We reveal the top 50 occupations on the Skilled Occupation Shortage List that give you the best chance of getting a PR visa invitation for migrating to Australia.


Getting a skilled migration visa for Australia has never been more challenging. The number of visas issued has been reduced, processing times are slower and UK migrants are facing increasing competition from countries such as India and China.

However, thousands of people do successfully migrate from the UK to Australia every year and there are still many places available for people with the right skills. So your dream of starting a new life down under is still very achievable – especially if your experience is needed.

We have compiled a list of the top 50 jobs most in demand for migrants in Australia for 2019-2020, based on the recently released Occupation Ceilings for the Skilled Migration Shortage List.

Moving to Australia for work

There has always been an attraction for non-Australian residents looking to work there. A lot of that has to do with the lifestyle, the salary and, obviously, the stunning weather. Australia has always had a clear and fair policy on immigration and welcomes migrant workers, so if you are planning a move down under and meet the criteria, you’ll feel more than accepted.

In fact, there are thousands of migrant workers who try to apply for a working visa in Australia every year. The best way you can secure employment and a work-based visa, is through the Australian Skilled Migration program. This applies to the occupations listed in the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

The list is updated regularly by the DoHA and there are at present over 200 occupations on there. This list governs the areas where migrant skilled workers are most sought after in the country, so you can see if your skills are in demand in the land of Oz.

Although there are a high number of UK migrant workers in the country, it’s important to remember that the list is not just for the UK, but for all over the world. Before we go any further and discuss some of the occupations and industries where there is the most demand for migrant workers, it may be worth explaining what is exactly meant by the term ‘occupation ceilings’, as it’s likely to be unfamiliar to many.

What are Occupation Ceilings?

There is a restriction on the amount of Expression of Interest (EOI) or invites that will be issued by the Australian Government for a particular occupation group. This is what is referred to as the occupation ceilings.

They are basically set to make sure there’s not just a small number of different occupations making up the biggest percentage of the program for skilled migrant workers. Once the cited limit has been met, there will be no additional invitations for the occupation group in question until the next year.

It means that even the lower ranking occupation groups will be able to offer prospective migrants an invitation to work in the country. As the occupation ceilings have been released for 2019-2020, you may be curious to know which jobs are most in demand in Australia for migrant workers.

Although the list below shows the top 50 occupations in terms of volume of invitations, other highly skilled jobs may have less applicants so you still could have a good chance.

The Top 50 Jobs Most In Demand for Migrants in Australia 2019-2020

Rank Job Category Occupation ID Occupation Ceiling 2019-2020
1 Registered Nurses 2544 17,509
2 Software and Applications Programmers 2613 8,748
3 Electricians 3411 8,624
4 Carpenters and Joiners 3312 8,536
5 Secondary School Teachers 2414 8,052
6 Metal Fitters and Machinists 3232 7,007
7 Motor Mechanics 3212 6,399
8 Livestock Farmers 1213 5,934
9 Management consultant 2247 5,269
10 Plumbers 3341 5,060
11 Construction Managers 1331 4,983
12 Solicitors 2713 4,650
13 Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials 4523 4,071
14 Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers 3223 3,983
15 Civil Engineering Professionals 2332 3,772
16 General Practitioners and Resident Medical officers 2531 3,550
17 University Lecturers and Tutors 2421 3,407
18 Painting Trades Workers 3322 3,330
19 Other Specialist Managers 1399 3,044
20 Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists 2621 2,887
21 Accountants 2211 2,746
22 Chefs 3513 2,738
23 ICT Business and Systems Analysts 2611 2,587
24 Computer Network Professionals 2631 2,553
25 Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers 2411 2,294
26 Architects and Landscape Architects 2321 2,171
27 Social Workers 2725 2,128
28 Cabinetmakers 3941 2,112
29 Plasterers 3332 2,100
30 Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics 3421 1,851
31 Psychologists 2723 1,832
32 Health and Welfare Services Managers 1342 1,785
33 Physiotherapists 2525 1,784
34 Wall and Floor Tilers 3334 1,682
35 Bricklayers and Stonemasons 3311 1,610
36 Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers 2335 1,600
37 Auditors, Company Secretaries and Corporate Treasurers 2212 1,552
38 Medical Laboratory Scientists 2346 1,505
39 Environmental Scientists 2343 1,472
40 Electronics Trades Workers 3423 1,313
41 Other Medical Practitioners 2539 1,250
42 Midwives 2541 1,218
43 Medical Imaging Professionals 2512 1,203
44 Special Education Teachers 2415 1,111
45 Artistic Directors, and Media Producers and Presenters 2121 1,098
46 Occupational Therapists 2524 1,082
47 Animal Attendants and Trainers 3611 1,051
48 Electronics Engineers 2334 1,000
49 Other Engineering Professionals 2339 1,000
50 Telecommunications Engineering Professionals 2633 1,000


As you can see, there is a wide range of jobs covering every sector you can imagine so, if you are planning your move to Australia in the next year or so, there’s really no limit to the types of professions being accepted – and of course these change year to year. If you have a certain qualification that is not in demand, then with a top up or booster course you could change your skill level and become eligible to apply for one of the jobs on the list.

For example, if you are a primary school teacher in the UK, you may be able to access a Train to Teach course which will provide you with the needed Qualified Teacher Status to teach secondary school children, a high demand occupation.

Now we’ve looked at the full list for 2019-2020, we’ll run down the top 10 jobs in demand down under and see how you could be setting up your new life in Australia via one of these access routes.

The Top Occupations In Demand in Australia 2019-2020

Nurses and Medical Staff

There are a lot of different factors that come into play and mean that Australia is a suitable destination for any registered nurse or other medical staff looking for somewhere to move to and work. Due to it being a growing industry coupled with the fact that there are quite a number of nurses and medical employees who will be reaching retirement age soon, there is an increased demand for nurses, giving high occupational ceilings for roles in this sector.

The health care industry overall has had the biggest increase and growth in 5 years, and this is expected to continue through to 2022. The occupations in this industry that are the most in demand are registered nurses, disabled and aged carers, personal care workers, receptionists and nursing support.

Software Programmer and IT

There is currently a growing and critical need within the tech industry for software developers of various abilities, such as those experienced in user experience, mobile and back-end design, front end and full stack developers. In fact, according to a report from last year,  9 of the most advertised jobs out of a list of 15 were for UI/UE designers, software engineers and developers.

Trades and Construction

Given that the construction industry always has a demand, especially for technicians and trade workers such as electricians, carpenters, joiners and plumbers, it’s not surprising that these rank so highly on the most in demand list of professions. There has also been a demand for non-skilled labourers too. So, if you are experienced in this kind of work, you will have an easier time getting work.


Although in the past there was a huge demand for migrant primary school teachers in Australia, that has changed in recent years. There are still options for migrants looking to work in teaching though, particularly in secondary schools in more regional parts of the country. That is why it still ranks so highly in the occupational ceilings list.

It is even the case that many qualified teachers from Australia need to go out to the regional parts of the country for their first employer. Within this group, the least in demand is undoubtedly inner city female primary school teachers.

White Collar Management/Professionals

Just as is the case with software developers, there is a growing demand for various white-collar management and professional positions. Including the likes of those involved in marketing, advertising and accounting. Therefore, if you have experience and qualifications in these kinds of positions, you are likely to find it easier landing a job.

Migration has always favoured skilled workers in Australia, so if you have a management or professional role  or skill involved in this area, you are in good standing for employment.

Automotive and Engineering Trades Workers

Motor mechanics are in demand all across Australia and if you are in a specialist area such as automotive electrician, automatic transmission mechanic, automotive air-conditioning mechanic or brake mechanic, even better.

This category also includes other trades such as metal machinists, sheet metal workers, panel beaters, welders, fitters and metal fabricators, although demand for particular specialisations varies across different Australian states.


Whilst, like many Western countries, Australia has a demand for temporary farm labourers to help with mundane tasks such as crop picking, there are also many opportunities for more highly skilled agricultural workers.

No matter whether you’re a dairy or mixed crop farmer you’ll find farming on an unimaginable scale in Australia with good salaries to match.


Although it may not feature as highly in the list of the industry and professions with the most demand for migrant workers, there is still huge demand for skilled and qualified engineers of all kinds.

This includes mechanical, industrial, electronics, transport and electrical engineers.


Other occupations on the skilled migration list 2019-2020

In total there are over 200 occupations listed on the Skilled Migration list, including some specialist jobs with low ceilings where you may still have a good chance of being accepted if you have the right specialist skills and there are fewer people applying.

Here is a list of some such occupations:

Job Category


Occupation ID Occupation Ceiling


Electrical Engineers 2333 1,000
Chemical and Materials Engineers 2331 1,000
Life Scientists 2345 1,000
Civil Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians 3122 1,000
Multimedia Specialists and Web Developers 2612 1,000
Actuaries, Mathematicians and Statisticians 2241 1,000
Chemists, and Food and Wine Scientists 2342 1,000
Mining Engineers 2336 1,000
Agricultural and Forestry Scientists 2341 1,000
Cartographers and Surveyors 2322 1,000
Economists 2243 1,000
Geologists, Geophysicists and Hydrogeologists 2344 1,000
Land Economists and Valuers 2245 1,000
Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals 2349 1,000
Speech Professionals and Audiologists 2527 1,000
Actors, Dancers and Other Entertainers 2111 1,000
Automotive Electricians 3211 1,000
Barristers 2711 1,000
Boat Builders and Shipwrights 3991 1,000
Child Care Centre Managers 1341 1,000
Chiropractors and Osteopaths 2521 1,000
Electrical Distribution Trades Workers 3422 1,000
Electrical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians 3123 1,000
Engineering Managers 1332 1,000
Glaziers 3331 1,000
Internal Medicine Specialists 2533 1,000
Music Professionals 2112 1,000
Optometrists and Orthoptists 2514 1,000
Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals 2519 1,000
Panel beaters 3241 1,000
Podiatrists 2526 1,000
Precision Metal Trades Workers 3233 1,000
Psychiatrists 2534 1,000
Sheet metal Trades Workers 3222 1,000
Sportspersons 4524 1,000
Surgeons 2535 1,000
Telecommunications Technical Specialists 3132 1,000
Veterinarians 2347 1,000


How to get a visa if your occupation is not on the list

Before you submit your Expression of Interest form it is very important that you do your research and seek advice from experts. Our article on How to make a successful EOI application on Skillselect will help you get started. It also provides contact details for reliable registered MARA visa agents.

Don’t despair if your role is not on the most wanted list or if you don’t receive an invitation.

There is still another route to getting a visa – being sponsored by an employer. The Employer Nomination Scheme visa lets skilled workers, who are nominated by their employer, live and work in Australia permanently.

PSS International Removals are in touch with a number of employers and recruiters actively looking to find skilled workers in the UK looking to move either to Australia or elsewhere in the world.

If you would like us to put you in touch, then complete this form on our website detailing your skills and requirements. We will then forward your details in confidence and we take no payment for this service.