• After remaining under suspension due to the corona virus pandemic, Australia is cautiously reopening their skilled visa nomination and business programs for the financial year 2020-21.
  • Limited places are being allocated to aid the recovery of the states.
  • 17 occupations have been recognized in the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) which fulfills the critical skills needs that brace Australia’s economic recovery.


The federal government of Australia has allocated more than 230 billion Australian dollars to help eligible employers keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the underlying cash deficit at the end of March was A$22.4 billion which is almost A$10 billion higher than what the government had forecast in December’s midyear budget update (source: financialexpress.com). The GDP of Australia condensed by 7% in the June quarter.


Immigration is the key to lifting Australia’s economy out of the red box. Australia with it’s an ageing population and not enough working-age people to sustain their care, is looking out for skilled workers. When it comes to aged care and nursing homes, there are simply not enough trained nurses within these institutions to provide the level of care required and statistics indicate that this is only going to get worse. Immigration is one way to solve this and provide a willing workforce of

qualified nurses. During the pandemic, international students were able to work double the usual hours permitted and granted special visas to continue working to support these industries.

Also, with a long history of migration, there are a significant number of older Australians who are bilingual and due to old age, they may revert back to their native language or lose the ability to speak multiple languages. Consequently, the Australian Government has recognized the need for bilingual staff who can understand and look after these older Australians. Through the new labor agreements, health care providers are given the opportunity to hire skilled workers that can cater for the communication and cultural needs of their citizens and provide them with quality care.


The Australian government has released a Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) that identifies 17 occupations which fulfill the skill shortage in cardinal arenas. Based on the advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with Commonwealth departments the PMSOL was structured.

A visa application which includes an occupation mentioned in the PMSOL will be given a priority processing. Consequently, it will fill urgent skills required in critical sectors which will help rebuild Australia’s economy.

Alan Tudge, the acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, said that occupations in the health care, construction and IT sectors will boost health as well as the economic fabric of the nation. Extending his notion further, he also said that the visa holders, who have been sponsored in a PMSOL occupation, can request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions, but such migrants will be subjected to strict 14 days quarantine on arrival at their own expenditure.


The critical skills, services and sectors include which require immediate attention:

Vital and specialist health services, such as air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering pertinent medical supplies.

Significant skills required to preserve the supply of essential goods and services, such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, agricultural technology, food production, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics and the maritime industry.

Services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic revitalization such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and also rising technology.

The 17 occupations (ANZSCO code) that are precisely included in the PMSOL list are:

  1. Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  2. Construction Project Manager (133111)
  3. Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  4. General Practitioner (253111)
  5. Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  6. Psychiatrist (253411)
  7. Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  8. Midwife (254111)
  9. Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  10. Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  11. Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  12. Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  13. Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  14. Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  15. Developer Programmer (261312)
  16. Software Engineer (261313)
  17. Maintenance Planner (312911)

However, the PMSOL will be responsive to changes in Australia’s skills needs during the COVID-19 revitalization period. 


Currently, the Australian Government has expanded its criteria slightly by recognizing a wider range of sectors as critical to the workforce. Appropriate evidences should be submitted with a travel exemption request. Such travel exemptions can be submitted online by either the individual or by a business on the individual’s behalf. 

Travel exemptions may now be granted to people in categories including:

Those delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (inclusive of financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available; and Those with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (like critical infrastructure, medical technology, supply chain logistics, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production and the maritime industry).


The state and territory nomination program in Australia  is temporarily closeduntil the commonwealth government’s allocation of state nomination places for 2020-21 takes place as part of the federal budget process (6 October 2020).The occupations for interim allocation are based exclusively on critical skills and sectors. Government of each state or territory will decide which applications have to be prioritized. Critical skills usually include medical services, the supply of essential goods and services for economic recovery. As of now, interim allocations are open for most of the states in Australia. Interim allocations are suspended for western Australia for the time being and temporarily closed for other states. The number of subclass 190 and subclass 491 primary applicant invitations allocated for the 2020/21 program in Australia is 2430 and 1715 respectively.