Understanding Australia’s Skilled Occupation Lists

If you’re a business considering sponsoring an employee, understanding Australia’s Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL) is key: they are the first step in establishing your eligibility to sponsor a 482 visa and other skilled visas.

What are the Skilled Occupation Lists?

Skilled Occupation Lists outline all the occupations that are in demand in Australia and are used by the Department of Home Affairs to assess visa applications.

There are two main lists: the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).


skilled occupation lists

Skilled occupation lists can vary depending on the visa and the state.


Visas Involving the Skilled Occupation Lists (SOLs)

Businesses and organisations needing to sponsor an employee have several work visa options. Each of these work visas involve the SOL, the most common is the 482 visa, a temporary skilled work visa lasting 2 or 4 years, depending on the stream.

Other skilled work visas SOLs are used for include the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189), Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190), Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491), and the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187).

The subclass 189 visa is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer, state, or territory government. To be eligible, your occupation must be on the MLTSSL,and you must meet other requirements such as age, English language proficiency, and pass a skills assessment.

Skilled Occupation Lists

Photo by Vlada Karpovi at Pexels


The subclass 190 visa requires nomination by a state or territory government and your occupation be on either the MLTSSL or the STSOL. This visa is suitable for individuals who possess skills that are in demand in specific states or territories of Australia. Because of this, the skilled occupation lists can vary from state to state.

The subclass 491 visa is a regional skilled temporary visa. Its for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian state, territory government or workers who are sponsored by an eligible relative living in a regional area (regional areas are designated and based on post codes). Occupations on both the MLTSSL or STSOL are eligible for this 491 visa, depending on the state or territory’s requirements.

The Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187) is designed for skilled workers who are nominated by an Australian employer to work in regional areas. This visa allows skilled workers to live and work in Australia permanently.

Changes to the Skilled Occupation Lists

The SOL undergoes periodic reviews to ensure that it reflects Australia’s current labour market needs and priorities. Once a year or every couple of years, the Department of Home Affairs makes changes to the SOL in which occupations are added or removed from the list. Inevitably this can impact visa eligibility for prospective migrants.

The SOL is likely to evolve again this year. The Australian Government is set to introduce the Skills In Demand Occupation List later this year. This list will further refine the selection of occupations eligible for skilled migration to Australia, “aligning closely with the changing needs of the Australian labour market.”

Occupations not on the Skilled Occupation Lists

As well as the traditional Skilled Occupation Lists, Australia’s skilled migration includes Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs). DAMAs are agreements between the Australian government and specific regions or industries that address skill shortages not addressed by the national skilled migration program.

These agreements allow employers in certain areas to sponsor overseas workers for occupations that may not be on the MLTSSL or STSOL. The aim of DAMAs is to offer flexibility for employers to sponsor workers in occupations crucial to their business operations but not listed on other skilled occupation lists.

These agreements typically apply to specific regions facing unique labour market challenges or industries experiencing skill shortages. By utilizing DAMAs, employers can access a broader pool of skilled workers to fill critical gaps in their workforce, boosting regional development.


For employers looking to sponsor a skilled worker in Australia, understanding which occupations are eligible for various work visas will impact your ability to sponsor an employee.

If you’re considering sponsoring a skilled worker, take the time to research the SOL and familiarize yourself with the visa options available to you – or engage a registered migration agent to advise you on your options.

Keep an eye out for updates to the SOL and the upcoming Skills In Demand Occupation list to ensure you’re aware of the latest developments in Australian migration policy.