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Australia's Migration Occupations Demand List in Flux

Recency rule back into skilled assessed employment

Section 1.17 of the current Migration Regulations provides that the Immigration Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, specify matters required by individual provisions of the Regulations to be specified for the purposes of those provisions.

Technically, the Migration Regulations defines the term 'migration occupation in demand' to mean a skilled occupation that is specified by Gazette Notice as a migration occupation in demand.

And the purpose of the prescribed list containing MOD entries is to specify skilled occupations as migration occupations in demand for the purposes of the definition of 'migration occupation in demand' in regulation 1.03 of the Migration Regulations.

The List specifies occupations by the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO) code.

That same list is known as the 'MODL'.

The Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) is a mechanism used by the DIAC and external bodies to facilitate the entry of immigrants with specific specialist skills who are applying for permanent (including temporary residence in certain cases). Only listed occupations where a significant shortage of skills in the Australian labour market has been identified are included on the MODL.

For example, applicants applying under the General Skilled Migration Program for a permanent points- tested visa, who nominate an occupation on the MODL, may be eligible for the award of an additional 15 or 20 points (if there is a full time job-offer and certain other requirements are met) under the general points test regime.

MODL applies to non-points tested visa, too. Where the occupation sought is accepted, the visa application should be given priority processing status.

The MODL last gazetted was a response to information provided by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) which identified an additional 5-ITC occupations (the preceding MODL included an additional 16-trade occupations which remain) as being eligible to be placed on the MODL. (The information provided by DEWR is based on DEWRs skills-in-demand research data.)

MODL changes at least two to three times per year.

Note: Several skills assessing bodies, like the Engineers Australia, have argued the changes should be more regular, and in step with employment trends.

The MODL remained unchanged from 15 December 2006 until 30 July 2007 (note: no longer extant).

See: removed MODL

No longer does any period before application apply.

The department of immigration however will require recent experience from September 2007. Note the ACS (Australian Computer Society) demands it in the last four years for migration purposes, unlike most other skills assessing bodies.

The at time of application and decision:

In both the Full Federal Court decisions MIMA v Kaur and MIMA v Aomatsu (both 29/7/2005), the Court held that the relevant list of migration occupations in demand is the list (Gazette Notice) as at the time of visa application.

As may relate to former cases, should a MODL occupation be removed subsequent to the date of visa application, and provided supporting claims are accepted, the Department is, by virtue of such case authority, to award the additional points.

And somewhat incongruously this does not apply to the SOL (Skills Occupations List) nor the former SSASSL (Sydney and Selected Areas Skilled Shortage List - that applied pre-September 2007), where the occupation nominated must remain until up to when the Department of Immigration makes its final determination on an applicants' skills set prior to rendering a decision on the visa.

There also no longer appears the right to seek a new skills assessment post-application, and before visa decision is made (if time allows on a fast tracked Migration occupation application at Adelaide skills processing unit, e.g. the ACS can take 2-3 months) once an occupation is nominated at time of Visa application.

This would be relevant for example should a listed occupation be removed from the MODL and/or the Migration SOL following filing of the appropriate visa class.

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