Regional Australia to benefit from skilled occupation list update

Eighteen occupations will be added to Australia’s Regional Occupation List to further support regional Australia and rural businesses, particularly farms.

The occupations include livestock, beef, dairy, sheep, aquaculture and crop farmers, among other agricultural roles.

The category of dentist and anaesthetist have also been added to the regional list to meet skill shortages and provide regional communities with the services they need.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the Government has listened to farmers and those within the agricultural industry who are calling for better access to workers.

“This update responds to calls from regional Australia for better access to skilled workers in key areas of need and will boost access to services required by our local communities,” Coleman explained.

“These updates build on recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker visa program and the Seasonal Worker Program to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia without displacing Australian workers,” he continued. “We want Australians filling Australian jobs but when this isn’t possible action is needed to ensure farmers can continue to operate.”

The Regional Occupation List helps provide employers with the support they need allowing overseas workers to live and work in Australia for up to four years for the sponsoring employer in a specified region.

Eight occupations have been added to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List including footballer and tennis coach.

For footballers, this change will mean that professional footballers can be sponsored to work in Australia for a longer time. This will assist Australian football clubs to attract elite international talent and develop Australia’s competitiveness on the international stage.

“These changes recognise Australia’s passion for sports. Having access to highly skilled professionals helps to develop local talent and facilitate skills and knowledge transfer in Australia,” Minister Coleman explained.

“The Government continues to focus the Migration Program on addressing skills gaps in the economy and these initiatives demonstrate that commitment.

The Government also recently announced it would enhance the Working Holiday Maker program to better support farmers to fill critical workforce shortages.

“Working holiday makers are critical in filling short-term workforce shortages and also inject billions into Australia’s economy each year, particularly in regional areas,” said Coleman.

Updates to the skilled occupation lists are based on extensive consultation with industry and take into account labour market advice from the Department of Jobs and Small Business, which conducts regular reviews of the lists.

The changes will apply to new applications and will not affect existing nominations or applications.

Article published 12th March 2019