Australia has long been a favoured destination for individuals seeking new opportunities and a better quality of life. In December 2023, the Minister for Home Affairs revealed the Federal Government’s plan to tackle reforming Australia’s immigration process. The strategy announced a new Skills in Demand visa and positive changes to permanent skilled migration programs.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how the changes announced in the Migration Strategy benefit Australian immigration and the positive impacts this will have on organisations looking to hire skilled workers.
What is the Migration Strategy?
The Australian Government’s Migration Strategy 2023 aims to proactively address the country’s current and future workforce needs. This dynamic strategy introduces innovative visa categories and fine-tunes existing immigration procedures, simplifying the pathway for skilled workers to fill in-demand skills and enhance Australia’s economic fabric.
Key focus areas include introducing a new ‘Skills in Demand’ visa, replacing the existing Subclass 482 visa, and notable reforms in the permanent skilled migration program.
This strategy, aimed at drawing highly skilled immigrants, is expected to stimulate the nation’s economy, innovation, and cultural diversity. It promises potential advantages for individuals intending to migrate and organisations seeking skilled employees in Australia.
Introducing the Skills in Demand Visa:
The new Skills in Demand visa, expected to be implemented by late 2024, brings the following:
- Three streams to permanent residency for temporary skilled workers
- 4-year residency for all streams
- Faster processing time of 21 days
- Reforms to labour market testing
- All holders can apply for permanent residency, and time spent at all employers is counted towards permanent residence eligibility.
- Changes to how the Government bills employer fees to reduce upfront costs
- Public sponsor list developed by the Government
So, what does this mean for employers? The new strategy is looking to streamline the skilled migration process, making it easier for skilled immigrants to work here. This has the added effect of diversifying the talent pool, and businesses can benefit from a wider range of skills and experiences brought by skilled immigrants.
Skilled immigration is an often-overlooked avenue for talent acquisition, and this new strategy aims to make it even more appealing. Businesses can tap into a global network of highly skilled workers, bringing new perspectives and ideas to drive innovation and growth.
The changes aim to reduce upfront costs for employers sponsoring skilled workers, making it more accessible for businesses of all sizes. With faster processing times and reforms to labour market testing, employers can efficiently fill skill gaps, saving time and resources on recruitment.
So, what are the key benefits for organisations?
1. Talent retention with new permanent residency pathways:
Replacing the 482 visa, the new Skills in Demand visa allows all holders the ability to apply for permanent residence, regardless of what stream they are in.
There are three new pathways for temporary skilled workers:
- Specialist Skills – no occupation lists and requires a minimum income of $135,000, to be indexed with inflation. Applications will receive express processing within 7 days. Some exclusions apply.
- Core Skills – A new, simpler core skills occupation list, that is regularly reviewed to reflect current market trends and international trade agreements.
- Essential Skills – The Government is currently assessing how to proactively implement pathways for lower-paid, essential skills workers under TSMIT.
Employers can retain top talent for longer, reducing the risk of losing valuable employees who may have otherwise had to leave due to visa restrictions. Rather than having to sponsor employees on multiple visas, employers can now offer permanent residency right from the start. This also benefits skilled workers as they have more job security and stability in their careers.
2. Government fee model that will support business cash flow:
The Government has also shared they are considering transitioning employer fees, such as the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF Levy), to a more manageable monthly or quarterly model. By moving to a quarterly or annual payment system, businesses can budget and plan for sponsoring skilled workers and avoid any significant upfront costs.
This creates a more manageable process for employers, allowing them to manage cash flow more effectively and focus on business operations.
3. Quicker visa processing times to get your talent onboarded sooner:
The proposed reduction in visa processing times, with an average service standard of just 7 days for the Specialist Skills pathway and 21 days for other streams, presents significant advantages for businesses. This expedited process enhances overall efficiency, enabling companies to swiftly onboard skilled professionals and integrate them into projects sooner, thereby boosting productivity.
4. Streamlined Labour Market Testing:
As of December, the need to advertise TSS and 494 visa sponsorships on the Workforce Australia website to fulfil LMT requirements is now a thing of the past. This change represents an immediate and substantial reduction in organisational administrative burdens, streamlining the Labour Market Testing (LMT) process.
In addition, DOHA is also proposing prolonged effectiveness in Labour Market Testing (LMT) by introducing an extended 4 to 6-month validity, offering employers ample time post-advertising a role to thoughtfully select the right candidate.
The recent reforms in migration policy bring substantial benefits to businesses, offering streamlined hiring processes and facilitated access to skilled workers, effectively addressing crucial workforce gaps.
Companies that adopt a multifaceted strategy, integrating immigration seamlessly into their talent solutions, stand to gain a workforce that is not only more agile but also adept at meeting evolving demands.
For insights and expert assistance in navigating this transformed migration landscape, contact our dedicated Migration Agents. We can guide you in shaping an integrated talent solution tailored to your needs.