Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program and Recommendations for Overseas Skilled Workers


In March 2021, The Joint Standing Committee on Migration conducted an inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program, particularly focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s workforce. The inquiry found that while 94% of Australians who lost their jobs due to the pandemic have returned to work, there are still significant skills shortages in Australia, exacerbated by over 500,000 temporary visa holders leaving the country.

To address these shortages and support economic recovery, the Committee has made several recommendations that directly affect overseas skilled workers:

  1. Greater Transparency on Visa Application Queue: The Department of Home Affairs should provide more transparency on the status of employer-sponsored visa applications in the queue.

  2. Review of Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL): An urgent review of the PMSOL should be conducted to expand the number of occupations, with a focus on civil engineers, electrical engineers, motor mechanics, cooks, carpenters, electricians, and roles in hospitality, health, trades, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.

  3. Reservation of Places for Skilled Migrants: The government should reserve places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants.

  4. Improved Visa Processing Times: The Department of Home Affairs should improve visa processing times for employer-sponsored visas and expedite processing for skilled visa holders seeking subsequent skilled or permanent residency visas.

  5. Clear Pathway to Permanency: All employer-sponsored visa holders should be given a clearer pathway to permanent residency.

For overseas applicants, particularly those in occupations mentioned in the PMSOL review, such as motor mechanics, inclusion in the list could mean receiving a travel exemption to enter Australia while the borders are closed. This presents an opportunity for skilled workers to contribute to Australia’s workforce and potentially secure permanent residency.

If you are a motor mechanic or hold a similar skilled occupation, you may consider exploring job vacancies in Australia or speaking to a Registered Migration Agent for guidance on visa options.