CEO Blog: Positive Outcomes From The Jobs + Skills Summit

The recently concluded Jobs + Skills Summit has certainly shaken up the education and migration sectors as the government looks to address the skills gaps across industries and drive upskilling of Australians entering employment.

From an international student and migration perspective, there’s more good news with an increase to the Permanent Migration Program planning level quota to 195,000, along with a doubling of the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) for graduates to 4 years (more for postgraduates).  International students will also continue to have full work rights till July 23, to help ease skills and labour shortages across the country.

This news has generally been well-received by industry stakeholders who recognise the new government is making efforts to provide some tangible outcomes and benefits to people wanting to live, work and contribute to Australian society.

Some have pointed to the fact that the focus is still very much on occupations within the healthcare sector – which, let’s be honest, is fair – while occupations within the ICT sector don’t seem to have been given the same opportunities.  I don’t agree.

Over the last 3 years, there have been very few opportunities afforded to young migrant professionals in the ICT and Accounting fields to gain permanent residency and be able to live and work in their chosen profession in Australia.  This has largely been with the exception of those who choose to chase a ‘regional’ migration route.

The fact the government has started to address this is a positive, make no mistake.  The fact that they have doubled the length of time available on the 485 visa offers genuine pathways to an individual looking to start their career and eventually qualify for PR.  Let me explain why I think this is so.

The SkillSelect model used by the Department of Home Affairs is based on accumulation of points based on achieving certain outcomes.  The more points an individual achieves, the more likely they are to secure an invitation to apply for permanent residency.  The new extension of the 485 visa allows individuals to maximise their opportunities in this regard, through programs like a Professional Year Program, proficiency in English and gaining employment in their field.

The extension of the visa allows an individual to gain significant tenure in a role that also potentially opens other options, including employer sponsorship, that wouldn’t otherwise be possible with just a 2-year visa.

If I was graduating now and wanting to continue to live and work in a major city like Sydney or Melbourne, for instance, I’d be looking at my options in terms of how best to optimise my ability to do this.  As recently as a month ago, these were pretty limited, but the new changes mean I would be looking to complete my Professional Year at the provider most likely to help me secure a job.  I would do everything I can to upskill to ensure I can bring to the table what an employer would need and want, and put everything into my internship.

If I was able to secure a paid job from that, amazing, I’m on my way.  If not, I’d be working my network and channels, potentially exploring a further placement like a GAP Program, to get myself started.  Once I’m able to secure a role, I’d have 3-4 years to prove myself in that professional environment.

Even taking away a potential migration outcome, this is still a sensible approach because transitioning from study to work in a foreign environment isn’t easy, so any help in understanding the work culture and nuances of the business environment become crucial. The opportunity to gain 3 or more years’ experience in an Australian business is also very powerful, with that experience being highly regarded in most overseas markets.

It’s even better if I am currently studying, because with full work rights, I have the ability to secure paid roles within firms to help get me ahead of the queue and able to start my professional career sooner than later.

The changes made are positive.  Now we’d like to see some of the State governments respond in kind, by lowering some of the barriers in place for overseas born Australian graduates to start their professional careers in the major capital cities.


Control the Controllables,

Dave Phua
CEO, Gradability & Performance Education

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