The Australian Government has asked a number of organisations to work with it to review the Consolidated Sponsored Occupational List (CSOL), which applies to temporary and permanent workers from overseas.
It could mean that it becomes harder for foreigners to get work in Australia in categories where there are plenty of Australians who can do the work, as there is an increasing clamour for visa regulations to be tighter.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the review is part of a series of key reforms that will be introduced to further strengthen Australia’s skilled migration programme to ensure that overseas workers supplement rather than provide a substitute for Australian workers.
He had asked the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) to review the current CSOL to ensure it better reflects genuine labour market needs. It currently has more than 650 occupations and many are considered to be low skill in nature despite the intention that it should be for highly skilled professionals.
‘The CSOL review is part of a suite of reforms which are being progressed by the Government to ensure that Australian workers have priority,’ Dutton said, adding that hundreds of occupations were put on the list in the past, including many vocational occupations and entry level roles, regardless of whether they were experiencing shortages or not.
He believes that the list has been mismanaged in the past and this saw the 457 programme grow from around 68,000 primary visa holders at the end of June 2010 to more than 110,000 a few years later.
‘It is important that the integrity of the list be maintained to ensure that skilled migration meets the genuine needs of Australia’s economy and does not displace Australian workers,’ Dutton explained.
MACSM’s review will examine the composition and scope of the list, including opportunities for condensing the list. Reviewing the list was a recommendation of an independent review into the integrity of the 457 programme which the Government commissioned in 2014.
MACSM includes representation from employer and employee groups including Innes Willox, chief executive officer of the Australian Industry Group and Ged Kearney, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. It is due to provide its findings and advice to the Minister in the first half of 2017.