Upcoming Immigration Changes 2020

COVID-19 (Novel coronavirus) has affected both for Australian visa holders and those who are waiting to be issued their Australian visas. Please see all updates here. To see the Latest COVID-19 concessions for Australian visas see here.

Australian Associated Press published an article which included the following: Migrants allowed to live and work in Australia if the invest at least $1.5 million could soon need to spend more money. The Morrison government is looking at increasing the investment thresholds for business innovation and investment visas. Encouraging more investment in regional areas will be a key priority. The government is also looking to “streamline” the program, which currently includes three visas and nine visa streams.

Skilled Migration Occupation Lists Review

This does not represent a decision of Government.

Please note: This Traffic Light Bulletin contains all occupations flagged for a change to their status and/or recommended for a salary caveat. If an occupation does not appear on the Traffic Light Bulletin then no change is proposed to the current status of that occupation. Stakeholders may make a submission in relation to any occupation, even if no change is proposed at this time.


Term Description
ANZSCO Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations
STSOL Short Term Skilled Occupation List
MLTSSL Medium Long Term Strategic Skills List
ROL Regional Occupation List

Guide to the Traffic Light Colours

RED Flagged for removal from the lists
ORANGE Flagged for movement between lists – direction of movement is indicated in the Recommended Status column
GREEN Flagged for addition to the lists


ANZSCO code Occupation Name Current Status on SMOLs Recommended Status for Traffic Light Bulletin
1 272111 Careers Counsellor STSOL OFF (RED)
2 324212 Vehicle Trimmer STSOL OFF (RED)
3 342311 Business Machine Mechanic STSOL OFF (RED)
4 361199 Animal Attendants and Trainers nec STSOL OFF (RED)
5 362211 Gardener (General) STSOL OFF (RED)
6 391111 Hairdresser STSOL OFF (RED)
7 394213 Wood Machinist STSOL OFF (RED)
8 411611 Massage Therapist STSOL OFF (RED)
9 411711 Community Worker STSOL OFF (RED)
10 452311 Diving Instructor (Open Water) STSOL OFF (RED)
11 452312 Gymnastics Coach or Instructor STSOL OFF (RED)
12 321111 Automotive Electrician MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
13 321213 Motorcycle Mechanic MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
14 323313 Locksmith MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
15 332211 Painting Trades Worker MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
16 333111 Glazier MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
17 333411 Wall and Floor Tiler MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
18 394111 Cabinetmaker MLTSSL STSOL (ORANGE)
19 142115 Post Office Manager ROL STSOL (ORANGE)
20 312511 Mechanical Engineering Draftsperson ROL STSOL (ORANGE)
21 612115 Real Estate Representative ROL STSOL (ORANGE)
22 234411 Geologist STSOL ROL (ORANGE)
23 131112 Sales and Marketing Manager STSOL MLTSSL (with salary caveat of $120,000) (ORANGE)
24 135112 ICT Project Manager
(includes Blockchain Planner/Manager)
STSOL MLTSSL (with salary caveat of $120,000) (ORANGE)
25 224999 Information and Organisation Professionals nec
(includes Data Scientist)
STSOL MLTSSL (with salary caveat of $90,000) (ORANGE)
26 599612 Insurance Loss Adjuster STSOL MLTSSL (with salary caveat of $80,000) (ORANGE)
27 133612 Procurement Manager ROL MLTSSL (ORANGE)
28 231213 Ship’s Master ROL MLTSSL (ORANGE)
29 221212 Corporate Treasurer OFF STSOL (GREEN)
30 423111 Aged or Disabled Carer OFF STSOL (with mandatory skills assessment) (GREEN)
31 423312 Nursing Support Worker OFF STSOL (with mandatory skills assessment) (GREEN)
32 423313 Personal Care Assistant OFF STSOL (with mandatory skills assessment) (GREEN)


Occupations that are staying on their current list but have been recommended for a salary caveat
ANZSCO code Occupation Name Current Status on SMOLs Salary caveat
33 121321 Poultry Farmer STSOL Salary caveat of $65,000
34 351111 Baker STSOL Salary caveat of $65,000
35 351112 Pastrycook STSOL Salary caveat of $65,000
36 361112 Horse Trainer MLTSSL Salary caveat of $65,000
37 323212 Fitter and Turner MLTSSL Salary caveat of $65,000
38 452499 Sportspersons nec STSOL Salary caveat of $120,000

New Regional Visas with PR pathways

The Australian government announced 2 new regional visas and made changes to the points test.

The two new regional (provisional) visas are:

Extra 1 or 2 year visa for international graduates from regional institutions

The Department of Home Affairs has announced a new initiative for an additional Temporary Graduate visa with an extra one or two year of post-study work rights for international students who:

  • graduate from the regional campus of a registered university or institution with a higher education or postgraduate qualification; and
  • maintain ongoing residence in a regional area while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa

The second Temporary Graduate visa will require ongoing residence in a regional area.

The definition of regional Australia for this purpose will be the same as the definition for skilled migration – all of Australia excluding Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Important change: Perth and Gold Coast are classified as regional areas.

Global Talent – Employer Sponsored program (GTES) and Independent program (GTIS)

The Department of Home Affairs announced it will make the Global Talent program (Employer Sponsored) permanent to attract the world’s best and brightest. Australian businesses and start-ups will have streamlined access to the best and brightest talent from around the world with the continuation of the Global Talent – Employer Sponsored program (GTES), formerly the Global Talent Scheme.

The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.

The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million and the start up stream explained below.

The Department also announced the Global Talent – Independent program, which offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia.

VETASSESS changes can be seen here.

Courses with good PR prospects in 2020

Australia is a top destination for students mainly because of  stable and open economy, attractive career choices and universities, highly rated infrastructure, multicultural society and beautiful landscapes and English language.

International students aiming to study, work and live in Australia after their studies should firstly apply for a Australia Student Visa to come and study in Australia. After 2 years of studies in Australian universities/ Vocational schools/ colleges offering higher education (and CRICOS approved), an international student could be eligible to apply for an Australian post study work visas under subclass 485. An Australian post study work visa may issued for varied time periods depending on your qualification.

The student can then look for a permanent residency pathway in Australia if they meet the points test and other eligibility criteria.  Alternatively if they have an employer willing to sponsor them for a TSS visa or the permanent ENS 186/RSMS 187 visa. If applying through General Skilled Migration, the applicant must have a positive skills assessment from the relevant skills assessing authority and have an occupation that is listed as eligible for the visa type.

An important thing to note here is, your study area and your nominated occupation must match even though in some cases relevant work experience may substitute for the formal qualification. Please note that the occupations list changes often and according to the needs of the economy and labour market.

Planning the permanent Migration Program for 2020

Update: Australian Migration Intake in the COVID-19 era

Australia’s Migration Program settings are designed to ensure that migration is beneficial for the current and future economic and social development of Australia. The Migration Program is currently planned and managed annually, with the Program set at an annual planning ceiling of 160,000 places for four years from 2019-20.

The permanent Migration Program consists of three streams:

  • Skill stream improves the productive capacity of the economy and fills skill shortages in the labour market, including those in regional
  • Family stream allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to reunite with close family members, including partners, and certain dependent
  • Special Eligibility stream provides visas for those in special circumstances that are not provided for in other streams, including former residents, and visas granted under Ministerial
  • Child category allows parents to sponsor their child who is outside Australia to come to Australia. 

Changes to the 2019-20 Migration Program settings provided a greater focus on allocating more places to the State/Territory Nominated and Employer Sponsored visa categories, including setting aside 25,000 dedicated places for regional Australia. To support this, the Government introduced two new skilled regional provisional visas (491 and 494 visa), that commenced on 16 November 2019, which encourage migrants to live and work in regional areas.

Migration Program 2019-20 Planning Ceilings



Planning Ceilings

Skill Stream
Employer Sponsored 30,000
Skilled Independent 16,652
State/Territory Nominated 24,968
Regional Category

Skilled – Employer Sponsored Regional- 494 visa

Skilled – Work Regional- 491 visa



Business Innovation and Investment Program 6,862
Global Talent Program 5,000
Distinguished Talent 200
Skill Total 108,682
Family Stream
Partner 39,799
Parent 7,371
Other Family 562
Family total 47,732
Special Eligibility 236
Total Migration Program 156,650
Child (outside the Migration Program ceiling) 3,350
Total permanent migration places 160,000
Australia relaxes English requirement for migrant farm workers, offers pathway to permanent residency

Horticulture farmers around Australia will now receive more support to resolve labour shortages with the signing of a new Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement. The new agreement means horticulture growers will have access to a skilled and semi-skilled workforce to help deliver the fruit and vegetables enjoyed by all Australians. The Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement follows the success of labour agreements in other industries such as the dairy, meat and pork industry.

The HILA will allow Australian businesses in the industry to sponsor overseas workers across 31 occupations, and provides concessions to standard skilled visa requirements.

Key features include:

  • additional occupations not on existing Skilled Occupation Lists
  • salary concession (10 per cent discount on the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, currently $53,900 per annum)
  • age concession (up to 50 years of age)
  • English language concession
  • pathway to permanent residence

While the HILA is not a new visa product it will complement existing temporary and permanent migration programs to support regional horticulture employers and communities, including the Working Holiday Maker Program, Seasonal Worker Program, the Pacific Labour Scheme and Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs).

A full summary of approved occupations, terms and available concessions are available, see New Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement.

From 1 January 2020 , horticultural employers will be able to access the conditions under the Industry Horticulture Labour Agreement by lodging a Labour Agreement Request

© VisaEnvoy

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