Expansion of fast-tracked visas to help with COVID-19 skills shortages

The Federal Government has announced an expansion of Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List (PMSOL) following a collective advocacy campaign from the business community.


The Federal Government has recently announced an expansion of Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List (PMSOL) following a collective and consistent advocacy campaign from the business community.  

The Federal Government has expanded the PMSOL list from 19 to 41 occupations with professions including accountants, engineers, surveyors and chefs now added to the list (see full list at bottom of the page). 

The Government introduced the original PMSOL in September 2020 list as a temporary measure in response to COVID-19 specific skills shortages. If an occupation is on the list, employers can sponsor an individual to come to Australia with priority processing of their visa application. All other skilled occupation lists remain active. Employers can use the following visa subclasses when using the PMSOL list: 

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)​
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)​ 
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)

The benefits of these changes will take time to have a material impact, and furthermore, there are many occupations and industries still struggling to attract staff. For example, manufacturing businesses in Melbourne’s east are finding it difficult to fill entry-level roles and there are many bakeries unable to find qualified bakers. This is despite increases in job losses due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

The expansion of the PMSOL list is a great first step, but the Victorian Chamber believes more needs to be done. Australia needs a clear plan to reopen through easing restrictions, opening up domestic and international borders, and a comprehensive and efficient vaccine roll-out.  

We need a path to reopen that manages the health risk while at the same time recognises that staying closed to the world is not an option. The Victorian Chamber is working with the Australian Chamber to undertake advocacy for an international reopening strategy that is a risk managed, staged process that functions with other national systems. More detail is available in the Australian Chamber’s report: Reopening Australia – How to ease restrictions as the vaccine rolls out 

The 22 new occupations on the PMSOL list (including ANZSCO codes) are:  

  • Accountant (General) (221111) 
  • Accountant (Taxation) (221113)
  • Accountant (Management) (221112) 
  • External Auditor (221213)
  • Internal Auditor (221214)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
  • Transport Engineer (233215)
  • Mining Engineer (233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (233612) 
  • Surveyor (232212)
  • Cartographer (232213) 
  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214) 
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Orthotist / Prosthetist (251912)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Software and Applications Programmers (261399)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Chef (351311)

Further information on the full PMSOL list and the visa application process can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. 


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