At EMSA, we push boundaries to ensure that our clients have the most up to date information and the best chance of achieving their residency dreams in Australia.

As you know, each year, Australia’s skilled occupation list is updated and this usually happens on the 1st of July. Although this year it was delayed until October due to COVID19.

This list currently has more than 200 occupations listed and is updated regularly by the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA).

What you may not know is that each occupation has an upper limit (ceiling) on the number of places that can be granted. This means that some occupations have a lot more places available compared to others. It also means “oversubscribed” occupations wanting an invitation are pro-rata, meaning they aren’t open to invitation every month, but every other month.

There are also higher points in certain occupations due to the high competition for places.
In addition, the ceiling is not a target to meet, but rather the maximum allowed in that occupation for the financial year. BUT Occupation ceilings do not apply to State or Territory Nominated or Employer Sponsored visas, which is good news for many sat in the “Expression of Interest or EOI Queue” for a 189 visa.

Occupation ceilings

This financial year the total places available is capped at 160,000. Approximately half of those places will be given to skilled occupations (and the rest allocated to family visas).
The occupation ceiling for trades such as mechanic, carpenter, electricians, etc has each been allocated between 5000 and 8000 places per occupation.

Recent news noted that Australian Apprenticeships are at a ten year low for enrolments which is likely the reason that so many trades are given so many places for potential migrants, as there are less domestic students achieving these qualifications and thus these occupations remain in high demand in Australia.
Registered nurses is more than 17,000 this year, which has increased by almost 2000 places compared to last year!

Secondary school teachers and software programmers places are more than 8,000 while for engineering professionals places vary from 1000 for Electronics, Electrical and Chemical engineers to 3722 places for Civil engineers.

Occupations in demand


For 2020/21, here is a list of the occupations with the most occupations in demand in the skilled migration program in Australia:

  • Nurses – 17,859
  • Electricians – 8,021
  • Carpenters and Joiners – 6,812
  • Secondary School Teachers – 8,716
  • Metal fitters and Machinists – 6,335
  • Motor Mechanics – 5,205
  • Management Consultant – 4,526
  • Construction Managers – 7,145
  • Software and Application Programmers – 8,405
  • Structural Steel and Welding Trade Workers – 4866


If we compare the allocation of places for occupations this year versus last year, we can see that most have been adjusted slightly

Accountants places have been reduced to 1000, IT occupations have also seen a slight decrease in places and some remain the same.


Looking for study pathways to migration?

If you are thinking about studying in Australia to apply for any of these occupations, our team at EMSA can assist you in finding your best pathway to boost your chances to obtain permanent residency.

In fact, we have created an infographic with the Top 6 Occupations to study to gain residency in Australia.


Already have any of these occupations?
If you have an occupation on this list or on the skilled occupation list, the worldwide team at EMSA can assist you in applying for residency.


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