Migration Program on Skills in Critical Need

The Federal Government has revised its migration program, giving priority to permanent migrants sponsored by employers and those with skills in critical need.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said in December 2008 that the focused migration scheme is in response to the changing economic circumstances. “In the current economic climate it is important that priority is given to those applications where the person has skills in critical need”.

The focus on skilled migrants will affect tens of thousands of international students who use hairdressing, cooking, accountancy and IT qualifications to qualify for a permanent visa.

The list of skills in critical shortage now concentrates on medical and key IT professionals, engineers and construction trades. These occupations are most frequently sought by employers through sponsorship.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Peter Anderson said the changes are welcomed by industry. “Changes to migration procedures to reduce delays in employer-sponsored visas are timely, as are proposals to improve the flow of current students into specialised jobs where skills shortages exist,” he said.

Mr Anderson said the Government had resisted any knee-jerk reaction that would see skilled immigration numbers arbitrarily cut. The Federal Government increased the skilled migration program from 102,500 annually to 133,500 in the May 2008 Budget.

The changes come at the same time as a contraction in the number of skilled vacancies in Australia. The demand for skilled workers slumped by 7.2 per cent in December 2008. Demand for tradesmen fell by 9 per cent, marketing and advertising was down 11.5 per cent and metal trades down almost 16 per cent.

The Australian Industry Group welcomed the decision to maintain the current migration intake. “There can be a two-year lag between application and arrival,” AiG chief Heather Ridout said. Cuts in the skilled migration intake could reduce skilled migration just as Australia emerged from the economic crisis.

If your business is having trouble sourcing job candidates from the domestic market, Richard Scougall, MST’s registered migration agent, can assist you to source and sponsor overseas workers. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider workers on permanent and temporary visas, including visa holders already in Australia, who can be processed more quickly, should be considered.

Click here for list of skills in critical shortage

Author: Richard Scougall (Registered Migration Agent Number – 0853198)