Skilled migration changes benefit the profession

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Changes to skilled migration rules announced by the federal government this week will have a positive effect on the engineering profession and have been endorsed by Engineers Australia.

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) has been expanded to include civil, structural, electrical, geotechnical, transport, mining and petroleum engineering occupations. This is in addition to the already-listed occupations of mechanical and software engineer.

Engineers Australia Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bronwyn Evans AM said “Engineers Australia welcomes the addition of seven engineering occupations to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List.

“This is an excellent outcome which is set to benefit many companies across a range of engineering-intensive sectors in Australia.

“On behalf of the profession, Engineers Australia has been engaging with the Commonwealth Government about improvements to skilled migration as Australia moves towards the economic recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s pleasing that the government has listened and taken appropriate steps.

“58.5 per cent of engineers in Australia’s labour force are born overseas, compared with 30 per cent for the broader population, which demonstrates a high degree of reliance on skilled migration and the value of this week’s changes to the PMSOL.

“Resolving long-term skills supply challenges will require further action. Notably, less than half of overseas-born qualified engineers are in engineering roles, compared with two-thirds for their Australian-born peers.

“More support is needed for migrant engineers to break into the domestic employment market to ensure the nation benefits from this under-utilised skills supply.”

Engineers Australia is conducting research into the reasons for different employment outcomes for migrant engineers, which will be finalised next month.

“Engineers Australia is also keen to see the development of a long-term policy for the re-opening of Australia’s international borders,” Dr Evans said.

“This could include metrics that indicate when it is safe for the international border to re-open, such as vaccination rates, and nationally-aligned protocols for management of outbreaks.”

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