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Gold Coast and Perth regional visa schemes a boost for skill-strapped businesses

"This week's inclusion of the Gold Coast and Perth among the Australian centres considered regional for migration purposes will be a big boost for skill-strapped business competing for labour with renewed mining activity and the infrastructure boom," Ai Group’s Queensland Head, Rebecca Andrews, and WA State Manager, Kristian Stratton, said today.

"The regional status announced by the Federal Government for the Gold Coast and Perth will benefit both international students and all businesses in these regions who are struggling to find skilled labour.  (While the various legislative instruments are yet to be finalised the list below includes potential concessions which will be available to Gold Coast and Perth businesses under the migration program.)

"While the renewed mining activity and the infrastructure pipeline are much needed in the face of our softening economy they do present skills’ challenges.  Projections show that over the next few years the infrastructure pipeline is in fact larger than the mining boom which peaked between 2012-2015 and which carried with it high levels of skills demand.

"Addressing training shortfalls is the top priority but in the short-term the migration program is essential to help fill the skills gap.  This government decision to provide the Gold Coast and Perth with access to regional concessions is therefore most welcome,” Ms Andrews and Mr Stratton said.

BACKGROUND: Please note that there are different legislative instruments for 'regional area' for different visa subclasses. We need to await further clarification regarding which instruments will be updated to include the Gold Coast and Perth but the following visa categories will be potentially involved, meaning that employers will have access to a larger pool of foreign skilled labour under various visa classes.

Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate Visa

Holders of subclass 485 visas will be eligible for a second subclass 485 visa (1 year duration) if they have graduated from the regional campus of a registered university or institution with a higher education or postgraduate qualification, and they have maintained ongoing residence in a regional area while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. They will be required to maintain ongoing residence in a regional area while they are holding the second subclass 485 visa. This means that graduates of Gold Coast and Perth universities who lived in those areas while they were holding the first subclass 485 visa will be eligible to apply for a second subclass 485 visa. They must continue to live in the Gold Coast or Perth while holding the second subclass 485 visa. This will provide local businesses with an additional skilled labour force of recent university graduates, as well as encourage more international students to study in regional areas such as the Gold Coast and Perth.

The new subclass 485 visa will be available from November 2019.

Subclass 482 – Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (Previously 457)

Once the relevant legislative instrument is updated to include the Gold Coast and Perth in the list of regional areas, businesses will be able to nominate employees on 482 visas in occupations on the Regional Occupation List (ROL). This gives Gold Coast and Perth employers access to a wider range of occupations that can be nominated for the subclass 482 visa. Occupations on the ROL can be nominated for a subclass 482 visa of up to 4 years and provide a pathway to permanent residency via the subclass 186 (Temporary Residence Transition stream) visa after 3 years.

Subclass 491 - Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

This visa, which will replace the subclass 489 visa, requires the visa holder to live in a designated regional visa for 3 years before qualifying for permanent residency via the subclass 191 visa. The addition of the Gold Coast and Perth to the list of regional areas means that more people holding the subclass 491 visa will be incentivised to live in these regions, and will therefore provide a larger skilled labour market for Gold Coast and Perth businesses.

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional Visa

This visa, which will replace the subclass 187 visa, requires the visa holder to live in a designated regional visa for 3 years before qualifying for permanent residency via the subclass 191 visa. Gold Coast and Perth businesses will be able to nominate employees on a subclass 494 visa which will be granted for 5 years. 

Subclass 417 and Subclass 462 – Working Holiday Visas

Working Holiday Visa and Work and Holiday Visa holders are required to complete at least 3 months of specified regional work before they can apply for a second year visa. If the relevant legislative instrument is updated to include the Gold Coast and Perth, this will provide additional labour for businesses in the form of working holiday makers. 

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347