More to do on skilled migration visas


Following the welcome restoration of a number of sector-related occupations on the list for skilled migration visas announced in June (effective 1 July), the Government has opened a public consultation on reforming Australia’s visa system and designing a new and more simple system.

As part of the June announcement regarding the occupations list, the Government noted that it will review the list every six months and it is understood that at each review point, public consultation will form part of the process. 

Beyond the 30 June announcement, AusBiotech members have raised several further issues, including: ‘Patent Attorney’ and ‘Trade Mark Attorney’ have been removed from the occupations list; a number of occupations that have been returned to the short term list, which provides no pathway to residency; and details of how industry might be consulted moving forward are unclear. 

The list of occupations and the designation on the short or medium to long term list proved to be a critical issue for the attraction of highly‐skilled individuals in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technology industry, which supports Australia’s competitive advantage in life sciences innovation.

In addition to the occupation list for skilled migration visas and the investor visa review, the Government has tasked the Department of Immigration and Border Protection with making the visa system easier to understand and navigate, and therefore more responsive to “Australia’s economic, social and security interests”.

The Department has invited stakeholder submissions on visa simplification and have released a policy consultation paper with key areas for consideration, which include:

  • The scope for a reduction in the number of visas from 99 at present, to approximately ten visas;
  • The delineation between temporary entry and long-term or permanent residence;
  • The role a period of provisional residence could play in enhancing the integrity of the visa system and easing the burden on taxpayers; and
  • Ensuring that our visa system supports Australia as a competitive and attractive destination for temporary and longer-term entrants.

The Department will also be hosting roundtables with key industry, bilateral and international stakeholders in Canberra on Friday, 25 August 2017 from and in Sydney on Tuesday, 29 August 2017.  AusBiotech members interested in attending should please contact Deputy CEO, Lorraine Chiroiu ( as soon as possible.

Public consultation and submissions on designing the new visa system will conclude on 15 September 2017 and can be made direct via the web form or directed to AusBiotech prior.