Australia is the lucky country for many people looking to develop their career in a place where the quality of life is excellent.
Around 111,000 migrants with skills moved to Australia with a permanent visa in 2017-18. That’s over 60% of all permanent visas granted that year! Of those 111,000, 35,000 were employer-sponsored and an additional 64,000 skilled migrants were granted temporary visas.
68,000 of these moved over as part of Australia’s General Skilled Migration (GSM) program. The federal government has a Skilled Occupation List that covers more than 670 occupations. You might be wondering what jobs are on this list. And can I get one as a newcomer in Australia? First, we need to know more about skilled migration in Australia.
What is Skilled Migration in Australia?
Permanent skilled migration to Australia is categorised into four groups:
- General skilled migration, GSM – for skilled workers who are not employer sponsored
- Employer nomination – for migrants with an employer willing to sponsor them
- Business skills migrations – for successful business people looking to settle in Australia and develop new business here
- Distinguished talent – a small group for people with special or unique talents such as in sport or music
The majority of permanent skilled migration falls under the GSM group. Part of the purpose of the GSM is to attract migrants to parts of Australia other than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. A State-Specific Regional Migration scheme is one way this is achieved.
Australian states/territories nominate a migrant for a visa. When nominated for such a visa, you are required to live in a defined area of the state/territory for at least two years. The Skilled Occupation List has 670 occupations listed with varying skill levels and requirements.
What Skilled Workers are Needed in Australia?
More and more young Australians are attending university and seeking jobs in the professional industry. This means jobs in the trade industry are in high demand. Apprenticeships are at a 10-year low in Australia, thus the allocation of visas for trade occupations all increased in the 2019-20 year. In addition, trade jobs are generally less competitive than jobs in the professional industry.
Many white collar professional jobs have seen a decrease as well. The allocated number of visas for accountants has halved and in many states/territories IT jobs have also seen a decrease.
Here are the most in-demand trade jobs in Australia for 2019/20:
- Carpenters and joiners
- Metal fitters and machinists
- Structural steel and welding trade workers
How Do I Get a Trade Job in Australia?
There are various ways to get a trade job in Australia. The most obvious place to start is by looking on local job posting websites such as Seek, Indeed and Gumtree Jobs. Many jobs aren’t advertised publicly on these job sites, however. It is only through networking or a recruitment agency that you might find them.
Many migrants in Australia find that their lack of local experience is what is holding them back from getting a job. If this is the case, volunteering or applying for temporary work in your industry can help you get this experience. Another barrier of entry is lacking recognisable qualifications in Australia.
Getting Recognised Qualifications
In Australia, most trade work requires a license specific to your trade. These differ state by state but generally have the same requirements. Until you are able to get this license, you aren’t able to complete any work with electricity, plumbing or similar systems. You are able to work as a trade assistant in many trades with no license.
In order to work as a qualified tradesperson, you will need to become licensed. First you will need to apply for an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR). An OTSR assesses your existing skills and competencies and identifies any gaps. To learn more about licensing and gaining an Australian occupation licence check the official government website.
With a completed OTSR, you can apply for a provisional license. With a provisional license, you can undergo work in your trade under the supervision of a fully licensed tradesman. During this time you will need to take additional training to meet the Australian qualification’s requirements. Each state has different licenses and so you will need to apply for your relevant one.
Gap and Australian-specific training is carried out, usually within 12 months of obtaining your OTSR. With this complete, you can apply to obtain your relevant Australian qualification. For most trades, you will need to have an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) III Qualification, or the equivalent to apply.
With your full license, you are now able to work without supervision as an electrician, plumber or whatever trade you are licensed for!
How has COVID-19 Impacted Migration to Australia?
With COVID-19 changing the world as we know it, you might be wondering how it has impacted immigration. Every year, the federal government allocates quotas to states and territories for GSM. As of yet, the 2020-21 allocations have not been released.
The Department of Home Affairs has advised states and territories to put their migration programs on hold until further notice. This is in an effort to deal with the immediate and post-recovery phase of COVID-19.
Skilled migration is hugely important to the Australian economy and will eventually return. Some states are even still taking expressions of interest (EOI) for work.
Here is a state by state breakdown of their current positions on skilled migration:
- Victoria – still taking EOIs but the state nomination program remains temporarily closed
- New South Wales – applications for nomination are still closed and are waiting for their quota for the new financial year
- South Australia – skilled migration program is scheduled to re-open early August provided the federal government has announced the state’s quotas
- Queensland – the nomination program is closed until further notices and they are not currently accepting EOIs
- Tasmania – Applications are open but no nominations will be made until quotas are received from the federal government
- Northern Territory – currently not issuing nominations until it receives its quota for the new financial year
Making the move to Australia for new work is a big decision. You will need to seek advice that is relevant to your situation and future desires as well as the occupation you will be applying for in Australia.
Author: David Ellingsen is the founder and owner of the hugely successful business Metropolitanplumbing.com.au in Australia. With over 25 years of experience as the owner of this plumbing, electrical and air conditioning business, and even more experience as a plumber before this, David knows all there is to know about these services.