As a chronic skills shortage threatens Australia’s economy in the wake of the pandemic, relief has come in the form of changes that will make it easier for skilled migrants to remain in Australia and obtain permanent residency.
On November 25, the Morrison Government announced a pathway for Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders and Legacy Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa holders to become permanent residents, providing a greater incentive for skilled staff to remain in the country.
This comes as welcome news for the struggling hospitality industry, where the majority of visa holders fall into these subclasses.
Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said that with over 100,000 job vacancies in hospitality across Australia, the changes were necessary to many business’ survival.
“Anxiety around visas and permanent residency requirements have been one of the biggest issues facing skilled hospitality workers who have arrived from overseas. These changes bring not only certainty to those who want to call Australia home and contribute to this country, but also to venue operators who have been absolutely smashed by staff shortages,” Mr Lambert said.
“While locals are part of the employment mix, skilled migrants from overseas certainly have a big part to play. Without them, many of our favourite restaurants and cafes would never open their doors again.
“With this new path to permanent residency now available, the Australian hospitality sector will now have a chance to come back roaring.”
The issue has become so dire that earlier this week, a former Howard Government Minister said Australian workers would need to take on second jobs to make up the staffing shortfall.
Former Vocational and Technical Education Minister Gary Hardgrave is now leading a call for a national approach to avoid a catastrophic post-COVID skills and labour shortage in the businesses, food, hospitality and construction industries.
“We need Australians to be prepared to take on two or three jobs—if they want them they’re there,” he said.
“Australia needs you. That’s the only way we’ll fill the gaps.”