The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a net outflow of overseas migration from Australia for the first time since World War II, resulting in a critical skills shortage and numerous unfilled vacancies. To address this, Australia welcomed 400,000 migrants in 2022 but found the need for even more people “to do the stuff that needs to get done.” As a result, Australia is now offering another opportunity for 400,000 migrants, making it the best period in the past ten years to choose Australian migration, according to Sam Hopwood from Sable International. Hopwood told BizNews that South African diesel mechanics are in very high demand in Australia. – Linda van Tilburg
Excerpts from the interview below:
Best opportunities in a decade for skilled workers under 45
This current government basically threw open the doors and said, let’s bring in as many people as we can as quickly as we can. Just recently, the Treasurer addressed Parliament and released his most recent budget and in that budget, he’s said that he’s going to replicate the same numbers which we’ve seen in the past 12 months, which is great news for migrants. If you’re looking to come to Australia right now is probably the best time you could have chosen in the past ten years. You are just bang on, right now is what I would tell you. So, if you’ve been thinking about it, if you are under the age of 45 and you’re a skilled migrant and if you work in a schooled occupation, then right now, if you’ve been considering Australia is a good time to actually pull the trigger on doing it.
180 different occupations on the list and diesel mechanics in high demand
If you’re a plumber, an electrician, a bricklayer, a carpenter, or a plasterer, we can’t build houses quick enough here in Australia at the moment, one because we don’t have enough skilled tradesmen and those five tradesmen I’ve just listed off the top of my head are just examples. We’re also suffering, you know, COVID, materials, delays like the rest of the world is, but also, you know, we don’t have enough people. So, from tradespeople to, we’re building so many roads and bridges and airports and railways that we need engineers, we need civil engineers, we need construction project managers, we need railway engineers, we need all sorts of skilled people at either end of the spectrum and everywhere in-between.
Now we’re importing teachers from South Africa, from the United Kingdom, from other English-speaking countries to come to Australia, to teach mathematics, to teach French, to teach English, to teach all sorts of subjects, because we don’t have enough teachers. Nurses, we don’t have enough nurses, we have an ageing population here in Australia and we don’t have enough nurses to take care of our ageing population. So, when I say, if you’re skilled I’m talking about a very wide spectrum of skills. The skills list is about 180 different occupations. And just about every single occupation on that list at the moment is in fairly high demand.
At the moment I have a client who is looking for ten diesel mechanics. You can’t get diesel mechanics here in Australia. I was in South Africa recently and my colleagues were annoyed at me that I was going to steal all your diesel mechanics because you need them to work on all your diesel generators that you’re using to power you when the power goes off.
Universities and degrees from South Africa highly respected in Australia
Australia has a very rigid structure in the manner in which they assess qualifications from overseas universities. I’m pleased to say that South African universities are very well respected in Australia and that South African University qualifications are generally recognised in Australia through all authorities who assess them. So yes, if you’re educated, skilled, and qualified in South Africa, then generally speaking your qualifications are recognised here in Australia.
60% drop in business and investment visas
So, it’s a trend which is circulating across the globe at the moment. Interestingly, most governments are cycling away from these business and investment visas because they don’t see that they’re getting a good return on investment from the investors. They are said to be “bad migrants” in a way because they don’t bring enough prosperity to the country in whatever ways, and our government is no different in that respect. They’ve decreased the number of visas that can be granted in the next 12 months by more than 60% as compared to last year. This gives you a good idea of the importance that they don’t place on that segment of the market.
So, they would rather bring a plumber, an electrician, a diesel mechanic, a teacher or a nurse or an accountant to Australia who they deem to be skilled. They have placed a greater level of importance on those skills and bringing those skills to Australia than they have on bringing an investor, a business investor, to Australia. They have clearly said that’s not who we want, this is who we’re looking for because we need to build stuff, we need to build roads, we need to build universities, we need university lecturers, we need teachers, we need civil engineers, we need mining engineers, we need people who are going to do stuff. We don’t necessarily need people who are going to come to Australia with a bunch of money and then do not help us build stuff.
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