Updates to skilled migration visa occupation lists

As many FinTech Australia members would be aware, the Australian Government’s decision to severely restrict the use of skilled migration visas (previously the 457 Visa) in April caused an uproar in the tech community, particularly given the decision exacerbated existing skills shortages.

Since that time, we have been working closely with StartupAUS and TechSydney to lobby the government on behalf of the tech community. This culminated in the lodgement of a joint submission to the government on 21 June.

We thank those of you who completed our Survey on the changes, and to those who participated in the Department of Immigration Roundtables with StartupAUS and TechSydney on our behalf.

We’re pleased to report that, on June 30, Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton announced he had updated the skilled migration list. The technical changes can be viewed here.

While the changes address a number of our concerns, they certainly don’t undo all the damage caused in April.

According our good friend Sarah Thapa from The Migration Agency, the changes see:

  • 36 occupations added to the medium-term list, including some science engineer and IT occupations that had been removed in April, and some occupations moved from the short-term list to provide access to the four-year work visa stream.
  • The key occupations for the fintech industry, covered by the above changes, include:
    • Chief Executive or Managing Director
    • Corporate General Manager
    • Chief Information Officer
    • Multimedia Specialist
    • Software and Applications Programmers
    • ICT Security Specialist
  • 15 occupations were added to the short-term list, including R&D Manager, Web Developer and ICT Support Technician.
  • The removal of requirements which previously precluded the use of skilled migration visas for CEO and GM positions, for companies which had a turnover of less than $1 million turnover or five employees. However, at the same time, the minimum salary for these positions has been raised to $180,000 (which is the highest tax bracket).

It’s worth seeing The Migration Agency’s blog post for a full run-down analysis of the changes.

StartupAUS has since also released a statement saying there was “still significant work to be done in bringing the skills list into line with the current needs of young tech companies in Australia.”

FinTech Australia will keep working with other tech groups to create the best talent pool possible to help startups to thrive.