Updates to the Skilled Migration Occupation Lists

Authored By Ms Carly Fordred

The Department of Home Affairs has published updates to the Short‑term Skilled Occupation List, Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List, and the Regional Occupation List, as of 11 March 2019.

Of particular interest to the recruitment and professional staffing sector is the salary threshold for new recruiter visas in the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa category. This threshold has dropped from AUD90,000 to AUD80,000.

The announcements respond in a small way to the data and information provided by many groups, including APSCo Australia, to the Departments responsible for these lists.  

APSCo Australia Managing Director Julie Mills noted that, in her monthly presentation of Professional Staffing Trends data to the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Jobs and Small Business, the discussion points have not only been related to the recognition of recruitment consultants as professionals but the emerging gaps in various talent pools in the marketplace.

It was also a significant step forward for APSCo to be in a position to present a synopsis of the ANZ Remuneration Report with evidence of the remuneration bands in the sector, with state comparisons and to challenge the narrow definitions used in the ANZSCO records.

APSCo’s positioning has continued to focus on the work being undertaken in training to grow the depth of talent in the sector and some of the initiatives from our UK company being tabled as opportunities for Government and the sector to work together. 

APSCo also delivered position statements on the negative business case for corporate Australia of not being able to build a long term relationship with talent management professionals, which is a real consequence of recruitment consultant being on the Short Term List. APSCo will continue to maintain this conversation at every opportunity and push for the Long Term list as the preferred option while we strengthen the talent pool here in Australia. 

Without a clear summary of changes in the new announcement, it is important to note that:

Recruitment consultants can apply under five nominated visa classes and the genuine nature of the needs will be monitored by the use of the more challenging visas as opposed to the TSS which is relatively straight forward.

  • 190 - Skilled Nominated (subclass 190)
  • 407 - Training visa (subclass 407)
  • 489 - Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) - State or Territory nominated
  • 187 - Regional Sponsor Migration Scheme (subclass 187)
  • 482 - Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) - Short Term Stream

The most popular of these is the Temporary Skill Shortage visa but despite evidence being presented of the size and distribution of the sector, caveats still apply:

  • This visa excludes positions that are in a business that has fewer than five employees and also excludes positions that are in a business that has an annual turnover of less than AUD1M.
  • The main change is that this visa excludes positions that have nominated annual earnings of less than AUD80,000 which is still higher than the benchmarks reported in APSCo's synopsis of the Remuneration Report, but may be more palatable to recruitment companies.

APSCo will be conducting a webinar to assist Members to understand these other options and what caveats might apply. More importantly, the state based visa option, although a more difficult pathway, offers opportunities for APSCo to develop strategies at a state level where the Association has greater influence through regular Professional Staffing Trends briefings.     

A  full summary of the Department's changes can be found at the Department of Home Affairs website.