Changes to the Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL) for Migration

Healthcare professional skills

As part of the 457 visa changes announced last week, the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced by the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be replaced by the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

Occupations listed on the STSOL will be eligible for the short-term stream under the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa as of March 2018; occupations on the MLTSSL will be eligible for the medium-term stream. Applications for 457 sponsorship lodged after 19th April 2017 will not be approved unless the occupation is on the new skills shortages list.


A total of 216 occupations have been removed from the SOL. Additionally 24 occupations listed on the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) are now only eligible for positions located in regional Australia. A full list of the positions removed from the SOL is available on the website of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. HealthStaff Recruitment has perused the list and determined those occupations relevant to the health service industry, which have been removed from the skilled occupation list to be as follows:

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Prosthetist
  • Dental Therapist
  • Exercise Physiologist
  • Medical Administrator (or Medical Superintendent in New Zealand)
  • Mothercraft Nurse
  • Nurse Researcher
  • Operating Theatre Technician
  • Optical Dispenser (known as Dispensing Optician in NZ)
  • Optical Mechanic
  • Pathology Collector (known as a Phlebotomist in the UK and NZ)

Other occupations removed may indirectly affect the health industry, for example Optical Mechanic. The medical industry is not directly impacted by new caveats which affect 59 occupations. This includes caveats relating to regional location – which mainly relates to the agricultural and farming industry – or caveats relating to work experience. Most of the occupation specific caveats relate to the hospitality industry or management positions.

The majority of health service roles including medical specialists and registered nurses, as assessed by the Medical Board of Australia, are on the new Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and not subject to caveats, which means 457 visa sponsorship is still available to eligible candidates.

The Department of Health has stated there will be further consultation prior to full implementation of the new visa streams on March 2018 and has pledged to ensure that any future changes to the skilled occupation list supports health workforce requirements.

Healthcare professional roles, including GPs and registered nurses, continue to be in demand in Australia and it is unlikely the healthcare industry will be largely impacted by future changes to the skilled occupations list.