Australia’s workforce has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and over 500,000 temporary visa holders left Australia since the pandemic resulting in significant skills shortages. Australia’s economy recovery post COVID-19 will be severely hampered without the return of skilled migration.
With the above realization, on 3 February 2021, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, referred an inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration. The Committee has now released an Interim Report of the Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program where 12 recommendations have been made. These recommendations are:
- That DoHA streamlines labour market testing requirements to be less onerous
- That the current mechanism of applying the Skilling Australia Fund levy to be more transparent and to allow more refund provisions and to include more exemptions
- That DoHA provides more transparency on where employer sponsored visa applications are in the queue
- That sponsored workers be allowed to work for multiple employers without making applications for new visas
- That the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) be expanded urgently to include Chefs, Veterinarians, Café and Restaurant Managers
- That DoHA conducts an urgent review of the PMSOL to expand the number of occupations (Civil Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Motor Mechanics, Cooks, Carpenters, Electricians and other roles in the hospitality, health, trades, agriculture and manufacturing sectors) to better reflect skills demands in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase.
- That the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (SSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLSSL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL) be reviewed soon to more accurate reflect Australia’s employment challenges as the economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic
- That the government reserves places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants
- That visa processing time frame be improved for employer-sponsored visas and to expedite processing times for skilled visa holders who have remained onshore in relevant employment seeking a subsequent skilled visa or permanent residency visa
- That all employer sponsored visa holders be given a clearer pathway to permanent residency
- That a global marketing campaign is established to attract global talent and investment.
- That the Business Innovation and Investment program and the Global Talent Independent program provide options for both automatic permanent residence and temporary visas with a clearly articulated path to permanent residency
Note again that the above are ‘interim’ recommendations and a final report will be produced in July to consider longer term issues regarding Australia’s skilled migration program.
Please contact us on 03 9981 9559 / 1300 188 999 should you have any queries regarding your visa situation/matter.