Occupation list changes and the process

Moving critical occupations to the long-term visa list and expanding pathways to permanent residency are among key changes sought in the upcoming review of the skilled migration occupation lists.

Aurec Mobility and Migration immigration agent Kelly Lloyd adds that while IT has historically been “relatively insulated” from residency issues, thanks to “strong media voices”, peripheral roles are facing greater uncertainty, particularly those in IT marketing, sales, sales management, advertising and business development.

“These types of occupations are where a lot of businesses are feeling the strain because these occupations don’t have residency pathways.”

Some of them don’t have regional options either, Lloyd says. “We’ve recently seen the marketing occupation opened up to skilled independent migration, which is the first time in a very long time that has happened.”

Recruitment is in the same boat, she adds.

“Now that it’s added to the regional list is a big positive. Does it help the majority of recruitment businesses? Not really… but it is a step in the right direction.”

Australia has “fundamental issues” in keeping skills here, Lloyd says. “We’re spending all this time on hiring these people and investing in training these people… then we’re saying, ‘time is up, there’s no other way to permanent residency, besides regional.”

It is hard to say whether specific occupations should have residency pathways but, in general, people on long-term work visas should have a pathway to residency.

What changes can be expected

The process itself has changed a lot for the better in the fact that industry and consultations are at the forefront six months before they decide.

In December, the government will publish a “traffic light bulletin”, outlining outcomes of its initial labour market analysis, stakeholder consultation and preliminary views, at which point the formal submission process will open.

Any changes to the occupations list are then expected to be announced in March 2020.