Changes to Occupational Ceilings could affect you
This month has seen some notable changes to the Australian General Skilled Migration programme. Have a look to see how your profession could be affected.

Occupational Ceilings are state and government imposed limits on the issuing of Skilled Migrant visas for each profession.

Some of these changes that have come into affect might impact on your application for a Skilled Migrant visa based on the number of visas that will be issued for a specific profession.

The most important changes are:

> The occupational ceilings have been announced for the 2014-15 year.
> There have been some significant changes to the number of places allocated to Engineers, Accountants, Teachers, IT Professionals, Constructions Trades and Chefs.

Interestingly occupational ceilings will no longer apply to state nominated 190 and 489 visas.

Several Australian states have already announced their occupations lists for the 2014-15 and have started accepting visa applications based on the new conditions.

Changes to the Occupational Ceilings:

The Occupational Ceilings for most professions in most states have now been announced for the 2014-15 Financial Year.

In a positive change Occupational Ceilings will no longer apply to State Nominated visas – they will only apply to Skilled – Independent Subclass 189 visas and family sponsored Skilled Regional Subclass 489 visas.

Effectively this means that states can nominate occupations for Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 and Skilled Regional Subclass 489 visas even if the ceiling has been reached.

As a result, occupational ceilings are only published for occupations on the Skilled Occupations List Occupations, not all occupations on the Critical Skills Occupation List as was the case in previous years.

There have also been some changes in the places available for certain occupations:

Engineers: Good news for engineers is that an additional 2,530 places have been secured for the occupational ceiling.  This is an encouraging move as this field was close to reaching the limit of its occupational ceiling in 2013.

Accountants: The occupational ceiling for accountants have been reduced of 4,242 places. Last program year, the ceiling was not close to being reached so we are hopeful that the ceiling reduction will not severely impact applicants.

Teachers: The reduction of 1,170 places for the occupational ceiling sounds alarming but is in fact not much cause for concern as applications in this sector have not even come near to making a dent in the available places in 2013.

IT Professionals: The number of available places under the occupational ceiling for IT professionals has been increased by 1,132 places.  This is very encouraging at these occupations were close to meeting the occupational ceiling last year.

Construction Trades and Chefs: While the occupational ceiling for construction trades have been decreased by 2,168 places and 1353 places for chefs, as announced earlier this year; you now longer need a sponsored visa if you are employed in many of the positions in this field.

Registered Nurses: Occupational ceilings for registered nurses have by far seen the biggest increase in places – with 15,042 places available on the list. This is more than double the quota of any other occupational group.

Courtesy of Estelle Vosloo – The Australian Times UK

Administrator’s note:

At least with some of the occupations the government has recognised that shortages are diminishing,such as accountants and engineers, but this will still make it increasingly difficult for local graduates to secure entry positions. Intending migrants should look at the occupational ceiling generally, because the level is outside their control, as is whether the occupation is flagged or not. There is no usual time-table for flagged occupations to be removed, as it is not necessarily a removal exercise but rather a monitoring exercise to see if the occupations flagged still are required on the shortage list. They appear not be removed lightly.

Where proposed applicants should be careful when looking at the SOL is in respect of future work in Australia. The SOL is not published  on a state by state basis but instead nationally. This means that unless extensive research is done before you apply, then you may encounter difficulty securing employment if your preferred state or area does not have  local shortages in that occupation.. Some occupations are in greater or lesser degrees of shortage, so the mere fact that they are on the SOL does not mean employers all over Australia are in need of your services. This means that the time lag between arriving and finding work may extend, or that you may have to travel further afield to find that work.