CEOs, university lecturers among those now able to apply for skilled worker visa

A refined list of occupations eligible to apply for a skilled worker visa comes into effect today, after the Federal Government made a number of concessions.

The changes will see people with some occupations such as chief executives or university lecturers now able to apply for a four-year temporary visa instead of a two-year visa.

Some sectors had complained it would harm their industries.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said the “key issues” it had raised with the Government had been addressed.

“Research is a global enterprise,” she said.

“Just as Australian researchers look to go overseas at least for a period of time to further develop their own research capability and skills, we have to be able to do the same thing for researchers wanting to come to Australia.”

The Business Council of Australia also said the changes were a more sensible approach..

“They relate to highly specialised roles that bring expertise and global experience to Australia to benefit us all through skills and information transfer,” the council’s chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, said in a statement.

But Ms Westacott said the council was still worried about how companies would fill specialist roles in the finance and IT sectors.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association also had a mixed response to the revised lists, warning Australian jobs would still be lost.

In a statement, its chief executive Steve Knott said he was pleased the Government had listened to industry concerns about the importance of skilled migration for chemical engineers, metallurgists, mining production managers and helicopter pilots.

“AMMA strongly lobbied the Government to ensure it understood the impact of changing 23 high-priority occupations, a number of which have been listened to,” Mr Knott said.

“It’s disappointing that occupations such as drillers and many roles critical to maritime operations were removed.”

He said the association would continue to lobby the government over those outstanding occupations.

The groups removed from the list of eligible occupations include real estate agents, university tutors and psychotherapists.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government had done extensive consultation with the industry to ensure the revised lists reflected skill shortages in the labour market.

“The Government recognises the importance of enabling Australian businesses to tap into global talent to remain internationally competitive and support a strong national science and innovation agenda,” Mr Dutton said.

All visa applicants are now required to go through criminal checks.

The exemption to English language testing for subclass skilled worker visa applicants with a salary over $96,400 has also been scrapped, with the exception of employees moving to an Australian branch of a foreign parent company.

Courtesy of the ABC – By political reporter Alexandra Beech