Choosing an occupation for an Employer Sponsored visa

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There are various different visas within the Employer Sponsored Visa Program. These visas include the Temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa, Training and Research Visas, Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

Whether you are an employer or a visa applicant considering an employer sponsored visa, it is important that you understand the requirements for each of these visas in detail as the requirements differ significantly. The visas named above cover both temporary and permanent visa options.

One particular requirement of employer sponsored visas is that they require sponsorship by an employer to work in a particular occupation. It is the process of identifying this occupation that is critical right at the start of the process. Often, the process of choosing an occupation is not given as much attention as it should be, which can then cause a plethora of problems down the track.

Choosing the right occupation to nominate is critical to meet visa requirements for the following reasons:

  • the occupation chosen must be an accurate reflection of the role to be performed;
  • the occupation chosen must be appropriate to the applicant’s skills and qualifications;
  • the amount of salary to be paid must be appropriate for the particular occupation.

Common Questions:

Some common questions that I hear from employers and visa applicants when considering an occupation to nominate are:

Isn’t the occupation the same as the position I’m currently working in with my employer?

Isn’t the occupation the same as what is on the current position description for the role for my employee?

The answer is maybe. At times, yes, the occupation suitable to nominate may be the same as a current position. This could be for a very specific occupation; for example, Primary School Teacher. However, in many cases, choosing an appropriate occupation can be an involved and lengthy process because of the way occupations are specifically categorized in the government’s occupations dictionary (ANZSCO).

Which occupations can be nominated?

The intention of the employer sponsored visa program is to enable Australian employers to hire skilled overseas workers to fill shortages in Australia, so the occupations available for sponsorship are generally those that are considered “skilled.”

Those occupations that are considered “skilled” can be found on a number of government skills lists. Generally, for an employer sponsored visa, the occupation to be nominated must be found in one of these lists called the CSOL. However, for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa, no government skills list applies, but the occupations are actually all identifiable by their “skill level.”

If you are not involved in the migration industry, it can be very confusing to understand which skills list applies! Our Senior Migration Agent (John Bell) has also written a helpful article on the topic of skilled occupations lists.

How do I identify an occupation to nominate?

When assessing an application, the Department of Immigration uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) dictionary to source the descriptions and understanding of a particular occupation.

This means that when choosing an occupation to nominate, it is important that the occupation is both on the relevant government skills list and is identified by the ANZSCO title.

The ANZSCO dictionary includes both an occupation title and a list of tasks and responsibilities that would normally be performed by a person working in that occupation. When choosing an occupation to nominate, it is the list of tasks and responsibilities to be performed that must align with the ANZSCO description. The title of the occupation may not necessarily match—that is okay. In practical terms, you may find an ANZSCO title that is similar to the occupation to be performed; however, the list of tasks and responsibilities may in fact be different. This can often be misleading and it is important not to simply nominate an occupation because the titles seem to match.

As a starting point, it is advisable to understand the tasks and responsibilities of the occupation to be performed first and then locate the occupation in ANZSCO to nominate the occupation that aligns most closely with your list of tasks and responsibilities. An occupation may not match exactly with an ANZSCO description, but it is expected that the majority of tasks to be undertaken should align closely. Once you can identify an ANZSCO occupation that aligns, it is then important to identify an appropriate title for the occupation. As you can see, this process can be quite involved, and identifying the title of the position or occupation first can sometimes lead you down the wrong path.

How do I know if I have the skill level?

The ANZSCO dictionary outlines the skill level for each occupation. The skill level could be a formal qualification of a particular level (such as a Bachelor Degree), or in some cases, a particular amount of years of work experience may substitute for the formal qualification.

This is important because, although the tasks and responsibilities of the occupation may align for some employer sponsored visas, the applicant must be able to prove that they have the skills for that occupation.

For example, in your actual workplace your employer may consider you “skilled” to do your job after 2 years of work experience (without a qualification). and they may therefore think that they can sponsor you. However, generally this level of work experience will not be suitable for an employer sponsored visa, so it pays to really understand exactly what your occupation is, and what the skill level requirement is.

Use a professional:

Visa fees are non-refundable! Why risk doing a visa application yourself?

Beyond the financial issue, if you do not know what you are doing, you could do serious harm to your future visa application. You have to be very careful what you present to the Department of Immigration as it all stays on your permanent record. Seek professional guidance with these complex matters!

Do you want to know if you are eligible for an Employer Sponsored Visa?

If you are a visa applicant, take a free online assessment here to see if you qualify.

If you are an employer, click here to register with National Visas, and one of our migration agents will be in touch with you to discuss the general requirements with you free of charge.

If you are an employer, you may find this article titled What employers think they know but don’t – common misconceptions about sponsoring overseas workers, written by my colleague Ivanna Cheng, useful to dispel some myths you may have heard about the employer sponsored visa process.

I look forward to an opportunity to assist you with your visa application in the future.

Finding reliable, professional visa help can be very challenging. If you have found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it using the icon visible on the left-hand side of this page.

Esther Taft
Migration Advisor
MARN 1276126

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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