparing a formal submission in future, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].  

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Australia, please contact us.