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Changes to Australia’s Skilled Migration Program – What you need to know

Posted on December 20, 2019
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 Australia’s Skilled Migration Program

Australia is all set to make changes to its Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in March 2020. The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business set the process in motion in September this year by starting a review of the SOL. This review included analysis of the labor market, consulting the stakeholders and consulting various government departments, industry associations, client employer groups etc.

Based on this initial analysis, the government published a Traffic Light Bulletin containing the results of the initial consultations. This bulletin will contain the list of occupations that have been identified for a change in status.  The list also considered the occupations listed in the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL), Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and Regional Occupation List (ROL). These lists are the basis to determine the eligibility for Australia’s Skilled Visa program. The government has invited the public for its views/ suggestions on the list.

The public will have time till February 2020 to submit their views. The list will then be reviewed, and the changed SOL will come into effect from March 2020.

The Traffic Light Bulletin released by the government a few days back contains 11 occupations that have been identified for removal, 17 that have been identified for movement between the lists while four occupations have been identified for addition to the SOL.

This the traffic light signal code for the occupations:

· Occupations that may be removed from the SOL (red light)

· Occupations that can be moved from one list to a less favorable list (yellow light)

· Occupations that may move from one list to a more favorable list (green light)

Based on the traffic light bulletin, the following 11 occupations have been flagged for removal (red light):

  1. Careers Counsellor
  2. Gymnastics Coach or Instructor
  3. Vehicle Trimmer
  4. Diving Instructor (Open water)
  5. Business Machine Mechanic
  6. Community Worker
  7. Animal Attendants and Trainers
  8. Massage Therapist
  9. Gardener (General)
  10. Wood Machinist
  11. Hairdresser

17 occupations that have been identified for movement between the lists (yellow light):

  1. Automotive electrician
  2. Motorcycle mechanic
  3. Post office Manager
  4. Mechanical engineering draftsperson
  5. Real Estate Representative
  6. Locksmith
  7. Painting Trades worker
  8. Glazier
  9. Wall and Floor Tiler
  10. Cabinet maker
  11. Geologist
  12. Sales and marketing manager
  13. ICT project manager
  14. Information and organization professionals (including data scientists)
  15. Insurance loss adjuster
  16. Procurement manager
  17. Ship’s Master

4 occupations have been shortlisted for addition to the list (green light):

  1. Corporate treasurer
  2. Personal care assistant
  3. Nursing support worker
  4. Aged or disabled carer

The following occupations have been identified for a salary caveat of AUD 65,000:

  1. Poultry farmer
  2. Fitter and turner
  3. Baker
  4. Horse trainer
  5. Pastrycook

What will be the impact of changes to the SOL?

The government’s review of the list, the changes proposed which includes the addition, movement or removal of occupations form existing lists will affect the ability of Australian employers to use the temporary and permanent visa programs available to them.

Coming to the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa program, occupations that are transferred to the STSOL will now cease to act as a pathway to permanent residency for visa holders.

 Once the official period for submissions is over by February 2020, officials will review the submissions and information they have gathered and submit their recommendations to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.

By March 2020, the final changes to the SOL will be finalized by the minister.

Australian employers will stand to gain if they participate in the review process especially if the current provisions in the SOL are affecting their ability to recruit and retain foreign talent. When participating in the submission process employers can consider:

  • Occupations that are not in the SOL but need to be included
  • Occupations in the ROL that can be moved to STSOL or the MLTSSL
  • Occupations in the STSOL that can be moved to the MLTSSL

Getting employers and other stakeholders involve in the review process is a win-win for both the government and employers. The combined efforts will help in bringing out a more relevant SOL that is in tune with the skills Australia needs.

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program has recently come under flak for reasons including immigrants on the GSM program not finding a job, finding one that does not match their qualifications, or landing a job for which they are overqualified. The review and changes to the SOL can be a step in the right direction.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Australia, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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