Regional visas – is the attempt by the government to promote these visas genuine?

In late 2019, the government introduced new visas, very quickly and somewhat disorganisedly, focusing on encouraging non-Australians to settle in regional Australia and alleviate the apparent pressure that migrants were putting on Australia’s cities.

Once the dust settled, it became clear that although these visas were designed to be beneficial for regional areas, they hadn’t been properly thought out. The impetus behind this move was a knee jerk reaction to some ill-prepared election promises made by the Liberal Party when they did not believe that they would win the election. As they won that election by the skin of their teeth, the new regional visa program had to be rolled out quick-smart! Quick it was, not so sure about the smart.

As the article from The Australian states, the jobs are available. In fact, they are crying out for skilled workers such as medical professionals and tradespeople in some areas. However, the new program is not helping.

To sum up the program faults, I would say that if the government wanted to make it easier for regional-based employers to employ migrants on a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) subclass 494 visa, they should not have made the level of requirements to be satisfied by the potential employees so much higher than the equivalent work visa which is not restricted to the regional area (Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visa).

The most onerous of the requirements are that the visa holder must have been granted a positive skills assessment before lodging this visa. Due to people obtaining expertise in their chosen area in many different ways (and some of those ways not being the same as the Skills Assessing Authority believes is the “right” way), this may cancel out quality applicants straight away. For example, many of my fellow Brits avoided tertiary education and went straight into the work force and made their way up the ladder a lot quicker than those who spent three or four or more years obtaining a qualification which may or may not have served them in their career. Those people who did not obtain a qualification would potentially not be able to obtain a positive skills assessment and so, regional employers would not be able to employ them on the subclass 494 visa.

The other strange requirement is that those applying for a subclass 494 visa must demonstrate at least three years of relevant full time work experience in the last five years. However, the equivalent requirement for the subclass 482 visa application is a more reasonable two years of experience.

It is not clear why the government has imposed these stricter requirements on this regional visa stream but the good thing is, there are other options. So, if you want to know more about the options of employing a non-Australian in your regionally-based business, get in contact with us.

Phone: +61 (0) 429 133 911