FEDERAL Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the Abbott Government decision to add chefs, bricklayers and wall and floor tilers to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) from 1 July will help meet the skills needs of the Australian economy.
Mr Joyce said the addition of chefs to the SOL reflects that the occupation is in short supply, coupled with strong growth projected in the café and restaurant sector.
“The inclusion of chefs, as well as the further inclusion of building and construction occupations will ensure Australia can fill the workforce needs of the future,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) provide annual recommendations on the SOL to ensure it responds to Australia’s changing skill needs.
“The AWPA analyses evidence such as the labour market, education and training, migration and general economic and demographic data to make sure we get the balance right,” he said.
“In this case, bricklayers and tilers have been added to the list because of an increase in demand predicted for these occupations as well as a decrease in apprenticeship completions.
“The Abbott Government believes that where there is an Australian who is ready, willing and able to do the job, they should always be considered first.
“However, it would be simplistic to say that there is always an Australian willing and available to fill a particular position in various geographical locations within Australia, and it is the role of the skilled migration program to fill the gap where such shortages exist.
“The addition of these three occupations to the SOL will be especially welcomed in regional areas where the ability to access skilled workers in the building and hospitality industry is often more difficult than in major cities.
“It is important to remember that a business that is forced to close due to an inability to source vital skilled labour is a business that employs no-one,” Mr Joyce said
The SOL is used for people applying for the independent or family sponsored points tested visa or temporary graduate (subclass 485) graduate work stream. Before prospective migrants can apply for independent skilled migration, they must submit an expression of interest via SkillSelect.
No existing occupations are being removed from the SOL, which currently lists 188 occupations that Australia needs.