Monday, 11 March 2019
Media release

Regional Australia to benefit from skilled occupation list update

​Farmers, including those battling through drought, will have better access to skilled workers to fill critical job shortages, with updates to Australia’s skilled occupation lists to take effect today.

Eighteen occupations will be added to the Regional Occupation List to further support regional and rural businesses, particularly farms.

The occupations include livestock, beef, dairy, sheep, aquaculture and crop farmers, among other agricultural roles.

The category of dentist and anaesthetist have also been added to the regional list to meet skill shortages and provide regional communities with the services they need.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the Government has listened to farmers and those within the agricultural industry who are calling for better access to workers.

“This update responds to calls from regional Australia for better access to skilled workers in key areas of need and will boost access to services required by our local communities,” Mr Coleman said.

“These updates build on recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker visa program and the Seasonal Worker Program to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia without displacing Australian workers.

“We want Australians filling Australian jobs but when this isn’t possible action is needed to ensure farmers can continue to operate.”

The Regional Occupation List helps provide employers with the support they need allowing overseas workers to live and work in Australia for up to four years for the sponsoring employer in a specified region.

Eight occupations have been added to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List including footballer and tennis coach.

For footballers, this change will mean that professional footballers can be sponsored to work in Australia for a longer time. This will assist Australian football clubs to attract elite international talent and develop Australia’s competitiveness on the international stage.

“These changes recognise Australia’s passion for sports. Having access to highly skilled professionals helps to develop local talent and facilitate skills and knowledge transfer in Australia,” Mr Coleman said.

“The Government continues to focus the Migration Program on addressing skills gaps in the economy and these initiatives demonstrate that commitment.

“In stark contrast, the Labor Party has refused to rule out scrapping parts of our temporary visa program, including parts of the Working Holiday Maker Program which would have a devastating impact on regional employers trying to plug labour gaps.

“Working holiday makers are critical in filling short-term workforce shortages and also inject billions into Australia’s economy each year, particularly in regional areas.”

The Morrison Government recently announced it would enhance the Working Holiday Maker program to better support farmers to fill critical workforce shortages.

Updates to the skilled occupation lists are based on extensive consultation with industry and take into account labour market advice from the Department of Jobs and Small Business, which conducts regular reviews of the lists.

The changes will apply to new applications and will not affect existing nominations or applications.

Further information on the update to the skilled occupation lists can be found here.