GSM for Trade Occupations

Australia has a shortage of trades workers – suitably qualified and experienced trades people from overseas have always been welcomed in Australia and have great employment prospects.

There are a number of different migration pathway options available – this article goes through the main requirements for trades workers migrating through the points tested General Skilled Migration program.

Nominating a Skilled Occupation

First you would need to choose an occupation to apply for a skills assessment in.
The choice would depend mainly on your qualifications and work experience, but it is best to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) if possible.

There are a wide range of trades on the SOL – including construction trades, automotive trades, metal workers and chefs.

Even if you do not have an occupation on the SOL, it is still possible to apply for migration by obtaining sponsorship by a state or territory government – many states and territories have trades occupations on their State Migration Plans.

Skills Assessment

The first step in applying for general skilled migration is to get your skills assessed as suitable to work in your trade in Australia.
The correct pathway can be difficult to determine – it will depend on your trade, passport country and whether you’ve studied in Australia. The main pathways are as follows:

1. Trade Test

If you are in certain trades and have a passport from certain countries, you must go through the trade test pathway.
The first step would involve providing evidence of your trade qualifications and work experience in your trade. Overall, you must show that you have worked and studied for at least 5 years in your occupation, or 3 years if you have an Australian trade certificate.

The second step requires either a technical interview or a practical test. The technical interview would normally be done via Skype through an approved venue and involves you explaining how you would undertake certain tasks. The practical test is required for licensed trades, and requires you to demonstrate your skills in person.

2. Paper Assessment – Migration Skills Assessment

This would be done via the TRA’s “Migration Skills Assessment” pathway. This option would require you to have a formal trade qualification – either an apprenticeship or vocational qualification. You would also need to have work experience of at least 3 years, and to have worked for at least 12 months in your trade in the last 3 years.
If you do not have a formal qualification, it is possible to have a qualification issued via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – in this case you would need to show at least 6 years of work experience in your trade to pass skills assessment.

TRA requires applications to be “decision ready” – any mistake or omission will result in a refusal so it is important to ensure that the application is prepared carefully.

3. Job Ready Program

This option is available for international students who have completed a trade qualification in Australia – generally this would need to be at the Certificate III level or higher.
There are two main parts to the Job Ready Program (JRP) application.

Firstly, you would obtain a provisional skills assessment by showing that you have completed a relevant qualification in Australia and have worked in a relevant position for at least 360 hours. You would use the provisional skills assessment to apply for an 18-month Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visa.

Secondly, you would work full time in your trade in Australia for 1725 hours (approx. 12 months). The work must be registered with TRA by the employer, and you would need to keep a log book of your work. Towards the end of your 1725 hours, you would have a practical trade test and only then would you be issued a skills assessment you can use for a permanent visa application.

Skilled Migration Points Test

Next, you would need to obtain at least 60 points in the skilled migration points test.
You can score points for a number of different factors, including:

Your Age
Skilled Work Experience – you can score points for work experience either in Australia or overseas
English language ability – to score points, you would need to undertake English language testing
Australian Studies
State Nomination
SkillSelect EOI System

Once you have sufficient points, you would lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) through SkillSelect.
It is not possible to apply directly for a General Skilled Migration visa – you must first be invited through SkillSelect.

State Nomination (Optional)

If you do not have an SOL occupation, you would apply for state nomination after lodging your EOI. States and territories have their own criteria for state nomination – this would in general require you to demonstrate your work experience, English language ability and commitment to living in the state or territory.
Visa Application

Once you have received your invitation through SkillSelect, you have 60 days lodge your visa application.
You will need to provide documentation on the points you claimed in your EOI, so it’s very important that the EOI is completed accurately.

You and your family members will be asked to complete health and police checks. Once your application is granted, you would generally have 12 months from completing your health and police checks to enter Australia for the first time.

The Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training reviews the skilled migration program’s Skilled Occupation List each year based on certain criteria e.g., demand and supply or the amount of training needed etc., and flags certain occupations for future removal. Today was the last day for submitting feedback to the Minister for Immigration for consideration in March. The final list will take affect from 1st July next year.

The current list includes 183 occupations and is used to determine the eligibility for Australia’s permanent skilled migration scheme. There is another list which is longer, called the Consolidated Skilled Occupation list, which is for temporary work visas under 457 visa scheme.

Right now, the following occupations have been shortlisted for potential removal from Skilled occupation list.

  • Production Manager (Mining)
  • Accountant (General)
  • Management Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Land Economist
  • Valuer
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Ship’s Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Cartographer
  • Other Spatial Scientist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Structural Engineer
  • Transport Engineer
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Production or Plant Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Engineering Technologist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Diagnostic Radiographer
  • Medical Radiation Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • General Practitioner
  • Anaesthetist
  • Cardiologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Intensive Care Specialist
  • Paediatrician
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
  • Medical Practitioners (nec)
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Psychologists (nec)
  • Chef*
  • Boat Builder and Repairer
  • Shipwright

DIBP Independent review into the integrity of the 457 programme.

DIBP Independent review into the integrity of the 457 programme.

Training Benchmarks A and B to training Fund

English language level will be altered to an IELTS average of 5 overall,

ATO and the Department have signed an MOU which allows information to be shared on 457 visa holder salaries.

English language providers are already in progress

For more details, call us for Live Migration Consultation on 1900 969 8472 or book an appointment for the consultation on 03 9670 1010 or your walk in during office hours at 402/343 Little Collins St Melbourne – MY VISA ONLINE

Coalition opens way for foreign chefs, brickies

THOUSANDS of foreign chefs, bricklayers and tilers will no longer have to be sponsored by employers to obtain permanent visas, as the Abbott government eases skilled migration rules to address alleged labour shortages.

Under changes backed by business groups, the three professions have been added to the Skilled Occupation List from July, meaning these workers will be able to apply for a permanent visa without requiring a sponsor.

Unions attacked the changes as unjustified given employers had recently said there were having “little difficulty’’ finding workers in the building industry.

Documents seen by The Weekend Australian also show the agency that recommended the changes acknowledged the inclusion of chefs could result in “exploitation of the training system for permanent residency’’.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said the tourism sector faced labour and skills shortages, with an additional 56,000 workers required by next year, including 26,000 skilled positions.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash said the addition of the three professions would be welcomed in regional areas where there was increased demand for these jobs but “a decrease in apprenticeship completions’’.

“As an island nation with a small population, a sustainable human capital strategy for Australia must be readily available to safeguard business from labour and skills shortages,’’ Senator Cash said.

“However, it would be simplistic to say that there is always an Australian willing and available to fill a particular position in various geographical locations within Australia, and it is the role of the skilled migration program to fill the gap.’’

Under the general skilled migration program, professionals and other skilled migrants can enter Australia without being sponsored by an employer. While they have to nominate an occupation on the skilled occupation list, there is no obligation for them to work in that occupation.

The government has capped the program at 43,990 skilled visas next financial year. For each of the professions on the list, the number of positions available is capped at 6 per cent of the occupation’s workforce.

Senator Cash said the government had decided to set the cap for chefs at 3 per cent for an initial six months.

According to the ABS Labour Force survey, about 76,100 chefs, 23,360 bricklayers and 15,800 floor and wall tilers work in Australia.

Under the 3 per cent cap, up to 2283 overseas chefs could apply for a place in the program, rising to 4566 if the cap went to 6 per cent. For bricklayers, the maximum number would be 1401, and 948 for floor and wall tilers.

Senator Cash stressed the changes would not result in thousands of extra foreign workers coming to Australia. Given total places remained capped at the same level, the entry of additional chefs, bricklayers and tilers would result in less places being approved among the existing 188 occupations on the list.

United Voice, the union representing chefs, said it did not accept there was a “skills gap’’ among chefs.

“The industry has got no problems attracting staff in Australia, the industry has a problem keeping staff,’’ said the union’s acting national secretary, David O’Byrne. “It has high turnover, low wages and highly casualised labour.”

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union pointed to the latest national survey by the Master Builders, which found the degree of difficulty in finding employees and subcontractors decreased in the March quarter.

“All categories are close to record lows with little difficulty finding employees or subcontractors in the building industry,” the survey said.

Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the CFMEU’s construction division, said the policy change “again demonstrates that the Abbott government does not have the interests of working Australians at heart’’.

Master Builders acting chief executive Richard Calver said the survey also showed “strong growth in the residential construction sector’’.

In recommending the changes, the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency said the inclusion of chefs “presents risk in terms of exploitation of the training system for permanent residency purposes’’ as had occurred prior to 2010. It said the risk had been diminished by policy changes.

Mr Robb said the changes would ensure Australia could fill the workforce needs of the “next wave of tourism infrastructure’’.

At Crown casino in Melbourne, Mark Holmes, general manger of food and beverage, said Crown gave priority to recruiting locally and had a program to train Australian chefs. “But we still currently have a number of local chef vacancies which have taken much longer than usual to fill,’’ Mr Holmes said.

Call for visas to serve up chefs


STRICT English language requirements for foreign workers are being reviewed as the Immigration Department negotiates a new labour agreement for the hospitality industry

The department is evaluating an industry request to fast-track thousands more foreign chefs and cooks on temporary work visas.

Separately, the department is considering lowering the existing requirement for 457 visa workers to have “functional ­English’’, as part of a government-ordered inquiry into the temporary work scheme.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive John Hart yesterday revealed the hospitality industry wants the agreement to extend 457 visas to cover waiters and bar staff, as well as skilled chefs and managers.

The industry also wants to waive English language requirements and axe the $53,900 minimum salary.

Mr Hart said foreign workers should be paid the same award rates as Australian staff. And he said kitchen staff did not need to speak English.

“The reality is that most of the people coming into the business are cooks and chefs and many of the kitchens, especially in the ethnic cuisine, don’t use English at all,’’ he said. “The language of the kitchen is the language of the cuisine. It is not appropriate to set the bar so high where there’s no requirement for English in the workplace, particularly with cooks and chefs.’’

Mr Hart said the industry needed to recruit 3500 more chefs and cooks because of a shortage of local labour.

Restaurateur Philip Thompson, who owns the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar, said he had sponsored two chefs and two managers on 457 visas, and relied heavily on backpackers and foreign students to staff his popular Circular Quay eatery.

Mr Thompson said he paid award wages, but still could not find suitable Australian workers.

Only three of his 40 staff, including the head chef, were Australian. He has hired seven Italian waiters — “they’re fantastic and really understand service’’ — but backpacker visa rules prevented him employing them for more than six months.

“It’s not seen as a profession in Australia — it tends to be a part-time job for people to put themselves through uni — but a lot of the overseas people see it as a profession,’’ Mr Thompson said.

His general manager is Indonesian Dimple Nanikram, who first came to Australia from Bali to study business management.

She said Australian jobseekers did not want to work weekends, even though they were paid time and a half on ­Saturdays and double time on Sundays.

The restaurant’s floor manager is 27-year-old Turkish woman Hasrel Talus, who worked for years in international hotels and restaurants in Istanbul before moving to Australia to study English.

“We have 200 resumes at the moment and there is not one Australian one there — they are all from overseas,’’ she said yesterday.

“I love working here; you can’t complain working every day in front of the Harbour Bridge.’’

Rort fears as 457 visa loophole reopened

The Abbott government has quietly reopened a visa loophole that will allow employers to hire an unlimited number of foreign workers under a temporary working visa, in a move that unions say will bring back widespread rorting of the system.

In the Coalition’s bid to remove all ”red tape” from the 457 skilled migrant visa, employers will not be penalised or scrutinised if they hire more foreign staff than they applied for.

Before the loophole was closed in 2013 by the Labor government, companies in the mining, construction and IT industries were knowingly hiring hundreds more foreign workers than they had applied for.


In one example, an employer was granted approval for 100 visas over three years, but in 18 months he had brought in 800 workers under the 457 visa.

Unions say the move, which was introduced on February 14, undermines Australian job security while deliberately reopening a loophole that can easily lead to the exploitation of foreign workers. ”It is reopening a rort for employers,” said Dave Noonan, assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

”Even if the department checks, there is no administrative measure they can take.”

The Australian Workers Union argues it will exploit vulnerable workers. ”It’s deeply concerning that in a jobs crisis, the government is sneaking through changes that undermine local jobs and conditions,” said AWU assistant national secretary Scott McDine.

In March last year then prime minister Julia Gillard said the visa scheme was ”out of control”. During an election campaign visit to western Sydney, Ms Gillard said she wanted the 457 visa tightened ”to stop foreign workers being put at the front of the queue with Australian workers at the back”.

A discussion paper in 2012 also found there was no restriction to the number of 457 workers a company could nominate once a sponsorship is approved.

In the same year, mining magnate Gina Rinehart famously warned that Australians needed to work harder to compete with Africans who will work for less than $2 a day. Yet in June, the boss of Ms Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore project, Barry Fitzgerald, backed away from using foreign workers on 457 visas, saying he was confident he could find the staff locally.

Before the cap was introduced in 2013, the number of 457 visas was quickly rising. In the financial year 2009/10 there were 67,980 visas granted. By 2012/13 there were 126,350 visas granted, statistics from the Department of Immigration show.

Unions are also known to be hostile to the visa class because it has allowed non-union foreign labour to replace unionised local workers.

A spokesman for the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said: ”While the Coalition is … committed to deregulation and the removal of unnecessary red tape, we are equally committed to ensuring the integrity of the 457 program.”

The changes come as the Coalition will review the overall function of the 457 visa, which unions argue is a ”stacked” panel.

”These secretive changes come on the back of the government’s announced review, which has been stacked to deliver a predetermined outcome that will hurt Australian workers,” Mr McDine said.

There are four members on the panel: John Azarias, from Deloitte Australia; Professor Peter McDonald, of the Australian National University; Katie Malyon, from Ernst & Young; and Jenny Lambert, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Read more:

Posted in 457

457 visa rorting: Workers accuse Indian IT giant Tata Consultancy Services of visa abuse

ne of India’s largest IT companies has been accused of misusing 457 visas to bring foreign workers into Australia.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has IT contracts with some of the nation’s largest companies, including Qantas, Woolworths, Telstra and AGL.

Current and former employees of TCS say the company relies on foreign workers, even in areas where there are no skills shortages.

Key points

Indian IT giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) accused of misusing 457 visas.
TCS employs 300,000 worldwide and makes billions, with clients including Qantas, Woolworths, Telstra and AGL.
Company accused of flying in workers without advertising for Australian workers.
Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor wants regulation to force companies to advertise locally.
Union says companies get around regulation by advertising low wages that local workers won’t take.
One worker, who wants to remain anonymous, says TCS overuses 457 visas.

“I believe it did – I was never asked to advertise for any Australians when developers were required,” she said.

Crossbench support helps 457 visa crackdown bill pass Lower House

The Federal Government’s bill to crack down on the 457 foreign worker visa scheme has passed the Lower House.

The bill passed 73 votes to 72 after the Government yesterday struck a compromise deal with crucial crossbench MPs.

A crackdown on 457 visas was announced by former prime minister Julia Gillard in March.

The new laws will force employers to do local labour market testing to prove they cannot find an Australian citizen to do the job before sponsoring an overseas worker on a 457 visa

Changes for 457 Employers from 1 Jul 2013

The Minister for Immigration, Brendan O’Connor, introduced the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013 to Parliament yesterday.
This Bill introduces a number of important changes, most of which make life more difficult for employers seeking to sponsor for 457 visas.

Changes include:
• Labour market testing for 457 visas
• Changes to 457 work conditions
• Employer obligations to become more enforceable
• Fair Work Ombudsman to have more powers for inspection