You may have checked online, talked to people or been told by a consultant that you currently don’t qualify for skilled migration and are wondering ‘why not?’. Well the answer is quite complex, but I will try and go through it in this article.
How Is The Demand For Skilled Migration Determined?
The migration environment is fluid and ever-changing, with new occupations appearing, disappearing, states open and closing multiple times a year, every single year.
Various factors influence this, but it all boils down to 2 main things:
- Supply and demand
- Political input
For the first factor, which is by far the main driver for the changes – the federal government through the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol (DIBP) indicate the occupation ceiling for most, if not all of the occupations on their skilled migration lists.
This means they know how many people they need for any particular occupation for any given year. They calculate these numbers using research, statistics and trends provided by various departments, primary of which is the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), who conducted census and studies regularly.
To an extent it’s as transparent as it can be – they can’t reveal so much that it opens the system for manipulation, but they do give indications on what Australia is looking for in terms of skilled applicants.
For the second factor, political pressure can move the needle as well, if there is public feedback on certain issues then the Minister of immigration will have to take it this into account and make a decision based on that feedback.
However most major changes to the visas themselves need to be approved by parliament before becoming law, which is never easy when you have 2 opposing parties debating them.
The Skilled Migration Lists
Now that you have a better grasp on how the Australian government determines the types and amount of skilled people they need, where can you find the actual occupations they are looking for?
We’ve covered this in previous articles, you can find the Medium and Long Term Strategic List and Short Term Skilled Occupation List on this master list here.
In simple terms, you can think of the lists as a ‘high demand’ and ‘lower demand’ list, with specific requirements for each when it comes to applying for permanent residency. We will cover the differences between each on a later article.
Unlike changes to visa rules and regulations, the Minister can change the skilled occupation list as and how he/ she sees fit based on advice from other government bodies and departments.
This means that the lists can and will change each and every year – usually in January and July.
What happens at these times is that occupations either remain the same, fall off the list or come back on the list. Even as migration agents we will not know if and when this happens – meaning we can’t ‘predict’ that an occupation will reappear or disappear, the DIBP keeps a very close lid on this, again so that there isn’t manipulation of the system.
Occupation vs. Qualifications
Possibly one of the most common questions we face as migration agents and consultants is ‘I have been working as this occupation for over 10 years, why can’t I be considered as X occupation?’
The nature of Australian migration is that for most cases, your occupation will need to match your qualifications (the closer the relation the better) but if it doesn’t then there may be additional requirements involved to get it assessed as being suitable.
This varies with the occupation and authority that assesses it, but the rule of thumb is that the closer the better.
Also, for the majority of occupations you would need at least a diploma to qualify, in fact most skilled occupations like engineering for example require a degree, but IT occupations can use a diploma with additional requirements attached.
For anything else, that depends as well and is assessed on a case by case basis.
The bottom line is that the more tightly you work in what you studied in, the better.
So I Currently Don’t Qualify – Now What?
Ok it took a while to get to this point, but the background of how the system works was important to know.
If you don’t qualify for skilled migration now, that doesn’t mean you will never qualify, you have a few options:
Monitor The Skilled Occupation Lists
Keep an eye on the lists – every January and July there is typically a small change and some occupations which weren’t there before may now have appeared again and vice versa.
So that means there is every chance your occupation will appear again, but you will have to wait and see.
If your occupation reappears you can quickly contact one of our consultants, the faster you act the better, as a typical application takes time and you want to make sure you are in there before the occupation is removed.
How About If I Change Occupations?
Theoretically this is possible, but not really very practical. If you’ve done this very early in your career then yes perhaps it is achievable. For example if you started your early career in marketing but jumped over to accounting and completed your CPA qualifications and have been working as an accountant for the last 8 years – then yes this is one possibility.
But it all depends on a) what you are qualified as b) what your occupation was c) what your new occupations is and d) how long you jumped over.
Various elements must align for this to be possible and it relies on your base degree/ diploma as well.
What About Other Visa Types?
Australia has other visas that can qualify for provisional or permanent residencies, such as:
- Partner visa – are you getting married to an Australian citizen or permanent resident?
- Investor visa – do you have the ability to invest AUD1.5 million or more in various funds?
- Business visa – do you currently own your own business and want to start a new one in Australia?
Each of the visas mentioned above have different prerequisites and requirements for getting approved, so if you tick all the boxes then yes you have another option there.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Australian migration is complex and ever changing but primarily it boils down to 1 thing – what you do and what you are qualified to do.
If you currently don’t have an occupation that is on the skilled occupation list, then you may have to wait and see. Or if you are young enough and have the means, maybe switch careers or studying something new might get you there.
Ultimately it varies depending on the individual as well as what the Australian government do in a given year.
I hope this gives you a better indication on the options you may have available to you if you are looking to apply for Australian permanent residency through skilled migration.