How Skills Shortages in Australia Open the Door for Immigrants

Australia By Elizabeth Rozas Feb 7, 2023

A 2022 government commissioned report [1] into the Australian workforce revealed a major skills shortage affecting the country. The number of occupations suffering from the skills shortage has almost doubled since 2021, with some roles having thousands of unfilled vacancies [2]. Although the current figures create a new challenge for the Australian Government, this issue of skills shortages has been a feature of Australia life for several years and looks set to continue in the future.

The government is looking at how this latest skills gap can be addressed including making possible changes to immigration policies. This blog explores what issues exist and how skills shortages mean more immigrants may have the opportunity to move to Australia

Skills Gaps in Australia

Typically, skills gaps have existed in the following sectors in Australia: caring professions such as doctors, nurses, aged & disabled care, and childcare as well as retail managers, construction workers and software programmers. The latest data paints a similar picture – the top 10 occupations with vacancies account for almost 52,000 jobs, with the most in demand role being nurses with over 9,000 vacancies [2]. Other caring professions are also struggling to find enough skilled workers in Australia, as are software and applications programmers and construction managers [2]. To address this skills gap, the government is looking into what changes could be made to their immigration policies and processes.

Possible Changes to Skilled Workers Visas in Australia

The Australian Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of their current migration strategy, which includes updating temporary and permanent visa programs as well as the processes and systems that support the administration of the programs [3].

You can obtain a visa if your occupation is listed on the skilled occupation list and there are range of visa options you can apply for, from employer nomination schemes to training visas to temporary skill shortage visas [4]. Following the publication of the skills shortage report, the first likely change would be to add more in-demand occupations to the 44 already on the list [2] which could create many more opportunities for people looking to move to Australia.

The skills shortage affects every region of the country with many regional ministers implementing adjustments to their immigration policies. Regions are competing to make their state most attractive to people immigrating to Australia by removing barriers to entry such as waiving visa fees, reducing the requirements on contract length from 12 to 6 months for temporary skilled worker visas, reducing work experience requirements and reducing the requirement for applicants to have sufficient funds [5]. In addition, the cap of the number of permanent visas has also been increased to encourage international students to stay in Australia following graduations – typically only 16% make Australia their permanent home [6]. As a result of these changes – increasing visa numbers and reducing criteria – the door to a new life in Australia is opening more widely.

While these steps address current (2022-23) skills shortages, any time you are planning to immigrate to Australia, researching areas of skills shortages/job needs and changes to visa and immigration policies is a smart first step.

How to Start the Process of Immigrating to Australia

If you are interested in moving to Australia, check out the main immigration pages on the government website to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa. There are many different visa options so be sure to do thorough research. You can find out more about getting work and the requirements for skilled workers in Australia by visiting regional government websites and you can also check out this information about the ten most commonly asked questions.

In addition, check out our article on finding affordable housing in Australia, which is just as important as finding a job.

Sending Money from Australia

When you immigrate to Australia, you may wish to send money back home to pay for family bills such as rent, utilities or other monthly outgoings. Setting up a recurring money transfer using the Western Union money transfer app is straightforward. The app is a reliable way to make transfers, which means you don’t have to visit the bank or currency exchange bureau to make your payments.

If you require further help to make cross-border payments, contact our Help Centre.