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Minister Announces New SOL For 2010

The Minister for Immigration has announced the New SOL new Skilled Occupations List which will apply from 1 July 2010.

The list is based on the Specialised Occupations List produced by Skills Australia in March 2010, but excludes a number of occupational categories from this list.

The new list has 181 occupations, versus 400 on the current Skilled Occupations List.

What’s on the List The occupations on the list are within the following specialisations:

  • Building & Construction – project managers, architects, surveyors
  • Engineering
  • Education – pre-primary and secondary school teachers
  • Medical – including doctors, nurses, and allied health
  • IT Professionals
  • Limited Trades – mainly in building & construction
  • Limited Science Occupations – including chemists, agricultural and environmental scientists

What’s NOT on the List

The list excludes a number of common occupations, such as:

  • Most trades, including cooks, hairdressers and fitters.
  • Most science occupations
  • Most general business occupations eg marketing specialist, general managers
  • Primary School teachers and teachers of English as a Second Language
  • Most associate professional occupations, apart from engineering associates
  • Welfare Workers
  • Translators and Interpreters

How is the New SOL different to the Specialised Occupations List produced by Skills Australia?

The New SOL is very similar to the Specialised Occupations List. However, it excludes a significant number of occupations which were on the Specialised Occupations List including:

  • Education: school principles, academics, primary school teachers, teachers of English as a Second Language
  • Air transport professionals
  • Pharmacists
  • Dieticians
  • Nurse educators and managers
  • Nursing and health associate professionals: Enrolled and mothercraft nurses, Indigenous health workers, Aged and disabled carers, Nursing support and personal care workers
  • Legal professionals: solicitors, barristers, judges and magistrates
  • Wood tradespersons, boat builders, floor finishers and signwriters
  • Police and Fire and emergency workers

The New SOL includes a small number of occupations which were not on the Specialised Occupations List, including:

  • Registered Midwives
  • Chemists
  • Engineering Associate Professionals
  • Metal Fabricators and Welders

When does the New SOL Come into Effect?

The intended date for the list to come into effect is 1 July 2010. However, the legislation giving effect to the new SOL has not yet been passed, so it is possible that implementation may be delayed if there are any issues with the new legislation.

What if I have Lodged my Application Already?

If you have already applied for a general skilled visa, you will not be affected by the New SOL. This will also be the case if you lodge prior to the new list coming into effect on 1 July 2010. However, you should be aware of the following:

  • The Minister is seeking changes to the Migration Act allowing him to cap and cease applications by specific criteria (eg occupation). The Minister might in future use this power to cancel applications in certain occupations to reduce the current backlog of skilled applications, even if your occupation was on the Skilled Occupations List at the date of application.
  • The Minister has already put the offshore General Skilled Migration program on hold, with no further applications being possible until the New SOL comes into effect

What Happens if I’m Not on the New SOL?

The new legislation applicable to the Skilled Occupations List has not yet been finalised. However, it appears that if your occupation is not on the New SOL, you will not be able to apply for the following skilled visas after 1 July 2010:

Most likely, the legislation will mean that:

  • You would need a skills assessment in an occupation on the New SOL
  • Any work experience can only be counted if it is in such an occupation
  • Points are only available for spouse skills if their work experience and skills assessment are in an occupation on the new list

If your occupation is not on the New SOL, you will still be able to apply for:

Are there any Transitional Provisions?

There are only limited transitional provisions, and these only apply to people who either held a Skilled Graduate Subclass 485 visa on 8 February 2010 or who had applied for this type of visa on this date. For such people, it is possible to apply for General Skilled Migration under the current Skilled Occupations List until 31 December 2012.

How Often will the List be Updated?

The Department of Immigration has indicated that they intend to update the list once a year. This could potentially mean that international students studying in Australia will not be able to predict whether they will be able to make an application for General Skilled Migration by the time their course finishes.

Commentary

The new SOL is shorter than we were expecting. It is actually more restrictive than the Specialised Occupations List produced by Skills Australia in March.

There are no significant concessions to people who have studied trades such as hairdressing and cookery in Australia, despite the fact that these students would now have to complete the Job Ready Program.

If the Skilled Occupations List will be reviewed on an annual basis, this will most likely reduce the ability of international students to predict whether they will be eligible for migration at the end of their course and we hope that legislative frameworks will be introduced to make transitional provisions for people affected by changes to the list each year.

For full details of the occupations on the New SOL please visit our New Skilled Occupations List page.

Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your likely eligibility for skilled migration.

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