Media & Speeches

Sensible Changes to Temporary Skilled Visa Program

“We welcome the refinements announced by the Turnbull Government to the temporary skilled visa system,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said today.

“The changes are essential for building a globally competitive economy for all Australians.

“They relate to highly specialised roles that bring expertise and global experience to Australia to benefit us all through skills and information transfer.

“We are pleased the Government consulted widely and listened to businesses who were worried that the system had become too restrictive for those who wanted to fill senior and specialised roles.

“The changes announced today are sensible and address the genuine concern that a two year visa is not long enough to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.”

The revised skilled occupation lists mean that skilled migrants filling genuine vacancies for chief executive and senior executive positions, along with a range of other high skilled occupations, can again access a four year temporary visa as opposed to two year.

“Australia is in an increasingly competitive contest for talent. The Government has sought to strike the right balance, allowing business to fill short term skill shortages with skilled migrants while continuing to require companies to hire locally first wherever possible and develop their Australian employees.

“Businesses naturally prefer to hire Australians – it’s easier, less costly and means workers come ready with valuable local knowledge and skills – but sometimes skilled migrants are needed due to the company-specific, technical or global nature of a role.”

The Business Council will continue to work with members and the government to monitor the impact of the new visa system, for example we remain concerned about filling specialist roles in the finance and ICT sectors.

“The new temporary visa system should also operate in tandem with a revitalised vocational education and training system that will prepare Australians with the right skills to thrive in a modern, dynamic economy.”