Which occupation list to use when applying for an Australian visa?

Before the major 457 visa changes were released in April 2017, there were only two occupation lists used in applying for most permanent or temporary work visas (189,190, 489, 186, 457, 485, 407 visas).  These were the Skilled Occupation List(SOL) and the Consolidated Skills Occupation List (CSOL).  Since the 1st of July 2017, many different occupation lists that apply to different visa subclasses have been published by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

This article intends to provide guidance to future applicants on which occupation list to use when applying for visas.  I will discuss in the next sections below the most common visas that clients apply for and which occupation list to use for these visa applications.

  1. 1.       Applying for a Permanent Residency visa through the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream. 

There are two visa subclasses that you can apply for under the GSM stream, the 189 Skilled Independent visa and the 190 Skilled Nominated visa.  You can only use the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for a 189 visa application.  For the 190 visa you can use either the MLTSSL or the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).

The legislative instrument applicable for these visa subclasses and be found on IMMI 17/072 https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L00850. Section 7 enlists the roles on MLTSSL and Section 8 enlists the roles for STSOL.

For example, you are a Registered Nurse who plans to apply for a PR visa via the GSM stream. By checking the MLTSSL, you will find that there are a variety of RN roles and you should choose the one that is most applicable to you based on your work experience.  Since the RN roles are on the MLTSSL, you will be eligible to apply for a 189 or a 190 visa (if you have an approved state nomination).

  1. 2.       Applying for a 457 Temporary Work(Skilled) visa

When applying for a 457 visa, you should check if your role is listed either on the MLTSSL or STSOL of the legislative instrument IMMI 17/060.  This can instrument can be found on:


There are more roles available on the MLTSSL of this instrument (section 6) than the roles on the MLTSSL for the 189 visa (IMMI 17/072).

Also, note that this instrument has caveats on some roles.  Caveats are additional requirements that you or your employer should fulfil.  Ensure that these caveats can be satisfied before you apply for a 457 visa.

For example, you are a Cook and you have an employer who is willing to sponsor you on a 457 visa.  The role Cook is listed under the STSOL on IMMI 17/072 and has caveats 7 and 8 applied to it.  This means that you can be eligible to apply for a 457 visa as a Cook if the company that offered you the sponsorship is not involved in mass food production in a factory setting and is not a limited service restaurant.


  1. 3.       Applying for a 485 Temporary Graduate visa (Graduate Work stream)

The 485 visa has two streams – the graduate work stream and the post study work stream.  Only the graduate work stream requires a nominated occupation which should be listed on one of the occupation lists.

For the 485 visa graduate work stream, you should use the MLTSSL (section 7) of the legislative instrument IMMI 17/072. This is the same instrument as shown on item number 1 of this article as shown above.

For example, if you completed a Bachelor’s Degree in IT in Australia, you should find a role on the MLTSSL of IMMI 17/072 that is highly related to your qualification.  If your degree covered major subjects on software development, then you can choose either the Analyst Programmer or Developer Programmer role or if you covered more subjects on the networking and systems engineering then you can opt for the Computer Systems and Network Engineer role.

Make sure you have a positive skills assessment from your skills assessing body and satisfy the rest of the 485 visa requirements before you lodge your visa application.

In summary, checking one’s eligibility for Australian visas are getting more and more complicated and difficult.  Not only that there are now many lists to look at, the contents of the list also change regularly.  Ensure you look at the correct list before you decide to submit your visa application.

It would be best to get advice from reliable sources such as Registered Migration Agents or Immigration Lawyers registered at the OMARA.  You can find the list of registered agents/immigration lawyers on the link shown below:


DISCLAIMER: Please note that Australian immigration legislation changes constantly and the information presented above are valid at the time of writing this article, the 26th of August 2017.