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NSW Immigration Shifts Focus: Prioritises Key Occupations Over Skilled Occupation List

Skilled Occupation List

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) is currently undergoing a substantial transformation in its approach to workforce planning and immigration policy. In a strategic maneuver that has captured the attention of both aspiring migrants and labor market analysts, NSW has made a pivotal decision – a paradigm shift that prioritizes key sectors over the conventional Skilled Occupation List (SOL). 

This visionary shift will not only shape the prospects of those seeking to make NSW their home but also significantly impact the broader dynamics of skilled labor migration in Australia

NSW could be taking inspiration from the new category-based Express Entry draws. Since its launch on June 28, Canada has invited over 13,000 candidates in 10 occupation-specific draws for Canadian permanent residency. 

In this blog, we delve into the implications of this policy shift on the NSW migration program. Australia pr banner image

Policy Shift: NSW Migration Program for FY 2023-24

New South Wales has earmarked five core industries as its top priorities. These encompass Health, Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Infrastructure, and Agriculture. 

This shift seeks to target specific key sectors in a manner that deviates from the traditional Skilled Occupation List (SOL) approach. While the SOL had a broader spectrum, the new approach narrows the focus on industries with specific needs.

Comparing the previous Skilled Occupation List (SOL) with the new priority occupations in New South Wales (NSW) highlights a significant shift in the approach to workforce planning and skilled migration. Here’s a detailed comparison:


Priority Sector Approach

Skilled Occupation List

Breadth vs. Precision NSW’s new approach focuses on a select few key industries. This approach is more precise, emphasizing areas of specific need in the state. The SOL traditionally covered a wide array of skilled occupations, aiming to cater to various sectors across the country.
Regional Focus The shift towards priority occupations in NSW reflects a regional approach to workforce development. The SOL was designed to meet the skilled labor needs of Australia as a whole, without a strong regional focus.
Economic and Demographic Considerations NSW’s policy shift is driven by a detailed analysis of its labor market, focusing on sectors vital to the state’s economic growth and social development. The SOL, while adaptable, didn’t explicitly account for regional variations in economic and demographic trends.
Skill Shortages By targeting priority occupations, NSW aims to directly alleviate skill shortages within the state, ensuring that key industries have access to the talent they require. The SOL addressed skill shortages at a national level, which could lead to imbalances in different regions.
Industry Alignment NSW’s new direction aligns more closely with the state’s unique industrial landscape, thereby offering a better fit for its specific labor market demands. The older SOL aimed for a broader alignment with Australia’s national workforce needs.
Adaptability The new priority occupations list in NSW demonstrates the adaptability to evolving regional conditions and priorities within the state. The SOL underwent periodic revisions to reflect changing national needs.

Understanding Australia’s Skilled Occupation List 

The Skilled Occupation List, or SOL is a compilation of professions and occupations that are deemed crucial for the development and growth of a particular region or country. These lists are meticulously curated and updated to cater to the evolving needs of the workforce.

In Australia, the list of eligible ANZSCO unit groups has been a cornerstone of the nation’s immigration policies for years. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) unit groups are a comprehensive system that helps in the collection, analysis, and reporting of occupation-related data.

ANZSCO divides the labor force into approximately 1,000 unit groups, each of which represents a distinct set of tasks, skills, and knowledge typically associated with a specific occupation or job role. 

For example, the major group “Health Professionals” encompasses a wide range of healthcare-related occupations. The sub-major group “Medical Practitioners” further narrows it down to various medical doctor specialties. Within the “Medical Practitioners” sub-major group, you would find unit groups like “Generalist Medical Practitioners” or “Specialist Physicians,” which represent specific medical specialties.

New South Wales would publish a SOL composed of specific ANZSCO unit groups. For aspiring migrants and skilled workers, inclusion in the SOL signifies that a specific occupation is in demand and that skilled professionals in those fields are welcome, making it an attractive proposition for those seeking to start a new Down Under.

NSW’s Priority Sector Approach: Impact on Skilled Workers 

Some specific examples of how the sector-focused approach is expected to benefit skilled workers:

1. A nurse from India who wants to migrate to Australia will be able to do so, even if nursing is not on a specific occupation list.
2. A teacher from the Philippines who wants to migrate to Australia will be able to do so, even if teaching is not on a specific occupation list.
3. A software engineer from China who wants to migrate to Australia will be able to do so, even if software engineering is not on a specific occupation list.

Benefits of NSW’s Sector-Focused Approach 

NSW expects to unleash the following benefits in adopting a sectors-focused approach to skilled migration: 

It is more responsive to the changing needs of the economy. The sector-focused approach allows governments to target specific skills gaps and attract skilled workers in those areas. This is important because the economy is constantly changing, and the skills that are in demand today may not be the same skills that are in demand tomorrow.

It is more flexible and adaptable. The sector-focused approach is not tied to a fixed list of occupations. This means that governments can quickly and easily adapt the program to meet the changing needs of the economy. This is especially important in times of economic uncertainty.

It gives skilled workers more opportunities. The sector-focused approach makes it easier for skilled workers to migrate to a country, even if they are not on a specific occupation list. This gives them a wider range of job opportunities to choose from and allows them to find a job that is a good fit for their skills and experience.

It can help to boost economic growth. By attracting skilled workers in key sectors, the sector-focused approach can help to boost economic growth and productivity. This is because skilled workers are more likely to be innovative and productive, and they can help to create new jobs and businesses.

How to Qualify for NSW Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)

To qualify for the NSW Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190), you must meet the following criteria:

1. Be under 45 years of age at the time of invitation.
2. Have a positive skills assessment in priority sector occupations.
3. Meet the English language proficiency requirements.
4. Meet the health and character requirements.
5. Be currently residing in NSW or be willing to relocate to NSW.

In addition to the above basic requirements, you must also be nominated by the NSW government. To be nominated by NSW, you must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect. Your EOI will be assessed based on a number of factors, including your age, skills, experience, and English language proficiency.

If you are successful in your EOI, you will be invited to apply for a NSW Skilled Nominated Visa. Once you have submitted your visa application, you will need to undergo a medical examination and security check. If you are successful in your visa application, you will be granted a permanent visa to live and work in NSW, Australia.

Improve Your Chances of NSW Nominations 

New South Wales (NSW) is a diverse and economically significant region located in the southeastern part of Australia. It is home to stunning landscapes, including coastal areas, mountain ranges, and the Australian Outback. NSW is anchored by Sydney, Australia’s largest city and a global economic hub. The state features a vibrant arts and cultural scene, renowned universities, a diverse population, and a thriving tourism industry.

There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of being nominated by NSW, including:

1. Submit a comprehensive and well-written EOI.
2. Make sure your EOI is tailored to the NSW Skilled Occupation List.
3. Highlight your skills and experience that are relevant to NSW’s priority sectors.
4. Get a high score on the SkillSelect points test.
5. Improve your English language proficiency.
6. Live and work in NSW.

NSW will commence invitation rounds for the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) in the following weeks. If you have any questions about the NSW Skilled Nominated Visa, our expert immigration counselors can guide you through. Start with booking your free appointment with CanApprove today.

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