The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) has undergone a much-deserved update, but what exactly is the ANZSCO? And how do you use it for preparing an Australian visa application?
What is the ANZSCO?
The ANZSCO is compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and other organisations, to standardise, analyse and disseminate occupation data for Australia and New Zealand.
In other words, the ANZSCO is a big dictionary of Australian and New Zealand jobs
The ANZSCO is used for statistical purposes, but more importantly, in your case, it helps identify your skilled occupation for an Australian visa. Identifying your occupation is essential for assessing your eligibility for several Australian visas, such as:
- General skilled migration (e.g. subclasses 189, 190 & 491); and
- Employer-sponsored visas (e.g. subclasses 482, 494 & 186)
The 2021 update of the ANZSCO is a result of the review of occupations in the following sectors:
- agriculture, forestry and fisheries
- cyber security
- naval ship building, and
- emerging occupations, such as Data Scientist
The ANZSCO is organised into Major, Minor & Unit groups and occupations. It defines Skill Levels, tasks, and specialisations in occupations.
You don't need a detailed understanding of these categories. However, a deeper knowledge of some items may be helpful.
To better understand the structure of the ANZSCO, let's take a look at the features by way of an example – Mechanical Engineer (ANZSCO 233512):
- Go to the ANZSCO section of the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
- Type in the example occupation – Mechanical Engineer - into the search bar.
- The result will list several 'Unit Groups'.
- We'll focus on Unit Group 2335 - Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers for our example.
- Select Unit Group 2335 - Industrial, Mechanical and Production Engineers.
You'll notice the following sections on this page.
The Skill Level describes the educational qualifications and/or employment experience (including any on-the-job training) required to carry out the occupation.
Skill levels range from 1 through 5. A full description of Skill Levels can be found here.
In the case of the Unit Group 2335 - Industrial, Mechanical or Production Engineers, the Skill Level is 1. The baseline educational qualification is a bachelors degree. In addition, some relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required.
Qualifications are identified using the Australian AQF training framework or by comparing such overseas equivalents.
In some cases, the Skill Level descriptions can specify whether employment experience may substitute for educational qualifications. For Engineers in this Unit Group, there is no employment concession to substitute for qualifications. A bachelors degree or higher is essential.
The Skill Level section also describes whether occupational licensing or registration is required. In this case, it may be required. More on licensing later, but take note of this item.
This section can sometimes be a little confusing for visa applicants. Since a Unit Group can contain several occupations, the list of tasks in this section can relate to any or all of the occupations listed below in the Occupations section.
In this case we have three occupations in the Unit Group
- Industrial Engineer (ANZSCO 233511)
- Mechanical Engineer (ANZSCO 233512)
- Production or Plant Engineer (ANZSCO 233513)
Continuing down this page you will find a full description of the individual occupations in the Unit Group.
We are drilling right down to the specifics of the occupation. The 'Tasks Include' section describes broader tasks that may apply across the three occupations, whereas the tasks in the individual occupations are more specific to those occupations.
Within each occupation listing, there are Occupation Specialisations.
Sometimes you may come across an occupation with the suffix 'nec'– or 'not elsewhere classified'. These are occupations that fit into a Unit Group, but not necessarily under one unifying occupation title. These nec occupations contain different specialisations. An example of such an occupation is:
Medical Practitioners nec (ANZSCO 253999). This occupation includes the following specialisations:
- Nuclear Medicine Physician
- Sports Physician
How to approach the ANZSCO when researching your visa eligibility
Arguably the most critical step of the Australian visa application process is assessing your eligibility. Identifying the correct occupation for a general skilled/ employer-sponsored visa can mean the difference between success and failure.
Let's take a look at how a Registered Migration Agent would typically approach the ANZSCO when assessing a client's eligibility.
ANZSCO and Skilled Occupation Lists
Sometimes identifying a client's occupation is simple – e.g. Teacher, Engineer, Nurse. However, often it is the case that there may be multiple options for an applicant.
In these 'grey' cases, Registered Migration Agents use the ANZSCO in conjunction with 'skilled occupation lists' (SOLs). The reason Registered Migration Agents need to be aware of the SOLs is simple - certain occupations have greater opportunities for Permanent Residency over others.
For example, Mechanical Engineer (ANZSCO 233512) can be an occupation used for the purpose of all work/skilled visa subclasses, since it is on the MLTSSL. However, an Art Teacher (ANZSCO 249211) is on the STSOL and has more limited Permanent Residency options.
Exploring all possible occupations for a client is essential in keeping open as many visa options as possible. With this in mind, you may not want to end your search through ANZSCO without first cross-referencing your results with the SOLs.
To identify the most beneficial occupation available to a client, a Registered Migration Agent will never overlook Occupation Specialisations.
In our example case of Mechanical Engineer, it may not have been immediately evident to use 'Heat and Ventilation Engineer' as a search term in the ANZSCO search bar. Don't be afraid to search multiple versions of your job titles, you may find they appear in the Specialisations list of an occupation.
'Tasks include' vs. Occupation-specific tasks
Suppose you've used an Occupation Specialisation or even found a promising Unit Group. In that case, a Registered Migration Agent will often firstly look at the occupation-specific tasks to assess whether a client's experience is closely related. If one occupation stands out, then examine the 'Tasks Include' section to see whether a solid number of these tasks are relevant.
There does not need to be a complete match for each of these tasks, but a good deal of similarity needs to be seen. Don't limit yourself by strictly requiring all 'Tasks Include' to apply for your occupation. There is flexibility and commonality.
Skills Assessment Authorities
Another helpful resource to compliment your ANZSCO search is the Skills Assessment Authority for your proposed occupation. Skills Assessment is a large topic in itself, so I won't go into too much detail here. However, be aware that Skills Assessment authority requirements may give you hints about whether your educational qualifications and experience are suitable.
Some Skills Assessment Authorities have specific requirements for individual occupations. It may explicitly exclude qualifications and/or job specialisations. The VETASSESS factsheet for a Civil Engineer Technician (ANZSCO312212) is an example of accepted employment context and job specialisations.
In the case of Mechanical Engineers, consult Engineers Australia for skills assessment requirements.
When researching your occupation in the ANZSCO, there are a few things that you need to pay careful attention to.
Licensing requirements can be confusing and unclear. Different states and territories may have different licensing requirements, particularly for trades workers. For some visas, you need to be clear about your licensing requirements, otherwise your visa application may be refused.
If you rely on overseas educational qualifications, you need to know how your education system compares to the Australian AQF framework. Some qualifications are simple on the face – such as Bachelors, Masters and PhD Degrees – however, some trade qualifications are not so readily comparable.
You need to make sure you have the required qualification listed in ANZSCO. Consulting an education agent with access to country-specific education information may confirm your overseas qualification is equivalent to the Australian AQF standard.
If you rely on several periods of different work experience, particularly with different job titles, you need to make sure each previous job is closely related to the proposed occupation.
Determining closely related work experience can be complicated, but there are two essential things to consider.
1. Matching Skill Level
At a minimum, I would recommend you make sure that the Skill Level for each job matches. For example, Mechanical Engineer (ANZSCO 233512) and Mechanical Engineering Technician (ANZSCO 312512). The Engineer is positioned at Skill Level 1, whereas the Technician is at Skill Level 2.
2. Minor vs. Unit Groups
In our example of Mechanical Engineer, the other two Engineers – Production and Industrial Engineers - fall in the same Unit Group. In these cases, it may be arguable that work experience as an Industrial Engineer is closely related to Mechanical Engineer experience.
However, work experience within Minor Groups may be more difficult to argue successfully. The Minor Group in our example is 233 Engineering Professionals. For example, could work experience as a Civil Engineer (ANZSCO 233211) be used towards nominating a Mechanical Engineer? The answer to this question would require further investigation into a client's specific circumstance.
If you wish to rely on 'closely related' experience within a Minor Group (or otherwise), I highly recommend consulting a Registered Migration Agent.
The bottom line - when using ANZSCO, choose wisely
The ANZSCO is incredibly important when choosing a potential occupation to nominate for an Australian visa. It ensures you have the qualifications, work experience and/or licensing required to carry out the job. Besides, this is the primary resource for Case Officers when deciding whether you are suitably matched to the proposed occupation.
Choosing the correct occupation to nominate for an Australian visa can significantly impact your pathway to permanent residence and should be done with extreme care.
If you have concerns or questions about your proposed occupation, contact us for a full assessment of your situation.
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
The information provided in this article or anywhere on this website is of a general nature, it does not relate to your specific circumstance. This general information must not be used to form any assessment or opinion on individual visa eligibility. For an individual assessment you must contact us for a consultation session to confirm if you are eligible for any visa.