Australia has recently updated support for skilled migration to help reverse the workforce shortage in key industries.
Australia has always relied on migration for skilled workers, but things came to a standstill during the pandemic, when borders were closed and many people returned to their home countries.
The outcome of the pandemic was a massive shortage of talented people who are relied on to fill vacant positions across almost every industry. To rectify this, the Government conducted a review in early 2023, with the findings showing the existing system was “complex, inefficient and inflexible”.
To move skilled migrants into jobs with less confusion and red tape, recommended changes to migration policy included:
- Revising the ‘points test’ for skilled visa applicants
- Reducing the time it takes to apply for and receive a skilled worker visa
- Establishing a pathway to permanency for people on temporary skill shortage visas
- Changing the wage threshold for skilled worker visas
- Granting “automatic” temporary graduate visas to people who complete their studies.
Some of these changes have now been introduced. Here is a quick rundown of upgraded migration policies in Australia:
Employer-sponsored pathways to permanent residency
There are several classes of migrant worker visas and hiring arrangements, including the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa, the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa.
If you are an employer or a temporary worker, it’s worth being aware of the changes to these visas and schemes, which will:
- Allow employers to nominate holders of all streams of TSS visas (including Short-term and Labour Agreement streams) for ENS/RSMS visas, and remove the requirement for nominated occupations for the TRT visas to be assessed against a skilled migration occupation list.
The nominated occupation needs to be listed in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The nominated worker will need to continue to work in the occupation nominated for their TSS visa(s)
- Reduce the period of time a TSS visa holder must hold their visa and work in their nominated position or occupation to be eligible to be nominated by their employer for the TRT stream to two out of the three years before nomination.
- Remove limits on the number of short-term stream TSS visa applications visa holders can make in Australia.
These changes are aimed at providing a simpler and clearer pathway to permanent residence for TSS visa holders.
Temporary skilled migration income threshold
The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) will be revised from $53,900 to $70,000. This means new nomination applications from 1 July 2023 will need to meet the new TSMIT of $70,000 or the annual market salary rate, whichever is higher.
This change will not affect existing visa holders and nominations lodged before 1 July 2023 but it may mean you need to review the pay your business offers incoming migrants.
Labour market testing
Before you hire overseas workers on certain visas, your business will need to confirm there are no available Australian workers who would be suitable for the job. This applies to TSS visa (subclass 482), Short-term stream and Medium-term stream, as well as Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494).
The requirements mean sponsor employers have to:
- Provide a copy of the advertising material used to advertise the position when they nominate an applicant
- Have advertised the position for at least four weeks within the four-month period immediately prior to lodging the nomination application.
If an Australian citizen or permanent resident worker has been made redundant or retrenched from the nominated occupation within four months before lodging the nomination application, the advertising must have occurred since the date of the redundancy or retrenchment.
What do migration policy changes mean for your business?
Relaxed migration and visa policies should make it easier for your business to sponsor or bring in talent from overseas. When you have the help of a reputable migration agency, you can fast-track the process to hire and secure the right visas.
The Migration Agency is actively monitoring these developments and will provide updates as they unfold. In the meantime, if you have any further questions, please contact us. We are here to help.