Process for skilled occupation lists takes shape


In further work on skilled migration visa provisions, the Federal Government has made the Department of Employment (DoE) responsible for reviewing and recommending eligible occupations and revealed the process for the next update of lists on 1 January 2018.

The list of occupations and the designation on the both the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) has proven to be a critical issue for the attraction of highly‐skilled individuals in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technology industry.  The skills attracted to Australia under the program, supports Australia’s competitive advantage in life sciences innovation.

The DoE has announced the process, and invites feedback at two key points regarding: the methodology for undertaking the review; and the specific occupations that should be on the skilled occupation lists.

The first consultation on the methodology is now open and seeks comment on the framework for undertaking the occupations review. Details on how to make a submission and further information about the process can be found online until 20 October 2017.

Once the methodology is finalised, a second consultation stage is expected to begin in November 2017 to seek advice and evidence on whether specific occupations should be removed, added, or moved between the skilled occupation lists.

AusBiotech welcomed restoration of key occupations to the skilled migration visa list in July this year after many concerns were addressed by the Federal Government.

Mr Glenn Cross, CEO of AusBiotech said at the time that: “The return of numerous occupations to the skilled lists is an important and welcome step that demonstrates support for Australia’s competitive advantage in life sciences innovation.”

“We understand the need for the Government to ensure that the visa program benefits Australia and the scheme must be viewed as a tool to fill the skills gaps that exists in Australia. In this instance the gaps are in research and industries that create highly-attractive highly skilled jobs, attracts clinical research, upskills the local talent pool and grows the local economy.”

However concerns remained beyond the 30 June announcement, AusBiotech members have raised further issues, including: ‘Patent Attorney’ and ‘Trade Mark Attorney’ have been removed from the occupations list; and a number of occupations that have been returned only to the short term list, which provides no pathway to residency. 

Feedback on the occupations list methodology may be directed to Lorraine Chiroiu, Deputy CEO AusBiotech, on / (03) 9828 1400 by 18 October 2017.