Individuals and Travellers


How the Department uses occupation information?

There are two main reasons why the department needs to capture information about the occupations of certain visa and citizenship applicants. These are:

  1. as a means of assessing whether the occupations of persons applying for various skilled and temporary business visas based upon having a skilled occupation meet Australian requirements
  2. to assist in short and long-term settlement and other planning, survey or reporting processes.

To achieve these two objectives, the department needs to collect occupation information in a consistent manner across all its programs. It is also necessary to collect occupation information according to the same standards used by other government agencies throughout Australia, many of which rely on occupation data originally captured by the department.

What is ANZSCO?

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is a classification system that provides for the standardised collection, analysis, and dissemination of occupation data. It was developed jointly by the following organisations for use in the collection, publication and analysis of occupation statistics:

  • the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

ANZSCO replaces the former Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), which was previously used by the department. ANZSCO provides a more accurate reflection of current occupations within the Australian and New Zealand labour markets than the former ASCO standard.

Why the Department is introducing ANZSCO?

ASCO is no longer supported or used by the ABS (its developer), as it is no longer considered to accurately represent occupations within the Australian labour market. ANZSCO is already used by:

  • ABS in surveys and censuses, and to source all new occupation classifications
  • DEEWR to analyse emerging and future workforce skills needs, and inform skilled migration settings.

In line with a whole-of-government requirement to use ANZSCO, the department is introducing this standard to capture occupation information in its visa, settlement and citizenship programs.

ANZSCO will also be used within those skilled visa programs, where this is a requirement for visa eligibility, as the standard by which a visa applicant's skills to undertake a specific nominated skilled occupation in Australia are assessed.

ANZSCO implementation date

The Department will introduce the ANZSCO standard into all its programs on 1 July 2010.

Visa and citizenship programs impacted by the introduction of ANZSCO

All visa and citizenship programs that collect information about a client's occupation will be impacted. However, the major impact will be on those Skilled Migration and Temporary Business Entry visa programs where assessment of a visa applicant's skills to undertake a specific occupation in Australia is the main processing requirement.
See: Introduction of ANZSCO – Transitional arrangements

For all other applications lodged on or after 1 July 2010, the department will use ANZSCO codes and occupation information instead of ASCO in its systems and records. This applies to all visa applications where an occupation does not form part of the assessment for visa eligibility, and applicants for Australian citizenship by conferral or descent.

Example: If a person is applying for a partner or humanitarian visa, their occupation information will be captured according to the new ANZSCO standard for statistical and reporting purposes only, and the application will not be affected in any other way.

Differences between ANZSCO and ASCO

A brief summary of the structure of ANZSCO can be found below.
See: Structure of ANZSCO ( 18KB PDF file)

While the ANZSCO standard appears superficially similar to the former ASCO standard, the underlying concepts between the two are very different. The following provides some examples of these differences.

Group classification

There are significant changes to the way occupations are classified at the Major Group level.

  • Tradespersons were listed at ASCO Major Group 4 but are mostly listed in ANZSCO Major Group 3, together with technicians.
  • Associate Professionals were listed at ASCO Major Group 3 but no longer exist as a separate group in ANZSCO. They are now spread across a number of ANZSCO Major Groups (primarily 3 and 4 and to a lesser extent 2, 5 and 6).

Skill levels

In ASCO, the skill level required for entry to occupations was inherent at the major group level. However, in ANZSCO it is only at specific occupation descriptions within unit groups (4 digit level) that the skill level required is indicated by way of a separate 'skill level' designator.

Unlike ASCO, a major group in ANZSCO might include occupations at several different skill levels.

Representation of occupations

Some ASCO occupations are represented by a larger number of more detailed ANZSCO occupations.
Example: Registered Nurse was represented by one ASCO code but is now represented by ten ANZSCO codes, depending on specialisation.

In other cases, several ASCO occupations may correlate to one ANZSCO occupation.
Example: ASCO occupations 211915 Extractive Metallurgist and 211917 Physical Metallurgist are now represented by one ANZSCO occupation, namely 234912 Metallurgist.


In ANZSCO (unlike ASCO), one code represents a trades occupation, including any apprentices or supervisors working within that occupation classification.
Example: ASCO 431101 Supervisor Electrician, 431111 General Electrician and 431181 Apprentice Electrician are now all represented by ANZSCO 341111 Electrician (General).

Information and communication technology occupations

Another major change relates to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) occupations. In ASCO, there were three unit groups and nine ICT occupations. In ANZSCO, there are 13 ICT unit groups and 37 ICT occupations.

Further information on the ANZSCO standard

Further information on the key differences between ASCO and ANZSCO can be found in the document below.
See: Differences between ASCO and ANZSCO ( 24KB PDF file)

Further general information on the ANZSCO standard can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
See: Australian Bureau of Statistics