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Top occupations granted permanent residency visas in 2019-20

Source: SBS

Software developers, registered nurses and accountants were some of the top occupations granted permanent residency visas in 2019-20.

The total permanent Migration Program outcome for 2019–20 was 140,366 places, of which 95,843 places were delivered in the Skill stream.


  • 95,843 permanent residency visas granted to skilled migrants in 2019-20
  • Accountants, registered nurses and software developers among top occupations
  • PMSOL for 2020-21 has 17 occupations

But like each year, a lot of changes were introduced to the migration program – such as the introduction of new regional visas, a new regional occupations list and the reduction in places for Skilled Independent migration.

Let's take a look at which occupations were in demand and granted permanent residency.

Majority of the 95,843 skilled stream visas were granted in the employer-sponsored category with 29,261 visas.

The top three occupation groups represented in the Skill stream were:

  • Professionals (59.6 per cent) such as health professionals, ICT professionals, education professionals and arts and media professionals
  • Technicians and Trade Workers (17.0 per cent) such as engineering and IT technicians, construction trade workers and skilled animal and horticultural workers
  • Managers (9.0 per cent) such as chief executives, hospitality and retail managers
    Migration Program outcome 2019-20
    Top occupations in 2019-20
    Department of Home Affairs

The Skilled Independent category had an outcome of 12,986 places and the top five occupations in the 189 Skilled Independent Visa were:

  • software engineer
  • accountants
  • developer programmer
  • computer network and systems engineer
  • mechanical engineer

But the focus of the migration program in 2019-20 was on regional visas after two new visas - the new Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) and Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494), were introduced on 16 November 2019.

The regional category was granted the second-highest number of permanent residency visas in 2019-20, accounting for 24.4 per cent of the Skill stream.

Of 23,372 visas granted under the regional category, 15,000 places were delivered in Skilled Work Regional and 8,372 places in Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional.

And the top five occupations within this were accountants, registered nurses, cooks, café and restaurant managers and chefs.

top occupations in 2019-20
Top occupations in the regional category in 2019-20
Department of Home Affairs

All of Australia except Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane qualify as a designated regional area for migration purpose.

Highest numbers of regional visas were granted to applicants wanting to settle in South Australia followed by New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. 

The largest source citizenship countries of migrants in 2019–20 was India with 25,698 places followed by China with 18,587 places and the United Kingdom with 10,681 places.

Skilled migrants
Skilled migrants (representational image)
Getty Images

Major changes introduced to 2020-21 migration program

While the cap will remain at 160,000 places, the government has announced a major change to the program structure for 2020-21.

More places have been allotted to family visas, priority will be given to onshore applicants and there will be an increased focus on employer-sponsored applicants.

The allocation for skilled stream visas has been cut down to 79,600 places in 2020-21 giving a massive boost to family stream visas with 77,300 places.

“Even within the skilled stream, the focus will be on select few professions that feature on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List,” Rohit Mohan, a Melbourne-based registered migration agent told SBS Hindi.

“Those onshore who feature on this list will be at an advantage. Those who are not on this list, such as accountants, chefs and motor mechanics, their chances are dim,” Mr Mohan said.

He, however, says those international students who have studied in a designated regional area and are working in their nominated occupation, ‘will definitely have an advantage’.

Disclaimer: We’d like to point out that the information contained in this segment is general and is not specific advice. If you would like accurate information relevant to your situation, you should consult a registered migration agent/agency.

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