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Migration Policy Changes Create State Based Competition Over Healthcare Workers and Changes to Occupation Lists



In support of the South Australian Government’s on-going response to the Coronavirus, Immigration SA is implementing visa eligibility criteria changes and will prioritise the processing and nomination of health and medical workers.  

Both the Marshall State Government and the Morrison Federal Government have acknowledged the need to urgently find more medical and health professions to join the Australia’s Healthcare System. 

Epidemiology experts are predicting there will be an intense as well as lengthy infection period for the Coronavirus. 

The Australian healthcare system needs to be prepared to service our communities and reducing these visa criteria is just one of the strategies being implemented to increase recruitment to the necessary level of workforce required.

International student graduates of South Australia - medical healthcare professionals.
Medical and health professionals (listed on the Immigration SA website) who have graduated from a South Australian higher education provider and currently reside and work in South Australia in their nominated or closely related occupation who are completing a minimum of 40 hours per fortnight, are now exempt from the three-month work experience requirement. 

Applicants accessing the work experience exemption will only be eligible for nomination for a provisional 491 visa. New requirements apply to 190 nomination eligibility, read on to find out more.

Applicants currently working as a medical or health professional in South Australia Medical and health professionals (listed on the Immigration website) who currently live and work in South Australia in their nominated or closely related occupation, who are completing a minimum of 20 hours per week. Will  also find themselves exempt from Immigration SA’s current work experience requirements.

 Applicants accessing the work experience exemption are only eligible for a provisional 491 visa nomination. 

In huge news for Registered Nurses. The 5 year work experience requirement has been lifted for Registered Nurses working in their occupation or closely related occupation in South Australia. 

This is a significant shift as Registered Nurses have traditionally had more professional recognition requirements placed upon them. 

For medical and health professionals who are currently working in their nominated or closely related occupation in South Australia, a minimum of 65 points is still required, including state-nomination points, and competent English.  

190 nomination eligibility conditions – medical and health professionals
The Medical and health professionals listed on the Immigration SA website who are currently working for the last 12 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in South Australia (or the last 6 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in a country region of South Australia) remain eligible for a permanent 190 visa. This particular visa has been closed 

Priority processing for medical and health professionals working in South Australia 

Processing times for state nomination vary depending on the volume of applications received and applications from medical and health professionals will be prioritised in the first instance. If your current visa is within 2 weeks of expiration, and if you have not requested priority processing of your application. The best thing to do is lodge an online enquiry to Immigration SA as per the standard process.   

We hope these changes to Immigration SA’s visa conditions will lead to a stronger medical and healthcare worker population that is already working so hard to test, treat and reduce the rate of COVID-19 virus infections within South Australia. 

Changes to requirements for 190 visa subclass nomination 

Immigration SA also announced that it will be closing visa subclass 190 eligibility for applicants whohave not been currently working in South Australia for the last 12 months (or 6 months in a region).

Only applicants currently working for the last 12 months in their nominated or closely related occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in South Australia or the last 6 months in their nominated or closely related  occupation (minimum 20 hours per week) in a country region (of South Australia) will be eligible to apply for permanent 190 visa nomination.

If you do not meet these requirements, you are only eligible to apply for 491 visa nomination. This applies to all occupations except for the following:  

  • 132211 Finance Manager 

  • 149914 Financial Institution Branch Manager 

  • 221111 Accountant (General) 

  • 221112 Management Accountant 

  • 221113 Taxation Accountant 

  • 221211 Company Secretary 

  • 221213 External Auditor 

  • 221214 Internal Auditor 

  • 222112 Finance Broker 

  • 222311 Financial Investment Adviser 

  • 222312 Financial Investment Manager 

  • 224711 Management Consultant 

These occupations are no longer eligible for a subclass 190 nomination as they have reached their quota. Applicants for these occupations can still apply for nomination for the provisional 491 visa subclass. 

Occupations closed to offshore applicants. 

The following hospitality occupations are now closed for offshore applicants. 

  • 141111 Cafe or Restaurant Manager 

  • 351311 Chef 

  • 351411 Cook 

These changes are effective immediately for state nomination applications submitted to Immigration SA on or after 12pm on 27 March 2020. If you currently have a saved state nomination application that has not yet

been submitted to Immigration SA, you will need to meet the requirements above relevant to your nominated occupation or visa subclass.  

It is understandable that changes to the 190 Visa  and offshore hospitality occupation list will be upsetting for some, especially when PR status seems so close.

Unfortunately we can probably expect more list upgrades and changes over the coming months, as the various states and territories try to adjust to the needs of the COVID and then post COVID.


If you have any questions or concerns about putting together your visa application, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on +61 8351 9956 or email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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