Overseas workers seeking to migrate to Australia under the ‘Skilled Independent’ visa program (unsponsored by an employer or state/territory government) need to have an occupation listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
Each year, the federal Department of Training reviews the occupations included on the SOL and recommends changes to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Occupations are considered for inclusion or removal by assessing Australia’s medium to long-term job needs, a process that involves analysis of labour force data and consultation with government and relevant bodies.
The current SOL (in effect for 2016/17) had nine occupations removed from the previous year’s list – but added two new occupations. There were also 52 occupations that were flagged for possible removal from the SOL if evidence emerged of excess supply.
Various media has reported that some submissions to the 2017/18 SOL review have called for a number of those flagged occupations – mainly in the health sector – to be removed from next year’s SOL.
Composition of the SOL does NOT affect overseas workers seeking to apply under employer-sponsored migration or temporary (457) visa categories. These are considered against a Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL) that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection develops separately. Occupations removed from the SOL are generally added to the CSOL.
There is also another occupation list – the WA Skilled Migration Occupation List (WASMOL) – that the WA Government uses to sponsor skilled workers. Any changes to the WASMOL (or abolition of it as recently suggested by the WA Labor Party) will have no effect on the General Skilled Migration or Employer-sponsored migration options for skilled migrants wishing to come to WA.