Australia Covid-19 border closure Covid-19 has made arriving in Australia for work or any other purpose very difficult. Limited visa options, border closures, travel exemptions and mandatory quarantine do not help considering Australia as an easy destination to work. It is estimated that Australian borders will not open earlier than in the beginning of 2022 either. With this grim outlook you might be wondering whether there any options for prospective offshore applicants? Well, with a bit of luck you might land in Down Under if you are able to meet certain criteria.


There is no doubt that having a ‘right’ occupation which is in demand is a critical starting point. The Department of Immigration has published a Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) which a the time of writing this article covers 44 occupations. These occupations are mainly in the fields of engineering, finance, healthcare and IT. Not only do these occupations may lead to eligibility for 482, 494, 186 or 187 visa but the actual visa processing is prioritised at the same time. Additionally some states and regions accept offshore applications. At the moment only South Australia and Tasmania issue invitations for those applicants located outside Australia


  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Accountant (General) (221111)
  • Management Accountant (221112)
  • Taxation Accountant (221113)
  • External Auditor (221213)
  • Internal Auditor (221214)
  • Surveyor (232212)
  • Cartographer (232213)
  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Transport Engineer (233215)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum) (233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (233612)
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Veterinarian (234711)
  • Hospital Pharmacist (251511)*
  • Industrial Pharmacist (251512)*
  • Retail Pharmacist (251513)*
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist (251912)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioners nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec (261399)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Social Worker (272511)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)
  • Chef (351311)

Points-tested vs employer-sponsored visas

For all points-tested visas, among other requirements, a state (190 visa) or regional (491) nomination needs to be secured before actual visa application. At the time of writing these visas allow applicants to apply offshore if their nominated position is related to supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry). Other examples include roles related to Covid-19 recovery and providing services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available. 189 (Skilled Independent) visa, although the most beneficial for prospective applicants, is not being granted for offshore applicants at this time.

In case of 482 and 186 visas offshore applications are considered if sponsorship relates to one of occupations listed on PMSOL as listed above. Therefore if for example you are a Chef sponsored by an Australian employer and holding 482 visa you are eligible for an individual exemption to arrive in Australia now.

Travel exemption

Once your state/regional/employer nomination and visa have been approved you will need to lodge an online application for travel exemption. Employer-sponsored PMSOL occupations are listed on individual exception list by the Department of Immigration. With sufficient supporting documentation you should have no problem to have such exemption granted. It is important to note that travel exemption will be always required for temporary visas (e.g. 482 & 491). For permanent visas (e.g. 190 & 186) you are exempt from travel exemption (no application needed) since these are permanent visas.


Since the pandemic started the quarantine period of 2 weeks and out-of-pocket fees haven’t changed. Each state/territory has its own right to set the quarantine fees but generally these fees are as follows:

  • $3,000 for first adult
  • $1,000 each additional adult
  • $500 traveller under 18 but over 3 years old
  • no fee for children under 3 years old