Labor is proposing to abolish two different occupations lists and replace it with one skills list with a pathway to permanent residency if elected.
Federal Labor says the Coalition government’s Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will be abolished if it wins the upcoming federal elections.
The Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann MP, announced the move during an address to the Absolute Immigration Forum on March 19 in Sydney.
Today I addressed a forum hosted by @Absolute_Immi about Labor’s plans to ensure local workers are given the first shot at local jobs.
Our visa system must work as intended and with integrity; not be exploited.
“Labor will abolish the Government’s Short-Term Skilled Occupation List and Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List. If elected, a Labor Government will replace these lists with one Skills Shortage Occupations List with pathways to permanent residence,” Mr Neumann said in his address.
He said Labor will establish a new, independent, labour market testing body – the Australian Skills Authority.
“The Australian Skills Authority – or the ASA – will be responsible for determining genuine skills needs and restrict temporary work visas to only those areas of genuine need,” he said.
Shadow Minister for Immigration Shayne Neumann
“There are almost 1.6 million temporary visa holders with work rights in Australia, with too many employers turning to temporary work visas in an attempt to undercut local jobs, wages and conditions.
“This needs to change and business needs to fix its focus to local workers.
“Labor is committed to reforming the temporary skilled visa system to improve fairness and equity, so we can level the playing field for Australian workers,” he said.
“Any changes will impact skilled Indian migrants”
Indian migrants have emerged as the biggest source of migrants to Australia in recent years.
The latest figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures reveal 20 per cent of those on temporary skilled work visas in 2016 were born in India and 20 per cent of total migrants in 2016-17 came from India.
Any changes to the migration program will impact Indian skilled migrants, registered migration agent Rohit Mohan says.
“Abolishing two different occupations list and replacing it with one occupations list with a pathway to permanent residency is an important announcement and is bound to affect Indian migrants,” Mr Mohan told SBS Hindi.
“Right now, Australia is one of the most sought-after countries for Indians wishing to migrate abroad because of its quality of life and social security.
“But whether a new single occupation list will benefit Indian migrants will depend on how exhaustive the list is. Right now, we have different lists and not everyone is eligible for permanent residency.
“If the proposed new list brings provides those on Short Term list with permanent residency option, it will definitely benefit. But if the eligible occupations are reduced, it may have an adverse effect” Mr Mohan says.
“Abolishing 457 visa has benefitted Australia”
The Coalition government replaced the 457 work visa with a new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa the new Subclass 482 visa in March 2018.
Immigration Minister David Coleman
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman has said Australians have benefited from visa changes which have made it harder to bring skilled migrants to Australia on temporary work visas.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage or the 482 Visa is available in two streams – a short term (2-year visa) and medium term (4-year visa with a pathway to permanent residency) and it requires mandatory work experience besides tightened English language requirements for the longer duration visa.
The short-term stream of the visa does not provide a pathway to permanent residency and can be renewed only once.
Applicants are also required to obtain a positive skill assessment before they can apply for the visa.
In five years, the number of overseas workers almost halved from 130,000 in 2013 to 70,000 in 2017.
The minister attributed the growth in new jobs to the government’s visa reforms.
“More than one million new jobs have been created since the Coalition was elected five years ago and our reforms to close loopholes in the visa system have played an important part,” Minister Coleman said last year.