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Migration helps solving the skills shortages

Migration helps solving the skills shortages – How big a headache do you have still trying to source skilled labour? What a never ending battle to try and locate, interview, assess and sign up good quality staff from an ever dwindling pool of talent in Australia.

Many companies now are looking to fill their vacancies from the rather large pool of approximately seven billion overseas nationals who don’t yet call Australia home.

Approximately 400,000 overseas students have completed qualifications or are well on their way to doing so. And approximately 500,000 other temporary entrants currently reside in Australia on other eligible visas.

The Department of Immigration (DIAC) allows people to stay in Australia for a variety of reasons, with company sponsored visas being right at the forefront of the current migration program. Australia’s annual intake of skilled workers that are company sponsored has increased dramatically in recent times to 114,000 for the last year. This is a mix of permanent (employer nomination) and temporary (457 visa program).

First you need to be a “good citizen” company. That is you need to have no adverse record with immigration, be financially travelling well, and have a good record of training your Australian employees.

The training requirement can be met in a variety of ways from employing apprentices, to enrolling in structured courses through to making donations to approved industry training funds.

DIAC then goes on to look at the vacancy in your company that you want to fill.

Is the position a highly skilled one? There is a list of sponsorable occupations and they generally refl ect positions that in Australia normally require a diploma, trade certifi cate or higher level of skill to perform.

Next is the Market Salary rate for that occupation at least $47,480 per annum for a fulltime 38 hour week. The Market Salary is most easily proved by showing the salary of an Aussie doing the same work in your company. If there is not a comparable position, then you will need to show that other companies or your industry is paying at least that amount.

Then if the Market Salary Rate is above $47,480 (let’s say it is $60,000) then you must pay at LEAST that amount to your prospective overseas worker.

Got all that?
Finally DIAC wants proof that your prized recruit actually does have the skills to perform that occupation in Australia. Do they have the relevant trade certifi cate or degree to do the work? Do they have work experience in the profession to take the place of not having formal qualiifcations? Or do they need to show their skills through a practical assessment?

After your overseas employee starts, DIAC is determined to make sure it is not exploited and you stick to your commitments for any 457 visa holders. So you can be confi dent that they will be asking you each year for updates on your commitment to training Australians as well as making sure you are paying the Market Salary rate still. DIAC may even drop in every now and again to make sure that there really is a business operating, what you say is close to the truth, and to show they are spending your tax dollar well.

The migration advice industry is a challenging business with the approximately 150 different subclasses of visa a person can apply for. A registered migration agent should be able to look at your needs, and best advise of the process that needs to be followed to apply for the most correct visa and company sponsorship.

The paperwork involved from both the company and the visa applicant is sometimes daunting, but there are logical reasons behind all that is asked for. A good agent should be able to make this much more efficient and less hair should be lost in the process.

Employer sponsored is the way to go at the moment for most highly skilled migrants. It is much quicker with processing possible in just a few weeks under new DIAC processes. Alternatively Points test migration is becoming very much the second class citizen. DIAC’s poor management of the input streams into skilled migration has presented them with a two year backlog of cases and processing times blowing out sometimes to three or four years. Good luck with your recruitment, gan bei, gesondheid, mabuhay, cin cin and cheers!

Steven O’Neil, Managing Director of Iscah Migration in Perth. Employed by DIAC from 1992 to 1997 and went on to establish one of Perth’s longest running migration practices, now in its 14th year. An Associate Fellow of the Migration Institute of Australia and winner of the prestigious 2010 Deidre Sheekey Award for services to the industry.

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