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Priority Processing Arrangements for Permanent Skilled and Temporary Work Visas

Visa priority processing update

Updates on priority process categories

The Minister for Immigration has updated his directions to the Department of Home Affairs which outline the order of processing for permanent skilled and temporary work visas (specifically the Subclass 482 visas). A summary of the new priority processing order is below.

Both Directions 91 and 92 give the highest priority to Hong Kong or British National (Overseas) passport holders in each group. For example, Hong Kong Nationals applying for a Sc 188 Significant Investor visa will receive the highest priority of applicants for that visa but will receive lower priority than applicants of other nationalities applying for the Sc 186 Employer Sponsored Skilled Migration visa.

This continues the commitment Australia made in 2020 to assist Hong Kong residents leave the country. 

Permanent or Provisional Skilled Migration

Direction 92 outlines the order in which all permanent or provisional skilled migration visas are to be processed.

Priority Category

Which visas

Explanation of Terms


186 (Employer Sponsored Skilled Migration) visa (PSMOL/Agricultural Sector occupations & Global Talent Employer Sponsored)

Priority Skilled Migration Occupation List (PMSOL) contains occupations deemed essential to Australia getting through and recovering from the pandemic. View the full list here.


Agriculture Sector Occupation is an occupation within an agriculture or food production sector that has been identified by the Department as being of critical importance during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic recovery.


188 visa (significant invest stream)



187 (Regional Skilled Migration Scheme) visa PSMOL/Agricultural Sector occupations & Global Talent Employer Sponsored



186/187/494 Critical sector

Critical Sector is an industry or part of an industry, that has been identified by the Department as being of critical importance during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic recovery. The Department of Home Affairs will provide information about the sectors on its website. Currently these include:

  • agriculture
  • food processing
  • health care
  • aged care
  • disability care
  • child care or
  • tourism and hospitality


186/187 visas (Labour Agreement or Designated Area Migration Agreement)



494 (Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa



491 (skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa



186/187 visa (all remaining applications)



489 (Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa



190 (Skilled – Nominated) visa



190 (Skilled – Independent) visa



All other applications


Employer Sponsored Temporary Work (subclass 482)

Direction 93 outlines the order in which 482 visa application will be processed by the Department of Home Affairs.


Class included in this priority


PMSOL occupations; Global Talent Employer Sponsored Agreement; Global Talent Program; and Agricultural Sector occupations;


Other critical sectors


Roles being undertaken in regional areas of Australia


Employed by an Accredited Sponsor


Employed under a Designated Area Migration Agreement or Labour Agreement


All other applications


The priority processing lists are complex however they are not a radical departure from the Directions already in place for the 2020/2021 program year.  We do not expect the processing times already provided to clients to change substantially. Having said this, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that processing times can and will continue to changes with little or no notice. Reach out to your Roam Migration Law adviser if you have any questions about the processing times for your application.

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Australian immigration law is complex and its policies and visa eligibility criteria are changing regularly. For additional and current information on the issues discussed, please book a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers.

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