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Published on August 28th, 2009 | by john.weir


Changes to skilled migration demand list for Australia

The Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) is crucial for the majority of people applying for skilled migration to Australia – in fact, 73% of skilled independent visa applications rely on MODL points to meet the pass mark for the visa points test. The MODL is a list of occupations where skill shortages in Australia have been identified and so extra points are allocated to migrants in these fields. The current MODL review being undertaken by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship could therefore have substantial implications for a large number of prospective British migrants.

The first report of the MODL review has recently been released and highlights a number of important changes being considered for skilled independent visas (subclass 175) and the general skilled migration programme overall. These are:

  • A new MODL to replace both the existing MODL and the Critical Skills List (CSL) – the list of occupations eligible for priority processing.
  • The number of occupations on the new MODL to significantly decrease from the current 106 occupations to more likely resemble the CSL (with only 55 occupations).
  • Possible caps on the number of skilled independent visas available in specific occupations.
  • Minimum qualification and increased work experience requirements for the award of MODL points.
  • Independent skilled migration to no longer be the driving force of the skilled migration programme, but rather a supplement to state and employer sponsored migration which are now the priority.

These proposed changes could reduce the ability of some prospective migrants to obtain permanent residency in Australia. With the review due to be completed by the end of October, new MODL arrangements are scheduled to be phased in shortly afterwards, possibly before the end of the year. As the number of occupations on the MODL is set to be cut, people in affected occupations may no longer be able to reach the pass mark required for a skilled independent visa – the subclass 175 generally being considered the premier skilled visa available. Given that it can take a few months to obtain the skills assessment needed to lodge a visa application, if your occupation is currently on the MODL you are advised to act quickly to protect yourself from the upcoming potential changes. Similarly, if your occupation is on the Critical Skills List then applying now will ensure you enjoy priority processing, before the CSL is phased out. In either case, if you submit your visa application before the proposed changes take place your application should not be affected by these new regulations.

The consequences of the looming MODL change on the ability of many individuals to migrate to Australia is perhaps best illustrated by a case study. The table below shows how a 35 year old British applicant would typically fare on the visa points test with their occupation currently on the MODL and then if it were taken off the MODL in the proposed regulation change.

35 year old British applicant working in a skilled occupation

for at least 3 of the past 4 years

Pass mark for skilled independent visa (subclass 175) = 120 POINTS

Current points test with occupation

on existing MODL







(with English test) 25



Work Experience




(with English test) 130


Eligible for skilled independent visa as passes visa points test

Future points test with occupation taken off MODL







(with English test) 25



Work Experience




(with English test) 115


Not eligible for skilled independent visa as fails visa points test

Please note this example does not factor into the points test those points categories that do not apply to the vast majority of UK applications (eg. community language points, Australian study points, etc).

As shown, an applicant in the above situation would become ineligible for a skilled independent visa if their occupation was taken off the MODL and be forced to explore other available migration options. For prospective migrants who are older or have less work experience than in the case study above, the impact of the proposed changes would also be failing the points test for the subclass 175 visa.

However it is not all bad news as the MODL review does also outline some positive developments for migrants. While previously the MODL has usually changed every 6 months on an ad-hoc basis, a move towards annually scheduled MODL updates is proposed. This will protect future migrants from unexpected changes, allowing them to make firmer migration plans. Also new regulations are likely to allow a limited number of 40 and 50 point occupations to be included on the new MODL, which will broaden the migration options of people in a few select occupations.

Even with these proposed changes Australia is in no way closing the door to migrants with its 2009-10 migrant intake set to be its largest in history. It is just becoming slightly more selective in who is eligible, with many avenues to permanent residency remaining open. State sponsorship for example will come to play an even greater role in qualifying UK applicants for skilled visas. This means however, the exact location of where one can settle for their first two years in Australia is somewhat restricted. It is also likely more applicants will have to rely upon family and employer sponsorship in the future.

To safeguard yourself against the proposed new regulations contact a Registered Migration Agent who can advise you fully on your current options and how the proposed MODL changes may affect you. If your occupation is on the existing MODL you should consider starting the visa process immediately to ensure the skilled independent visa (subclass 175) remains available to you.

By John Adams – meet John and get a FREE visa assessment at our Down Under Live show at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

John Adams is the principal Registered Migration Agent of Immigration2oz.com – john@immigration2oz.com, Ph: +44 (0)1483 230 483. A full list of the occupations on the existing MODL and which may therefore be affected can be found at –


25 Responses to Changes to skilled migration demand list for Australia

  1. Ari says:

    Hi John
    I am a chef (Sous Chef) and applied for australian migration in January 2010 (State sponsorship), will I able to get it according to the new skilled list. Please reply.

    Thank you

  2. Mr. Patel says:

    Hi john,

    Previously , I was eligible for 135 points but due to new rule ‘Occupation in demand point’ (20 points) has been removed. Hence, now i am not eligible for independent visa (subclass 175).

    What should i do ? Plz. give me your valuable input.

    Mr. Patel

  3. Hi kiinari says:

    i have finished my cetificafe 3 in majer commercial coockery.i have worked experience and ielts score each modul 6 should i put my tra or not because i have confuced this cookery is gone modl plese reply

  4. avi says:

    hi again

    if any one can help me then please write to me on narayan_harish2004@hotmail.com

  5. avi says:

    hi john

    a thinking of migrating to auz i have done diploma from tafe nsw and same for my spouse i we have done ielts test as well and scored 6.5 band score and my spouse scored 5.5 am a property manager in fiji and she is a office manager we have not yet reached 30yrs and also have a sponsor in vic aus who is my wifes brother note we have attained our qualification in july but bothof us have a total of 6yr experince

    what visa shell we apply on and how long would this take

  6. kiran says:

    i have applied for 175 subclass in november 2007 and still waiting for co.please tell how long i will wait.

  7. Dipender says:

    Hi john,

    I am coming to uk on student visa for 1 year can i transfer to melbourne … Can you plz let me know how can i transfer to melbourne..as an international student and the whole processs

  8. urmil kumar says:

    dear all
    this is urmil kmar from india. i have applied for state nomination under skilled migration. but after getting the sponsership i do not know how much time it will take for proccessing. i want to know that according to new changes (23 sept 2009) how much time it will take. pls. help me if any one has a information regarding this matter.. pls. send your answer uktanwar@rediffmail.com. i hope some one will give me remarkable support.
    urmil kumar tanwar

  9. Anton says:

    Yes, I have checked. There are many states where I can get a sponsorship. Do you mean that it’s a priority occupation?

  10. Anton says:

    Hi John,

    Do you think they will put Mechanical Engineer on Future Skills List. Do you think it’s a priority occupation for Australia????

  11. Tim says:

    I use to work in Oz on a 457 visa before the downtown, could never get PR due to my occupation (urban planner) even though its on the CSL list. Hopefully Oz will put it on the new MODL and through out some of the joke trade professions foreign TAFE students use as a ticket in.

  12. ryan.mee says:

    thanks for the advice john, do u recommend to pay and get advice from a migration agent? me and my long term girlfriend want to get residency and are saving so i can go down the student visa route to then try and get residency.ive been told that you dont need work experience if you have studied in an australian education so hope to study a job on the list so that i dont have to wait to gain 5 years experience.

    • john.weir says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Won’t hurt to have a word with a really good agent. Try John Adams at Immigration2Oz – he’ll give you an idea of what your options are. His number is (0) 1483 230 483

  13. sandra407 says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  14. ryan.mee says:

    hi john,
    im thinking about doing a student visa in chef coursing next year in oz.
    do you think chefs and cooks will be removed from the list when the changes come in? im currently saving up so that i can study there and eventually hopefully migrate

    • john.weir says:

      Hi Ryan,

      The good thing about a student visa is that it will give you a stepping stone to upgrading your visa while you are there. I can’t predict how the skilled jobs list will change next year but I do think that you stand a good chance of getting a job if you are actually there.

      Best of luck,


  15. Susie Pyne says:

    hi John
    Do you think there will be any changes for nurses?
    i know nursing has long been a bit of a ‘golden ticket’ into aus, so do you think there may be changes to the pathway for nurses?

  16. Rashmi Ramachandra says:

    Hi John,

    I have applied for the skilled migration in Dec’08 and no case officer is allotted to me as yet.

    I have 130 points (assessed as accountant, age 29, Female, India) but only problem is i have not scored 7 on all IELTS exam. I am planning to retake the IELTS exam, so that my application is processed in priority.

    whats your suggestion on that? Please advise.


  17. John Adams says:


    Applications such as yours which are lodged before the proposed upcoming change will not be affected by any new regulations. The regulations in place on the date you submit your visa application will apply. You should therefore still receive MODL points and CSL processing.

    This equally applies to any applications not submitted yet, but lodged before the changes come in. Therefore, prospective migrants have a limited window of opportunity to beat these proposed regulations changes.

    I hope this information helps.

    – John Adams
    Registered Migration Agent #0426480

  18. Asim Zafar says:

    I have applied on 1st June 2009. I am in MODL and in CSL as well, can you just tell me will these new changes affect me as well?

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