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The Jobs and Skills Summit was held in Canberra on the 1st and 2nd of September 2022. A number of stakeholders took part, including government agencies, business and industry leaders, as well as workers’ unions to name a few. The new Labor Government organized the summit with a view of discussing the current economic climate and how Australia as a country can deal with the huge shortage of skilled workers being experienced now.

With one of the lowest unemployment rates in history, combined with the results of almost 2 years of borders closed, employers are suffering. The economy is still strong (even though global circumstances led to inflation) and it’s been very hard to fill positions, from basic unskilled jobs that normally international students and backpackers fill, to super specialized and technical roles.

The current government acknowledges that without attracting skilled professionals from other countries, the Australian economy cannot move forward. During the summit, the government recognized the contribution that international students bring, and it was mentioned that they even fill more positions than migrants who become permanent residents. After 2 years of borders closed to students and working holiday makers, it is no surprise that Australia is in this situation.

It was announced during the Job and Skills Summit that measures to skill more Australians domestically will be implemented, but it was also announced that the government will expand and strengthen the Skilled Migration Program. This will affect how the Skilled Migration Program will look like in the next few years, and it is all positive.

Job and Skills Summit major announcements

  • Maintaining the relaxation of working hours for Student Visa holders until 2023

Since January 2022 International Students and their dependents can work unlimited hours. This was announced during the Job and skills Summit in attempt to keep the International Students who are in Australia already working as much as possible to help employers and the economy.

Students can also work before their courses start, which is another relaxation of the usual work limitations.

  • Longer Graduate Visas under the Post Study Work Rights Stream

Graduates from Higher Education courses will get an extra 2 years on their graduate visas upon completion, if they apply for and are granted a Graduate Visa 485. That is for graduates of Bachelor and Master Degrees and PhDs.

  • Two years to four years for select Bachelor’s degrees
  • Three years to five years for select Masters degrees
  • Four years to six years for select PhD’s
  • Increase in places for permanent visas from 160,000 to 195.000

The biggest announcement of the Job and Skills Summit: an extra 35,000 permanent visas will be granted this financial year, to be added to the previous allocation made by the previous government.

We also saw an increase in places for regional visas: the previous government announced in March there would be 20.000 places for the Provisional Regional Visa Subclass 491, which now has been increased to 34,000. The permanent State Nominated visa Subclass 190, had numbers increased from 9,000 to 31,000.

  • Favouring Permanent Residence pathways over temporary visas

The current government has always leaned more towards granting workers permanent visas, rather than keeping them here on temporary visas for longer periods of time. They have repeated over the years that if we as a country, invite someone to come over and work here, they should have a pathway to stay in Australia permanently if they choose to.

So everything points out to a return to pathways to permanent residence to all sponsored workers on a TSS 482 Sponsorship Visa, regardless of their occupation being in a high demand list or not.

  • Faster visa processing (finally!)

These measures are all great for potential skilled migrants, international students and Australian employers, however, none of them will work if the backlog and slow processing within the Department of Home Affairs isn’t fixed.

During the Job and Skills Summit, the government announced a $36.1 million investment allocated to visa processing.  They will hire 500 extra staff over the next nine months to try and clear the backlog.

So very good news for the country and for you!

We have seen some changes already in practice: visas are being processed quicker and there was an invitation round for the 189 Skilled Independent Visa in late August where candidates were invited with 65 points score, which hadn’t happened in a couple of years.

These measures will impact the Skilled Migration program in Australia as of now and this could mean more chances and possibilities for you.

If you are in Australia looking at applying for your next visa, or are thinking about coming here to work, live or study, please contact us and we will be happy to develop the best Australian Visa Strategy for you.

Get in touch on visas@bravomigration.com.au