New Priority Skills List and Strengthened Labour Market Testing Requirements

The Australian Department of Home Affairs via its operational arm, the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) has announced the introduction of a new Priority Skills List, together with strengthened labour market testing requirements.

Released on September 2nd 2020, upon joint instruction from the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, the occupations now included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) were identified based upon applicable advice and will continue to be regularly reviewed.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)

Clearly, given the impact of COVID-19, the government has determined that these skills are deemed critical to Australia’s economic and health recovery.

Existing skilled migration occupation lists will remain active and applications will continue to be processed however, with regard to employer sponsored programs, priority will be given to those occupations represented on the PMSOL.

Enhanced labour market testing

Previously accepted labour market testing (LMT) requirements have been upgraded in order to ensure that Australian workers, many of whom have been impacted by COVID-19 downturns, receive absolute priority for job opportunities within their own country.

Accordingly, the existing instrument LIN 18/036: Period, manner and evidence of labour market testing has been amended to reflect the enhancements. This can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Businesses currently considering employing overseas skilled workers on Subclass 457, Subclass 482 or Subclass 494 visas will in future be required to advertise their vacancies on the Jobactive website ( in addition to the two mandatory advertisements which must be published in accordance with recent requirements. The government’s objective is to clearly establish that a genuine need exists for employment of an overseas worker.

These enhanced requirements apply only to applications lodged after October 1st 2020.

Additional scrutiny

As a further precaution, in an effort to ensure that job opportunities for Australian workers are being prioritised, the Department will be more closely scrutinising ENS and RSMS nominations relating to Australian workers employed by a business in similar occupations, including:

  • Retrenchments in the previous 12 months
  • Reduction of hours worked during the previous 12 months
  • Reduction in pay and conditions within the previous 12 months
  • Employment of a temporary visa holder on conditions less favourable than Australians
  • Recruitment of temporary visa holders beyond the ordinary scope of the business.

Travel exemptions

For offshore visa applicants, Australia’s international border restrictions remain in place, with only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families permitted to enter without a specifically granted exemption.

Temporary skilled visa applicants or current visa holders who are working in a PMSOL occupation will however, be able to request an exemption.

Online applications may be lodged at

Individuals do not need to hold a current visa prior to lodging a travel exemption request. Their details however, must include:

  • Traveller details – name, date of birth, visa type and number (where avail.) passport number
  • Proposed residential address and telephone number in Australia
  • Reasons for coming and why an exemption should be granted
  • Supporting statement detailing how applicant meets grounds for exemption
  • Any additional evidence

We’re happy to help

Immigration law is complex and in this new era, it’s constantly evolving. Outcomes can never be guaranteed but comprehensive understanding, professional preparation and stringent due diligence definitely optimise opportunities for positive outcomes.

For more information on this or on any relating issues, contact the migration experts – Sellanes Clark and Associates – specialising in all immigration matters.

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