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How the new SOL List 2016-2017 affects your visa application?

Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about possible changes to the existing Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and Consolidated Occupation List (CSOL)that left you worried or wishing you knew what the future holds. Not surprising.

In 2015-2016, a number of occupations were flagged for possible removal, which essentially can affect your eligibility to apply for a visa.

In Australia, the Department of Education and Training is responsible for providing advice to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection on the occupations to be included in the SOL by the medium to long-term skill needs of the Australian economy.

 

The SOL is reviewed on annual basis. Until 13 November 2015, over 100 submissions have been received from industry bodies, employee representatives, trade and professional organisations and other stakeholders.

What is SOL/CSOL List?
The lists specify the:
a. skilled occupations;
b. relevant ANZSCO code for an occupation;
c. relevant assessing authority for that occupation; and
d. country where an application for a skills assessment is made by a resident of that country.

The legislative instrument comprises two schedules – Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.

Schedule 1 to the Instrument contains the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), which is used to determine eligible occupations for Skilled Independent Subclass 189 and Skilled relative sponsored skilled migration purposes.

Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 to the Instrument form the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL). The CSOL applies to the:
• State/Territory nominated visas;
• Temporary Work (Skilled) visa;
• Direct Entry stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme;
• Occupational Trainee stream of the Training and Research visa; and
• Occupational Trainee visa.

Any major changes?
The updated SOL and CSOL Lists apply to visa applications submitted on or after 1 July 2016. Visa applications lodged before that date are not affected by the new occupation lists.

The good news is that most of the occupations mentioned in the current list still appear on the 2016-2017 SOL.

Two new occupations have been added to the list:
• Orthotist or Prosthetist (251912)
• Audiologist (252711)

Despite the rumors that teachers, doctors, accounting and engineering professionals might be scrapped from the list, only the following 9 occupations have been removed from the SOL:
• Mining Engineer (excluding petroleum) (233611)
• Petroleum Engineer (233612)
• Metallurgist (234912)
• Environmental Health Officer (251311)
• Occupational Health and Safety Adviser (251312)
• Dental Hygienist (411211)
• Dental Prosthetic (411212)
• Dental Technician (411213)
• Dental Therapist (411214)

The complete 2016-2017 SOL/CSOL list can be downloaded here.

Since its release this week I have been speaking with several existing and potential clients about the impact of the upcoming changes on their applications. Many of them were relieved that their occupation remained eligible for a skilled independent visa, others will require minor changes to their selected visa category.

There are a number of ways to avoid being caught up in the migration limbo if you stay proactive. If you are planning to migrate to Australia in the future or have already started the skills assessment process, but will be unable to submit your visa application before 1 July 2016, it is the time to review your migration goals.

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