Following its decision to abolish the 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa, the Australian Government has sought to allay concerns in the tech sector about the decision.
"We have a skills gap in technical specialist roles in Australia," said Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos.
"Through the development of a strong STEM sector locally we can ensure our economy has the workers it needs for the future. It's important where possible our employers first look locally and train up local employees before considering other options."
He said to help with this, the Government was putting an obligation on itself to put more of a focus on training and provide the upgrading of skills of our own domestic workforce.
“We recognise that we are making significant visa reforms and that we need to remain vigilant that there are not unintended consequences," he said.
"I will be engaging in an open dialogue with Australia’s innovation and technology sectors to ensure that we continue to support industry here in Australia.”
Minister Sinodinos said the Government remains committed to Australia’s innovation sector through its National Innovation and Science Agenda. He made a point of highlighting the information technology sector as an area where skilled migrants make a strong contribution.
"For employers looking for skilled IT workers today, where a shortage does exist, they'll still be able to employ the best and brightest foreign workers," he said.
"There are a number of IT occupations on the new skills lists - this will ensure that our IT companies are not disadvantaged while we prepare more Australians for careers in technology and ICT through our investment in STEM."
The Minister anticipated further announcements in the Budget around training funds and how they will be administered to maximise the impact of improving our skill levels.
In making the announcement last week, the Government advised most engineering roles would remain on the list, including: aeronautical, agricultural, biomedical, civil, electrical, environmental, mechanical, mining (excluding petroleum), structural and telecommunications, as well as naval architects and engineering technicians.
Nominations are now open for a range of Engineers Australia awards. Find out more.
[Photo: Michele Mossop]