New skill migration list published

Skilled Occupation List

The Federal Government released its new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) on May 17 cutting the 400 skills the nation previously wanted to import from overseas to just 181.

Cooks and hair dressers were near the top of the previous migrant skills in demand list yet both have been dumped from the new SOL list that takes effect from July 1.

Of the 181 roles listed by the Department of Immigration as skills “Australia’s economy needs”, more than 70 are drawn from the health care sector including 14 different nursing roles, more than 25 medical specialists, and a range of dental, allied health, medical technicians and roles for psychologists.

Nearly 30 roles have the word "engineer" or “engineering" in the title and trades are also well represented including plumbers, motor mechanics and diesel motor mechanics. Other trade roles are floor tilers, roof plumbers, air-conditioning and mechanical services plumbers, gas fitters, carpenters, panel beaters, vehicle painters, welders (first class) locksmiths, bricklayers, glaziers, plasterers.

ITC roles on the SOL list include software engineers, ITC business analysts, systems analysts, analyst programmers, developer programmers, telco engineers and telco network engineer. Use the link above to view the full list.

Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans says the list is based on feedback from industry skills councils, industry peak bodies, Skills Australia and Professions Australia.

Senator Evans told media that he wanted a flow of “highly skilled migrants [into Australia] and a crackdown on people seeking permanent residency through low-value education courses.”

The previous Coalition Government had allowed people completing short vocational courses in Australia to gain permanent residence as a skilled migrant. According to Senator Evans’ office, 41 000 general skilled visas were granted in 2007-2008. Of those 5 000 went to cooks and hairdressers and 75 per cent of them had studied in Australia.

The Rudd Government flagged the skilled migrant changes in February this year. About 20,000 people still over seas had their migration applications cancelled and their fees refunded.

Thousands of overseas students who had already come to Australia and paid for short term courses believing their studies would led to settlement were shocked by news. Authorities granted temporary skilled graduate visas so they could stay in Australia for 18 months to gain work experience and or employer sponsorship.

Employers can still bring in “highly qualified” chefs and cooks into Australia via the 457 visa system, employer-sponsored visas and States and Territories governments can also nominate occupations such as cooks and chefs for inclusion in their individual migration plans.
Senator Evans claims that the Government had improved processing arrangements for the employer and state-sponsored visa programs to make recruiting from overseas faster and easier.

He said almost 1000 cooks and chefs were granted employer-sponsored visas to April 30 in 2009-2010 compared to just 420 sponsored by employers in 2007-2008.

“Despite more than 4000 chefs and cooks being granted visas under the independent skilled migration program in 2007-2008, there were critical shortages in the industry,” Senator Evans said in a media statement. “Clearly the majority of these people were not working as either cooks or chefs.”
“The changes we have introduced will ensure that only those who have real jobs to go to in the industry will be granted visas.”

As of March 31, 2010 there were 3210 cooks and chefs working in Australia on employer-nominated 457 visas, according to official figures.

Senator Evans said the Government was “determined to create a demand-driven migration program” in line with economic and employer needs.

Kate Southam is the Editor of

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