One of the key issues that emerged from the discussions at the Jobs and Skills Summit held in Canberra recently was the lack of coherent and particularised knowledge about skills shortages as they impact various regions and industries around Australia.
With skills shortages yet again causing challenges for Australian businesses, the government has progressed plans to establish an independent organisation that will advise consult broadly on labour market needs and provide workforce forecasting and advice about emerging industries to support better government policy development.
Government Difficulty in Addressing Skills Shortages
Discussion of skills shortages has been evident since early 2022 but the ability of the government to respond quickly and in a targeted manner is hampered because it does not have sufficient region or industry-specific knowledge.
This is evident in the continuing requirement to provide labour market testing for Subclass 482 nomination applications where the occupation is in critical shortage such as engineers and health professionals.
The Department of Home Affairs has developed a ‘Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List’ (PMSOL) which has informed how the Department prioritises skilled visa application process for almost two years. The PMSOL identifies 44 occupations in critical shortage as identified by the National Skills Commission and visa applications in these occupations are prioritised over other occupations.
However, despite the recognition that these occupations are in critical shortage around Australia, cumbersome and lengthy Labour Market Testing is still required when an Australian organisation nominates a Subclass 482 visa applicant in one of the occupations on the priority list. This causes delays and uncertainty for the sponsoring business and the migrant and their family in the process of moving to Australia and having much needed skills deployed in the economy.
Introducing the Jobs and Skills Australia Bill
The Jobs and Skills Australia Bill is making its way through the Commonwealth Parliamentary Process. The bill will require the organisation to consult broadly with the following stakeholders: State and Territory governments, employers, regional organisations, unions, and others interested in the workforce and labour market.
It will also prepare reports and capacity studies for emerging and growing industries and occupations and undertake workforce forecasting, assess workforce skills requirements, and undertake cross-industry workforce analysis.
Why this Legislation Matters
While it is yet to be seen how a body like Jobs and Skills Australia could provide advice that cuts through to concrete migration policy changes, it will be helpful to have a better-informed process for identifying the following:
- What skills are in shortage
- Where they are in shortage
- How that knowledge might be used to adapt and craft government policy for migration and provide early identification of when those policies need to be changed
Interstaff | Over 30 Years of Visa and Migration Experience
Interstaff is an Australian-owned and operated business providing strategic migration advice to businesses and individuals Australia-wide and internationally since 1988.
Should you need professional advice on your Visa or Migration requirements, we encourage you to call Interstaff’s Migration Agents on 08 9221 3388 (Perth) or 02 7200 2567 (Sydney) or 03 8319 0902 (Melbourne) or +61 8 9221 3388 (International).