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Immigration Update: Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List and Enhanced Labour Market Testing

On 2 September 2020 the Australian Government announced two key changes to Australia’s immigration laws ­– a new priority skills list has been introduced and labour market testing requirements have been strengthened for employer-sponsored visas. These changes are designed to address critical skills shortages and ensure employers first attempt to recruit qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

Skilled migrants will be essential in helping Australia get through the pandemic and rebuild the economy. A new PMSOL will allow a small number of sponsored skilled workers to come to Australia to fill critical skill shortages. The 17 occupations on the PMSOL were identified based on advice from the National Skills Commission, and in consultation with other relevant Commonwealth agencies. These occupations are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioners 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)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)

Prioritisation of applications relating to PMSOL occupations will only apply to employer-sponsored visa programs. All other skilled occupation lists will remain active, but the PMSOL occupations will take priority.

Enhanced Labour Market Testing

Current labour market testing requirements have been enhanced to ensure that Australian workers are prioritised for job opportunities in Australia. Businesses considering employing overseas workers should take note of the following visas being affected:

  • Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (skilled)) Visa
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) Visa
  • Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)) Visa

Businesses will be required to advertise vacancies on the Jobactive website in addition to the two other advertisements that must be published in line with existing requirements. (Employers are currently required to publish at least two advertisements for 28 days on: a national recruitment website; or in national print media; or on national radio; or if a sponsor is accredited, on the company’s website.)

These new requirements will apply to nominations lodged on or after 1 October 2020. Nominations lodged on or after that date will not be approved if they don’t have evidence of a Jobactive advertisement. These changes will not affect nominations lodged prior to 1 October 2020. Businesses that are considering employing overseas skilled workers should take note of these changes.

Travel exemptions

Australia’s borders are closed to those who are not Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families. All other persons can only enter Australia if they apply for an exemption.

Temporary skilled visa applicants or current visa holders, who are working in a PMSOL occupation, will be eligible to request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions. Individuals do not need to hold a current visa to lodge a travel exemption request. If the applicant has lodged a visa application, evidence provided as part of the visa application can be used for the travel exemption request. On arrival in Australia, a mandatory 14-day quarantine period is required.

Need assistance? Madison Marcus can help.

Our expert team can provide strategic advice about Australia’s current immigration policy. Please feel free to schedule a consultation with us today by contacting 131 LAW [131 529] or email us at


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