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The Covid-19 pandemic has left no one – and no business – unaffected.Our movements have been restricted, the way we live our lives has changed, and the demand for workers across various sectors has also been impacted.
If you’re a nurse or a cyber security expert, you probably don’t need to stress too much about job stability, but if you work in the international travel or events industry, the Coronavirus crisis is likely to have a negative impact going forward.
Skilled occupation lists change frequently
Occupation lists are designed to be dynamic. The whole point of the skilled visa system is to ensure Australian businesses have access to the skills they need and that gaps can be plugged with employees from overseas.
It makes sense that lists change over time according to Australia’s needs. Naturally, this works both ways: you might find that your occupation suddenly appears on a list and you have a pathway to stay, or your job is removed and the door closes.
Who decides which occupations to remove?
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment regularly reviews Australia’s skilled occupation lists to make sure they reflect the genuine needs of Australian employers.
The Department consults with business leaders, individuals and unions when determining which occupations to recommend for transfer or removal. The Government then reflects on this information and comes to a decision.
An expected announcement on updates to the skilled occupation lists was due in March 2020 but that has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
How the Traffic Light Bulletin works
The Department recently published a Traffic Light Bulletin indicating the occupations flagged for a change in status or a salary caveat. Salary caveats are applied to certain occupations. For example, a Customer Service Manager cannot be sponsored unless they earn more than $65,000 per year.
Although these bulletins are produced for consultation purposes, and doesn’t represent a Government decision at this point, it’s obviously a concern if your occupation has been flagged for possible removal.
If you’re occupation has been earmarked by the Department, and employer-sponsorship is an option for you right now, you should lodge your visa at the earliest opportunity as there is a real risk your pathway will close up.
Other occupations have been flagged for transfer from the medium-term list to the short-term list and vice versa. Remember, occupations on the short-term list do not have a pathway to PR.
The Department has recommended that some occupations remain on their current list, but only with the introduction of a salary caveat. This means you can only be sponsored in one of these roles if you make at least the amount stated below.
Do you have any other options if your occupation is removed?
If your occupation is removed from the STSOL, for example, you might still be eligible for the subclass 494 skilled employer-sponsored regional (provisional) visa. However, unlike the 482 visa, the 394 requires that you live in a designated regional area.
Will an occupation removal prevent 186 TRT permanent residency?
Yes. If you’re currently working in an occupation on a 482 visa and plan to apply for permanent residency via 186 employer-sponsored TRT – and your occupation is removed from the list – your pathway to residency will close.
If you’re concerned about this happening, contact a Registered Migration Agent to discuss your options and develop a plan of action.
Will these proposed changes actually happen?
There’s no guarantee the Government will decide to follow all of these recommendations. A lot has changed in recent months and these proposals may no longer reflect the needs of Australian employers. However, the recommendations should be taken seriously. These occupations have been flagged for a reason.
When will the list be changed?
We have no idea. The proposed changes were delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but the Government will get round to it eventually.
Free visa assessment: contact us today to discuss your options with a Registered Migration Agent.