Is your business finding it difficult to secure suitably skilled and experienced employees from within Australia? If your business is facing labour shortages, which may have worsened due to the current pandemic and international travel restrictions, you may wish to seek professional advice on employing skilled migrants for Critical Work requirements. Options may be available to your business depending on the type of work required and whether the Government classifies it as ‘critical’. Options may also be available if your business operates in a ‘Critical Sector’. As part of the Government’s focus on post-pandemic recovery, visa applicants for Critical Work or a Critical Sector may be able to access priority government processing, enabling your business to access suitably skilled professionals more quickly. Here’s what you should know.
Thankfully for many businesses and skilled migrants, after almost two years of requiring workers to be granted Critical Work Travel Exemptions to enter the country, participating States and Territories in Australia re-opened their international borders to skilled migrants from December 2021. Critical Work Travel Exemptions to enter Australia are no longer required to enter the country, and applicants only need a valid work visa. International testing and quarantine requirements may also apply depending on the State or Territory of arrival.
These relaxed restrictions mean employers are no longer limited to engaging overseas migrants that can meet a Critical Work Travel Exemption – they can once again engage any skilled migrant that is eligible for a skilled visa. However, the Government is still prioritising visas for Critical Work or a Critical Sector in several ways. One of these ways is through a Ministerial Direction, which has been issued to prioritise visas for skilled applicants whose occupation is on the PMSOL or if their work is in a Critical Sector.
The Ministerial Direction directs the Department of Home Affairs to prioritise permanent skilled migration visas in the below circumstances and in the following order:
1.Visas for applicants with either:
2.Occupations within a Critical Sector
It also provides direction for TSS 482 and 457 Temporary Skilled Visas to be prioritised in the following order:
1.Visas for applicants with either:
2.Visas for applicants with nominations lodged for an occupation in a Critical Sector not mentioned in the PMSOL.
The above summary indicates the top 2 priorities for Government skilled visa processing, as per the Ministerial Direction. Subsequent priorities were also provided in the Ministerial Direction.
The PMSOL was first announced in September 2020 to enable overseas skilled migration to fill several critical occupations in support of Australia’s COVID-19 recovery.
It is a skilled occupation list that allows businesses to sponsor visa applicants under a critical occupation with access to priority Government Visa and Nomination processing for the following visas:
It is important to note the PMSOL is a temporary list and priority occupations may change in response to the COVID-19 impact on the labour market and as per the National Skills Commission and industry feedback. When the PMSOL was first announced, it only listed 17 occupations and since then the list has now grown to 44 occupations.
Skilled visas are still being processed for applicants with occupations on Australia’s standard skilled migration occupation lists, but PMSOL occupations are taking priority as the Department of Home Affairs focuses on boosting post-pandemic recovery. The Government is also prioritising visa applicants that are already in Australia.
Page last updated on 4 January 2022 – you may wish to contact Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents so that your circumstances can be assessed with the most up-to-date migration requirements.
Several Critical Skills and Critical Sector categories are currently available. These categories have shaped the delivery of Australia’s skilled migration program in post-pandemic times.
As mentioned, a Ministerial Direction has been issued to prioritise visas for skilled applicants whose occupation is on the PMSOL or if their work is in a Critical Sector. In instances where the Ministerial Direction mentions ‘Critical Sectors’, here’s a summary of the industries currently included in Australia’s Critical Sectors for visa and migration purposes:
It is worth noting that the Government also recognises specific Critical Sectors for 408 Pandemic Event Visas. Critical sectors for a 408 Visa are separate from the critical sectors outlined in the Ministerial Direction for 482 and 457 Visas. For the 408 Visa, Critical Sectors include:
In relation to Critical Skills for visa and migration purposes, non-citizens that are not fully vaccinated or eligible visa holders for travel to Australia may be able to apply for a Critical Work Travel Exemption if they have the below Critical Skills or for work in a Critical Sector.
Page last updated: 4 January 2022 – you may wish to contact Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents so that your circumstances can be assessed with the most up-to-date migration requirements.
Our migration agents would be happy to assess your employee’s eligibility for skilled visas. We begin by reviewing a copy of your candidate’s resume detailing their skills, experience, and qualifications and then advise on the options available for either a temporary or permanent visa. During a consultation, our migration agent will provide advice on any visa requirements and conditions that you may need to be aware of so you can make a more informed decision on the pathway you should take. After the consultation, you can choose to engage our services to manage the sponsorship, nomination, and visa applications on your behalf if you wish.
If you would like to understand your visa options and discuss your circumstances, we encourage you to get in touch with Interstaff’s Registered Migration Agents servicing Perth, Melbourne and Sydney on 1800 449 858 (Within Australia) or +61 8 9221 3388 (International).
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