Australian business has welcomed the changes made to Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List announced by immigration minister Alex Hawke yesterday (Tuesday).
The Acting CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jenny Lambert, called it a “huge step” to rectify Australia’s current skills crisis.
“Covid-19 restrictions have greatly exacerbated existing skills and labour shortages. Many industries bouncing back in our multi-speed economy are facing a severe lack of skills and labour as a result of international borders remaining shut and restrictions on movement within Australia,” Lambert said.
Ongoing skills shortages would have made recovery harder
“For sectors still struggling, the shortages will only make life harder when conditions begin to improve for them.”
Hawke announced the addition of 22 occupations, which brings the Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List to 41 in total.
The list, first announced in September 2020, is developed in conjunction with the National Skills Commission to ensure a small number of critical occupations are filled to continue to create jobs and aid in Australia’s recovery from the impact of Covid-19.
The list includes accountants, auditors, various engineers, surveyors, cartographers, scientists, programmers and chefs.
Government engaged with employers to determine changes
Hawke said the Government had engaged with small, medium and large Australian employers, business leaders and industry bodies across the economy to determine these changes.
“Government has received valuable feedback from Australian business stakeholders on critical skill vacancies, which has been considered together with data from the National Skills Commission, in order to develop today’s update to the Priority Migration Skilled Migration List,” he stated.
Lambert said the additional professions were “absolutely necessary while our international border remains closed and businesses recover from what has been a once-in-a-generation pandemic event”.
Many large infrastructure projects planned across Australia
She added: “The shortages in engineering, for example, have been heightened as a result of large infrastructure projects in the works across the country.”
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA said the announcement would help the sector address some of its pressing workforce requirements.
“Electrical engineers, civil engineers, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, mining engineers and surveyors are all professions that were identified as continuing to be in strong demand for the mining and resources sector,” said the Chamber’s Chief Executive, Paul Everingham.
A recent report identified that WA’s mining and resources operations are likely to need up to 40,000 more workers in the next two years.