Recently, the Commonwealth government formed a Joint Standing Committee on Migration. This committee has conducted some public hearings and round table discussions and invited submissions on the skilled migration program for Australia.
Due to the growing skill shortage issue in Australia, the committee was asked to fast-track an Interim report into their findings with the request to make immediate recommendations to ensure Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.
Committee Chair Julian Leeser MP said that “The Committee has heard repeatedly that skilled migrants create Australian jobs. With over 500,000 temporary visa holders leaving Australia during the COVID pandemic, we need to bring back skilled migration, to fill essential gaps and to help create more jobs for Australians.”
“Australia has always been an attractive destination for migrants. Our excellent response to the health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has made Australia an even more attractive destination. Now is the time to attract highly talented individuals and businesses to Australia.”
“The report recommends a number of measures to streamline the system to ensure we can capitalise on the opportunity in front of us,” said Leeser
Milestone partnered with another migration agency to prepare a submission to this agreement to address the challenges we are facing. This submission was published on the government website which you can find here.
Whilst we are yet to see what change will come from this activity, there are some very promising recommendations that have been released from the report:
- DoHA should streamline labour market testing.
- Removing the SAF at least until the pandemic period is over. However, if the levy remains, changing payment to a time of ‘approval’ payment term and guaranteeing refunds for unsuccessful applications whilst also giving allowances to waive the Levy if they can prove training to Australians in the 12 months prior (making the Levy a choice of training spend vs levy).
- DoHA to provide greater transparency on where applications are in the queue for approval.
- Allowing workers to work for multiple roles within the same employer to meet industry practice.
- Chefs, Vets, Café and restaurant managers and seafarers to be added to the PMSOL list urgently allowing entry to Australia without the need for exemptions.
- Urgent review of the PMSOL list to better reflect skills shortages with particular consideration given to civil engineers, electrical engineers, motor mechanics, cooks, carpenters, electricians and other hospitality, health, trades, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
- Review of the STSOL, MTSSL and ROL to ensure they reflect the current employment challenges being faced as the economy emerges from COVID-19.
- Government to reserve seats and quarantine placements for skilled workers.
- DoHA to improve processing times for employer sponsored visas and expedite processing for onshore applicants.
- Employer sponsored visas holders to be given clearer pathways to permanency.
- Global marketing campaign for global talent and investment visa applicants to commence.
- Automatic pathways for PR for business and global talent visa applicants.
More details are provided in the report, but this is the high-level summary.
It will be interesting to see what recommendations will be considered by the Minister and how quickly change may come. Potentially – this could be very exciting for recruitment opportunities.