No takers for thousands of Australian permanent residency visas

No takers for thousands of Australian permanent residency visas

While thousands struggle to meet the requirements for Australian permanent residency, some in-demand trade occupations are seeing very low, or even no applications at all.

Australia is among the most sought-after immigration destinations across the world with tens of thousands of people trying their luck to migrate down under every year as skilled migrants. While many skills are experiencing long queues of visa applicants, there are some that have found absolutely no takers at all.

Of the 190,000 permanent visas that Australia plans to issue every year, nearly 70 per cent is reserved for skilled migrants.

Under the skilled stream migration, prospective migrants are required to nominate an occupation from the relevant occupation list depending upon the kind of visa they apply for. For the skilled independent visa (subclass 189) – a permanent visa allowing indefinite stay and giving the freedom to live and work anywhere in Australia – all applicants file an expression of interest; and based on their points test score, the Department of Home Affairs then issues them an invite to apply for a visa.

This permanent visa has nearly 44,000 places reserved in Australia’s annual immigration planning.

Some occupations such as accountants and IT professionals are so popular that due to a high volume of applications, the Department has introduced pro-rata arrangements, whereas, in some other occupations, no invites were issued during the last financial year.
Out of the total 73 occupations that are subject to a ceiling, at least six were such that did not have a single invite issued in 2017-18.

Wall and floor tilers, automotive electricians, electrical distribution trade workers, boat builders and shipwrights, precision metal trade workers and livestock farmers together account for 9,603 visa places.

Sheet metal trade workers, cabinet makers, glaziers, panel beaters and barristers and some health diagnostic and promotion professionals – together accounting for over 5,300 visa places – saw just one applicant receiving an invite for each of the six occupations.

Most visa applicants with trades occupations prefer to take other routes to Australian permanent residency.

In order for subclass 189 visa applicants to succeed, they require relatively higher levels of English proficiency, work experience and educational qualifications. In most cases, applicants with these occupations would prefer a sponsored visa that would get them additional points to meet the minimum requirements.

A majority of the migrants are from India – a country that’s currently the biggest source of permanent migrants and Australian citizens.

While it can be an express route to permanent residency for applicants with the necessary skills, experience and English proficiency, some occupations are more popular than others among Indian migrants.

The choice of occupations depends on the ease of doing the course and then the ability of the students to find an employer because most of them would look to gain post-study work experience and then employer sponsorships to make up for any gap in the points requirement.

457 visa repeal leaves talent gap in advertising

457 visa repeal leaves talent gap in advertising

Top recruiters believe the 457 visa repeal is contributing to a bigger talent gap in the advertising industry, but is it time the industry stopped complaining and focused on training local execs?

Speaking at the AdNews Lessons in Leadership event, the panel shared their frustrations with recruiting from overseas following the overhaul of the 457 visa that moved a number of advertising specific roles to the list of occupations only eligible for the short term visa, which does not offer a route to permanent residency.

Iknowho consultant Sheryn Small agencies are shying away from sponsoring people as it’s become more expensive and a more difficult process, which in turn has made it harder for recruiters to find talent.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of the talent pool, particularly in the advertising industry, comes from abroad,” Small said.

“It’s having an impact on our ability to find people in the market and to also employ people with international experience, which used to be really attractive for a lot of agencies. It’s a lot tougher to do.”

Small was speaking on the panel alongside Publicis Communications talent acquisition director Courtney Robinson, Scout managing director Patrick Flaherty, Hourigan International leadership consultant Simon Hadfield and Commtract CEO Luke Achterstraat.

Robinson said research from Publicis found that Australia loses 15% of its talent to overseas opportunities and there are no international candidates to plug those holes following the 457 changes.

“We’re losing a lot of people and not able to get them back,” she said.

Flaherty argued that the talent shortage and skills gap is nothing new, particularly for media agencies struggling to fill complex data and technology roles, so it’s time the industry accepted the 457 changes as a reality and focused now on training.

“There’s a lot of negativity around the changes but we need to embrace it. We’re constantly trying to educate our company’s leaders and look at upskilling and development of their staff. That’s crucial right now because talent pools are rapidly shrinking,” he said.

“The pools are shrinking by the second, which is an alarming rate, but we have to do something about that and the clear way of doing that is through training, upskilling and trying to promote people back into the industry.”

 

PM declares intent to slash immigration numbers

PM declares intent to slash immigration numbers

Scott Morrison said Australia should only accept as much people as “our infrastructure can support”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged a cut to immigration, declaring Sydney and Melbourne at capacity and he is ready to agree to state calls for curbs to new Australians.

But Mr Morrison predicted regional centres, including Rockhampton in Queensland, Tasmania and Adelaide, want more migrants and have the capacity to accept more new arrivals.

The Prime Minister’s confirmation he wants to slash immigration to Australia’s largest capital cities follows NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s call to halve the migration intake on the grounds that “rates have gone through the roof”.

Broadcaster Alan Jones pressed the Mr Morrison on immigration levels during his Radio 2GB program Wednesday, warning that it was a “big issue” for voters.

Mr Jones asserted that Australia had the highest per capita immigration intake in the world.

“What our immigration policy should be is the sum of the number that our infrastructure can support,” Mr Morrison replied.

“Instead of doing a top down approach, what I am doing with the states and territories now is saying, ‘you tell me. You tell me how many people you can accommodate … around your state’.” he said.

“Our immigration numbers will be based on how many people those states can support.”

Mr Jones interjected that people will say that means an immigration cut.

“Well, we will do the sums and in Sydney and Melbourne I think that’s true,” Mr Morrison said.

“But they say they can take an extra 10,000 people here in Rockhampton. In Adelaide they want more people and more jobs. In Tasmania they are increasing their population and they want more,” he said.

Earlier this year Ms Berejiklian established an expert panel to build the case for a lower immigration policy to take to the Federal Government next year.

The Prime Minister and Mr Jones also clashed over climate change policy and the Paris agreement during the interview.

“You don’t need Paris. Rip it up!”,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Morrison replied that Pairs was “important to our Pacific neighbours”.

“Why? Because global warming is going to wash away islands in the Pacific? That’s crap,” Mr Jones answered.

Mr Morrison said Mr Jones was “entitled to that view” and the region was also entitled to its view.

“Do you think that Bondi Beach is going to end up in Bathurst?,” Mr Jones asked, in reference to warning of rising sea levels.

“No, I don’t think that at all,” Mr Morrison said.

Minister defends benefits of immigration ahead of planned changes to skilled intake

Minister defends benefits of immigration ahead of planned changes to skilled intake

The Morrison government is flagging a change to skilled migration to maximise the gains for employers and the economy, as it claims a long-term boost worth $9.7 billion from the arrival of new migrants every year.

Immigration Minister David Coleman will make the case for strong migration in a major speech on Friday that signals the government’s reform plan while defending the annual intake against critics who want radical cuts.

The policy speech puts Australians on notice to expect extensive changes to the regional migration program as well as a preference for skilled workers who are sponsored by employers rather than those who seek to arrive on their own.

Mr Coleman will also caution against demands for cuts to more than 500,000 overseas students now studying in Australia, noting the education sector now earns four times as much export revenue as beef.

“Our nation’s history is one of immigration, and we should be proud of it,” Mr Coleman says in a draft of the speech to be made on Friday.

“Every town, every suburb, every sporting club, every church in our nation has immigration success stories. We should celebrate these successes.”

The remarks are a contrast with the calls for lower migration from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton before the August leadership spill that installed Scott Morrison as Prime Minister and led to a cabinet reshuffle in which Mr Coleman gained key parts of Mr Dutton’s portfolio.

“There is no question that our economy would be weaker, and our living standards lower, if we had not embraced immigration,” Mr Coleman says in the speech to the Migration Institute of Australia.

Australia gains a “net fiscal benefit” worth $9.7 billion over five decades from the migrant intake in just one year, according to a Deloitte Access Economics analysis of the 2014-15 cohort.

“By adding workers, migration offsets the impacts of an aging population and helps enable us to pay for the essential services we all need,” Mr Coleman says.

“Not all elements of the skilled programme are equal. The best results in the programme come from employer-sponsored applicants.

“There is an opportunity to increase the focus here, leading to direct and substantial economic benefits.”

The comments prepare the ground for changes to favour those who are sponsored by employers because they add more to the economy.

As well, Mr Coleman emphasises the advantage of encouraging younger migrants because taxpayers have to cover the cost of those who are closer to retirement age.

“The best economic results generally come from migrants who are skilled and young. Our policies should reflect that fact,” he says.

On foreign students, Mr Coleman notes that education services generated $30 billion in export revenue last year, four times as much as beef and five times as much as wheat.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has warned about the 1.6 million visitors to Australia with work rights, a group that includes students, and Labor employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor has raised the idea of a cap on the program.

Mr Coleman says that over 230,000 international visitors came to Australia to visit an international student last year, spending $994 million.

“Around 56,000 international visitors came to Australia to attend an overseas student graduation in 2014, contributing $208 million to the economy,” he says.

“Students support high skill, high wage jobs in the education sector – a big positive for our economy.”

PM eyes plan to encourage international students to study at regional unis

PM eyes plan to encourage international students to study at regional unis

The Prime Minister says moving students could ease overcrowding in major capital cities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering a plan to encourage international students to move to regional centres, which could ease population growth in Sydney and Melbourne.

“In the north, they want more population, In Adelaide they want more population.” Mr Morrison said.

“But I can tell you in the outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, they don’t so it’s about how you manage population and there are plenty of levers for how you do that.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were more than 786 thousand international student enrolments in 2017, but less than four per cent of those were in regional areas.

A move to make those universities more enticing is being welcomed by regional institutions.

“[Students] interact a lot more with the people in the community here [Armidale] so they get to have a more true Australian experience,” University of New England vice-chancellor, Annabelle Duncan, told SBS News.

“The common language between all the international students and the domestic students is English so they practice their English a lot more.” Ms Duncan said.

But the body representing international students is worried they may not have the necessary facilities to make it an enticing option and the plan could have an adverse effect.

“Regional institutions might not have all the courses that the city universities would have,” president of the Council of International Students Australia, Bijay Sapkota, told.

“There could be less opportunity for work integrated learning because big corporations would be established in the city area rather than the regional area.”

Australia’s immigration intake to remain at last year’s level: PM Scott Morrison

Australia’s immigration intake to remain at last year’s level: PM Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he expects Australia’s permanent annual immigration intake to remain at year’s level “just a little over 160,000″ against the planning level of 190,000.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia’s annual immigration intake will continue to remain at last year’s level, which was nearly 28,000 less than the planning level of 190,000.

“Our current permanent immigration levels are running just a little over 160,000. That was the level of the permanent immigration that was running at the time of the conclusion of the Howard Government,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

“They used to be a bit higher than that in terms of what the permanent intake had been a few years ago and that has come down somewhat over the last year or so. And I expect it to remain at those levels,” he said responding to a question about NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian’s call to slash the state’s overseas migration intake to John Howard-era levels.

Last year, Australia’s permanent immigration intake fell to below 163,000 – the lowest since 2007-08 under John Howard.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton who was responsible for the Immigration portfolio before Mr Morrison took the reins of the country from Malcolm Turnbull, attributed the decline in immigration to enhanced security checks.

Earlier this week, Immigration Minister, David Coleman indicated that his department would continue the approach adopted since last year.

“We did see last year, the impact the increased security process had,” Mr Coleman said in Melbourne.

“It is absolutely fundamental that we in no way absolutely compromise on security. We are not going to do that. We are going to be very careful.

Australia’s annual immigration planning levels have been consistent at 190,000 since 2011. The actual intake has been consistent with the planning levels since then for most of the time until 2016-17 when the intake was just over 183,000.

Last year’s figures showed a decline of over 21,000 in the number permanent visas issued compared to the previous year, primarily driven by a cut in skilled and family stream visas.

In 2017-18, the skilled stream visas saw a cut of over 12,000 and family stream visas were also cut by 15 per cent.

The continuing visa squeeze reflects in the number of invites issued by the Immigration Department to visa aspirants who have submitted their expression of interest to apply for a permanent visa.

‘Not possible to police’ Coalition plan to force new migrants to live in rural areas

‘Not possible to police’ Coalition plan to force new migrants to live in rural areas

Minister fails to specify how migrants would be shifted from big cities, after former Australian Border Force chief questions policy

The government will face big problems in enforcing its latest proposal to send new migrants to the regions, the former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg has said.

Alan Tudge, dubbed the “minister for congestion busting” by prime minister Scott Morrison delivered the government’s latest foray into solving overcrowding in Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday, in a speech proposing further decentralisation, visa changes and incentives to move new migrants out of big cities.

But the man whose job was to enforce visa conditions before he was sacked for misconduct in March, and who has gone on to become a notable critic of Coalition policy, questioned the enforceability of the scheme.

“Imposition of the visa condition is the easy part,” Quaedvlieg said on Twitter. “Enforcement will be harder. Migrants will gravitate to opportunities and amenities in cities. It’s not possible to police the condition without substantial resources, both identifying breaches and sanctioning them.”

Coalition ministers have been raising the prospect of a specialised regional visa since early this year, when Peter Dutton told Sydney radio 2GB new migrants should move to the regions, picking up part of Tony Abbott’s “conservative manifesto” from 2017.

But they have so far failed to provide answers on how such a scheme would work, or be enforced. Asked on ABC radio ahead of his speech on Tuesday, Tudge noted Australia already put “conditions on all sorts of visas”, suggesting the penalties which currently apply to other visa classes, such as revocation of visas, could be extended to migrants who left regional areas.

Morrison dismissed the idea himself while in opposition in 2010, telling the ABC that it was “false hope that this this problem’s going to be solved because a population minister is going to fantastically move people around like it has never been done before in our history”.

But with the election looming and minor parties such as One Nation beginning to marshal voter anger against immigration, the Morrison government is looking to get ahead of electorate dissatisfaction, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

In his speech, Tudge said one way of encouraging movement out of the big cities was to “match the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia”.

“As I indicated earlier, net overseas migration accounts for 60% of our overall population growth and around 75% of the growth of the big two cities,” he said.

“Hence, settling even a slightly larger number of new migrants to the smaller states and regions can take significant pressure off our big cities. There are some constraints to this, of course – for example 25% of our annual migration intake is directly related to an employer sponsoring a person for a job where they cannot get an Australian. We do not want to jeopardise the growth of those sponsoring businesses, and hence the wealth of our nation.

“A further 30% concerns family reunion – typically, an Aussie marrying a foreigner. We cannot send a person’s spouse to a different state.

“But apart from these two categories, there is no geographical requirement for a newly arrived migrant. We are working on measures to have more new arrivals go to the smaller states and regions and require them to be there for at least a few years.”

Labor has pledged to establish an independent body to monitor labour shortages and supply across Australia’s regions if elected. Its spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said the opposition would examine the government’s proposal.

But he said the government “has really done nothing to ease the congestion in our capital cities” in the past five years.

“We have to be very careful here,” he said. There are many regions of this country where there are not many jobs. In fact, unemployment is very high in regional Australia, in many parts of regional Australia.

“So the idea that you would direct people coming through the immigration processes to regions where there’s already high unemployment could compound a problem, not make it better. So we have to get this right. If the government is serious about this, they should consider the evidence, they should get advice from experts, and they should be very careful about not displacing local workers where unemployment is already high in regions of this country.”

Labor’s argument is similar to what Morrison himself argued eight years ago, when he dismissed the idea as “unfair to the Australian people to suggest that is a realistic option” in the short or medium term.

“Long term, I think there are still real doubts. The history of settlement over centuries means that people will come and gravitate to areas where there is population,” he told the ABC in July 2010.

Unions NSW also dismissed the latest proposal as cementing disadvantage among migrants and driving down wages.

“We have already seen what happens when you force working holidaymakers to spend 88 days working in the regions, secretary Mark Morey said in a statement.

“You smash their capacity to negotiate and usher in rampant exploration. Alan Tudge’s latest thought bubble is no different.”

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

Skilled migrants to spend ‘at least a few years’ in regional Australia under Morrison’s population plan

New population minister Alan Tudge said up to 45 percent of permanent immigrants could be diverted to visas that force them to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas, or small states like South Australia

The Morrison government has promised visa reforms that will force a significant chunk of Australia’s annual intake of 190,000 permanent migrants to spend “at least a few years” in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

The move, advocated by the Nationals and key lobby groups like the Farmers’ Federation, is part of the government’s bid to tackle population growth in the country’s congested capitals while stimulating regional areas crying out for more labour.

Scott Morrison’s newly appointed “congestion-busting” minister for population and cities, Alan Tudge, announced the plan at a speech in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Existing regional visas only divert around 5,000 of the annual permanent intake, which is capped at 190,000 places.

The new scheme would be much more ambitious and could force nearly half of the migration stream to settle in regional areas and the smaller states.

Mr Tudge said the policy would not impact the 25 percent who come on employer-sponsored visas, where a specific company vouches for the migrant, or the roughly 30 percent who come on family reunion visas.

“But about 45 percent of our visas aren’t attached to a geographical location as such, and therefore there are those opportunities to provide those incentives and encouragements to reside elsewhere,” Mr Tudge said.

The visas would require migrants to live outside the major cities for “at least a few years”, he said, using a “combination of encouragement and some conditions”.

The government’s proposal relates to skilled visas, but Mr Tudge said there was an ongoing discussion about moving more of the humanitarian refugee intake to rural areas as well.

Enforcement questioned
The minister would not specify what punishments might apply to migrants who breach their conditions, or how long the conditions would be imposed.

“Nearly every visa has some conditions attached to it,” he said, flagging more detail in the coming “months”.

Migrants to be forced into regional Australia under federal government population plan

Migrants to be forced into regional Australia under federal government population plan

The Morrison Government has revisited a well-worn plan to force migrants to regional and rural centres to help ease congestion in capital cities as population growth outstrips infrastructure building.

Cities and Population Minister Alan Tudge revived the idea in his first major speech as Cities and Population Minister, revealing congestion cost $25 billion in 2017-18, and will rise to $40 billion a year by 2030.

But it’s also a policy that Scott Morrison dismissed out of hand in opposition.

“To hold out some false hope that this problem’s going to be solved because a Population Minister is going to fantastically move people around like has been done before in our history, is I think unfair to the Australian people to suggest that that is a realistic option, certainly in the short, or medium term,” Mr Morrison said in 2010.

“The government can talk to the cows come home about getting people into the regions and we would pursue policies similar to that but we cannot be unrealistic and disingenuous with the Australian people by suggesting that is a substitute for easing the population pressure on those in western Sydney and other parts of the country.

“It is just simply not telling the truth.”

Mr Morrison later tried to clarify those criticisms, saying what Labor proposed isn’t being contemplated by his government.

“The migration program is one thing,” he said.

“What I was referring to is migration in isolation being the solution to this issue. It is not.

“Migration is part of a suite of policies that deal with congestion in our cities.”

Still, Mr Tudge told the Menzies Institute travel in peak times in Sydney takes 65 percent longer than off-peak, and 55 percent, in Melbourne.

Australia’s population grew 3.75 million, nearly twice the previous decade, adding a city the size of Canberra every year.

The main factor, in Sydney and Melbourne, is net overseas migration, that accounted for 60 percent of national population growth over the last 10 years.

Temporary migration increased rapidly as well, rising about 70,000 a year.

“There are benefits of a larger, more diverse population,” Mr Tudge said.

A larger population means a stronger economy. With this comes greater opportunities for Australians.

“However, there are also challenges. The greatest challenge is the pressure it puts on our big cities in the form of congestion. In Sydney and Melbourne, and south-east Queensland.

“This is exacerbated by the fact that 75 percent of the population growth has been to our three largest population areas.”

According to statistics, 87 percent of all skilled migrants are going to Sydney and Melbourne, along with almost all the humanitarian intake.

Sending migrants to regional areas, and less populated states, is part of a four-part strategy being considered.

Those coming to Australia on family reunions visas wouldn’t be affected.

The government hasn’t yet decided where the migrants might be sent, or under what conditions.

“There are regional areas that simply cannot get people to do the work available.,” the minister said.

“Matching skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be the key to the success of this approach.”

Mr Tudge said a massive infrastructure program would also ease the squeeze in the major cities, after years of playing “catch up”, along with a high-speed rail network, and economic incentives for regional Australia.

While Labor once supported the policy, frontbencher Brendan O’Connor dismissed it as a “thought bubble” by a “thought bubble boy” prime minister, saying regional sponsored migration scheme processing times had blown out under the Liberals.

Mr O’Connor called for labour market testing, promising an independent body to look at where labour shortages might exist.

Migrants to be forced into regional Australia under federal government population plan

Migrants to be forced into regional Australia under federal government population plan

The Morrison Government has revisited a well-worn plan to force migrants to regional and rural centres to help ease congestion in capital cities as population growth outstrips infrastructure building.

Cities and Population Minister Alan Tudge revived the idea in his first major speech as Cities and Population Minister, revealing congestion cost $25 billion in 2017-18, and will rise to $40 billion a year by 2030.

But it’s also a policy that Scott Morrison dismissed out of hand in opposition.

“To hold out some false hope that this problem’s going to be solved because a Population Minister is going to fantastically move people around like has been done before in our history, is I think unfair to the Australian people to suggest that that is a realistic option, certainly in the short, or medium term,” Mr Morrison said in 2010.

“The government can talk to the cows come home about getting people into the regions and we would pursue policies similar to that but we cannot be unrealistic and disingenuous with the Australian people by suggesting that is a substitute for easing the population pressure on those in western Sydney and other parts of the country.

“It is just simply not telling the truth.”

Mr Morrison later tried to clarify those criticisms, saying what Labor proposed isn’t being contemplated by his government.

“The migration program is one thing,” he said.

“What I was referring to is migration in isolation being the solution to this issue. It is not.

“Migration is part of a suite of policies that deal with congestion in our cities.”

Still, Mr Tudge told the Menzies Institute travel in peak times in Sydney takes 65 percent longer than off-peak, and 55 percent, in Melbourne.

Australia’s population grew 3.75 million, nearly twice the previous decade, adding a city the size of Canberra every year.

The main factor, in Sydney and Melbourne, is net overseas migration, that accounted for 60 percent of national population growth over the last 10 years.

Temporary migration increased rapidly as well, rising about 70,000 a year.

“There are benefits of a larger, more diverse population,” Mr Tudge said.

“A larger population means a stronger economy. With this comes greater opportunities for Australians.

“However, there are also challenges. The greatest challenge is the pressure it puts on our big cities in the form of congestion. In Sydney and Melbourne, and south-east Queensland.

“This is exacerbated by the fact that 75 percent of the population growth has been to our three largest population areas.”

According to statistics, 87 percent of all skilled migrants are going to Sydney and Melbourne, along with almost all the humanitarian intake.

Sending migrants to regional areas, and less populated states, is part of a four-part strategy being considered.

Those coming to Australia on family reunions visas wouldn’t be affected.

The government hasn’t yet decided where the migrants might be sent, or under what conditions.

“There are regional areas that simply cannot get people to do the work available.,” the minister said.

“Matching skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be the key to the success of this approach.”

Mr Tudge said a massive infrastructure program would also ease the squeeze in the major cities, after years of playing “catch up”, along with a high-speed rail network, and economic incentives for regional Australia.

While Labor once supported the policy, frontbencher Brendan O’Connor dismissed it as a “thought bubble” by a “thought bubble boy” prime minister, saying regional sponsored migration scheme processing times had blown out under the Liberals.

Mr O’Connor called for labour market testing, promising an independent body to look at where labour shortages might exist.