The Australian Government reacted quickly to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic, closing our international borders and imposing strict travel bans to keep Australia safe. This disruption has caused many Australians to lose their jobs as businesses struggle to cope. The Department of Employment estimates 900,000 Australians are currently out of work.
Not only are unemployment rates suffering but data also suggests a 10-year record low in number of apprenticeship and traineeship take-ups. This coupled with continued travel restrictions means we have the ingredients for the perfect storm of significant skills shortages.
It has never been more important to ensure you stay ahead of the skill shortage. Options include (but are not limited to):
- Sponsors to consider permanent residency, which serves as a great incentive for employees to commit, which in turn improves employee retention.
- Start early and apply for a new Subclass 482 visa to extend the employee’s ability to stay and continue to work if the business still has a genuine need to employ the visa holder. This would ensure the lawful status of visa holders, and there would be minimum/no interruption for them to continue working.
- Plan your recruitment exercise early as it will take a much longer time to get through the various application stages. To ensure employment opportunities of Australians are not further displaced, the Department of Home Affairs are undertaking additional business verification checks during the processing of applications received in the Employer Sponsorship Program
Whilst restrictions have been lifted in most parts of Australia, sponsors need to keep in mind that there are strict inbound travel bans, i.e. our national border is still ‘closed’. This means only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members can enter the country.
All temporary resident visa holders will need to obtain a travel exemption to enter based on compelling/compassionate circumstances, and/or present evidence to show that the visa holder has critical skills that are required in Australia.
We encourage employer sponsors to get in touch with us if there are any queries in relation to sponsorship obligations and workforce planning so they can put their best foot forward and be ready for Australia’s economic recovery.