The SOL for 2016-'17 remains mostly unchanged from last year.
Sarah Norton

20 May 2016 - 11:44 AM  UPDATED 20 May 2016 - 12:54 PM

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) released Australia's Skilled Occupations List (SOL) for 2016-17 on Tuesday. The list will come into effect from July 1, 2016.

To apply for an Independent, Family Sponsored Points Tested or Temporary Graduate visa then you must nominate an occupation from the SOL.

"The equitable aspect about skilled migration is that it's not nationally biased. The DIBP do not care where you're from as long as you have the right skills and qualifications to contribute to the Australian labour market," registered migration agent Youssef Haddad tells SBS.

Mr Haddad, the principal director at Immigration Law Matters Australia, also says the process can be extremely complicated due to the strict occupational requirements when assessing your nominated occupation.

"Skilled migration is the most realistic pathway for skilled professionals to migrate to Australia. The simple reason being is that out of the 190,000 permanent migration places available, 128,550 places have been allocated for Skilled Migrants. Australia steadily increases our migration intake every year with an emphasis on skilled migration in order to meet current and future skills shortages,” he says.

The full list of occupations, available on the Skills List, hasn't seen much change from last year.

Removed occupations (as of July 1):

  • Mining engineer (excluding petroleum)
  • Petroleum engineer
  • Occupational health and safety adviser
  • Environmental health officer
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental prosthetist
  • Dental technician
  • Dental therapist
  • Metallurgist

Added occupations:

  • Audiologist
  • Orthotist or prosthetist

You must nominate an occupation from the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) if you are applying for an Independent or Family Sponsored Points Tested visa or Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) – Graduate Work Stream.

Occupations in trade dominate the 2016-'17 SOL, including:

  • Trades: motor mechanic, chef, metal fabricator, bricklayer, carpenter, painting trade workers
  • Accountant
  • IT-related: systems analyst, developer programmer, software engineer, analyst programmer
  • Engineering: electrical engineering, electronics engineering, mechanical engineering

Visit the SOL Immigration website for information about a skills assessment if one is required for the visa application process. Contact a relevant assessing authority directly for the assessment, which requires a fee.

The DIBP have also released the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL) which is used for the 190 (Skilled Nominated Visa), 457 (Temporary Work Skilled Visa) and 186 (Employer Nominated Scheme) visa applications. For these visas, you must be sponsored by an employer or a family member.

The 457 temporary visa program is the most popular for foreign workers trying to get into Australia, with about 50,000 applications per year. This visa allows you to work in Australia for up to four years, you can bring your family to work or study in Australia and you can travel in and out of Australia as often as you want.

Settlement Guide: 3 steps to a 457 visa
The 457 visa program enables employers to bring in skilled workers from overseas when they cannot find skilled locals for the job. There are three processing stages in sponsoring a worker from overseas.

This is a sponsored visa, which means your employer must become an approved sponsor and nominate you for a position before you can apply. You may apply at the same time as your employer.

In March this year the most in-demand jobs were:

  • Developer programmer
  • Chef
  • Café or restaurant manager
  • Marketing specialist
  • ICT business analyst

To get help with your visa application and the process you can look at the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

The top three citizenship countries for primary visas in 2014-15 were India (24.3 per cent), the UK (17.2 per cent) and People’s Republic of China (6.9 per cent).