The changes to visa arrangements announced today will address some of the most critical labour and skills issues facing the tourism, hospitality and veterinarian sectors.
“For some months now we have been raising the alarm that businesses have been unable to operate at full capacity because of widespread labour and skills shortages,” acting CEO Jenny Lambert said.
“Temporarily increasing the number of hours international students can work suits both parties. When borders shut last year, international students in Australia experienced prolonged financial hardship without access to JobSeeker or JobKeeper. These changes will help them recover financially as well as provide much needed extra hours for employers desperate to get staff.
“It is still critically important for these students to seek a balance between work and study that enables them to complete their studies, but more options will undoubtedly be valuable to them.
“Allowing workers in the tourism & hospitality sector to access the 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa for a period of 12 months will also substantially assist the immediate skill needs. It goes a long way to answering ACCI’s call for as many temporary skilled migrants as possible to be allowed to extend their stay. Many skilled occupations no longer have access to permanent migrant pathways. We hope the government goes further by extending options to all temporary skilled migrants so they can remain in Australia in the long term should their employer be willing to sponsor them.
“The addition of veterinarians to the priority skills list is also a welcome answer to the call by ACCI and our members, the Australian Veterinarian Association. We look forward to continuing to work with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to address other occupations that should be included such as mechanics, surveyors, engineers and café & restaurant managers.”