Skilled visas for Community, Aged and Disability Care industry
On the 28th of February 2022, Mygration had the privilege of attending the DHA Business, Industry outreach webinar for the carer sector.
Chris Montgomery from the DHA arranged for information session with key employer providers and other industry stakeholders seeking solutions from migration programs to fill critical skills in their sectors.
Addressing the panel and participants, Assistant Director (AD) Wesley Campbell confirmed that: “whilst there is no aged care Labour agreement in place now, there is some key discussions occurring between the department and other stake holders in exploring whether there is a common set of attributes, or needs from businesses in the sector that are proving prohibitive in those programs that would require that brilliant, tailored labour agreement that could then provide a lot of options for those addressed shortages?”
He also stated: ‘that there have been discussions with agreed care providers to try find where those pressure points in the industry are found. The Labour Agreement Scheme (LAS) is considered a very open-ended stream as they will be assessed by the department on a case-by-case situation. There is a chance for permanent residency under the labour agreement where there would not otherwise be under the PR standard program or TSS. Company specific labour agreement also hold some concessions as well. There could be a strong case to provide certain concessions and access to those visas under that industry.’
[AD] Wesley Campbell then re-iterated that ‘this labour agreement may become more needed as now that the borders have been opened since last year there have been a trend upwards in numbers of students coming into Australia to study. Aged care providers might also want to take us of this opportunity to fill those shortages.’
What does this mean for employers who need to fill critical skills now?
Generally, when employers are experiencing skills shortages in the Australian market and unable to fill these shortages from local sources, they may have no other alternatives but to genuinely source skilled workers from overseas.
Employers who have found suitable overseas workers for the jobs to fill must ensure that the skilled workers apply for the correct work visas through sponsorship programs and pathways. To access suitable visa pathways, the first step is mapping the job role or position to the correct immigration skills occupations list (SOL). The skills occupations list is a starting point for industry members when considering at a practical level within a role that you need to fill and can be filled using the appropriate visa program. So, to look at the job and to look at the skill level you need to look at the SOLs. The department has got an interesting tool, on their website that you can search by occupational key terms or if you know the code for the job you can plug that in. If you plug the job in it will tell you what visas that role is eligible for.
The department relies on what we call the ANZSCO classifications, which essentially detail the overall tasks and duties that are generally performed within that group of job titles and roles. These are placed in unit groups and subgroups for more specific details. We use that to determine the occupation against which the job role you might need to fill that is best identified and then the associated skill level associated with that occupation. This then informs us what the best option might be appropriate to the visa programs that could meet your skill needs.
The Skilled Visa Program is focused on skill levels 1-3 typically characterized by the persons holding the certificate IV or higher levels of qualifications. There are other pathways available for lower skill levels 4-5
In the visa framework, there are three standard Skilled Occupation lists.
The first two occupations lists are targeted at the metropolitan providers in the major cities and regions that last one is applicable to regional and designated areas specified in the list of regional post codes legislative instrument.
Usually, employers and sector providers wanting to fill roles on these lists can sponsor skilled applicants only for positions listed in the above three occupations list through the standard corresponding visa subclass as a standard business sponsor.
So, in context, what does this all mean for aged care, disability and community care sector employers and providers? With majority of industries, only some of the critical jobs needed to fill are covered by these occupations lists, while most are not. The above standard skilled occupations lists outline occupations for jobs in aged care, community care and disability care for mainly higher skill levels such as those of Registered Nurses, enrolled nurses, medical professionals, residential care officers, community care officers and disability care officers etc.
Whereas you’ll see that the jobs on the lower skill levels 4-5 of the ANZSCO classifications such as the following are not included in these standard lists.
On a side note, if an occupation is not on any of the main three skills occupations lists, this does not reflect their necessity level. It just means they haven’t been added to date.
Any occupation needed to be filled that does not appear on the standard skilled lists, means that the conventional visa pathways cannot be used for sponsorship. Employers need to explore other means for sponsorships, and this is where we recommend making use of the fourth stream for ‘specified occupations’ – The Labour Agreement Stream
About the Labour Agreement Scheme
This scheme offers the opportunity for a skilled worker to get sponsored for their skills in an occupation as part of a wide industry that would not otherwise provide a permanent stay pathway.
Some occupations that may be included under this scheme are, disability carers, personal carers, specialty carers who know how to assist those with a range of health issues.
This scheme was made for businesses to sponsor overseas employees through those shortages where they genuinely cannot fill the roles with Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents. There are several labour agreements including industry specific labour agreements for industries that have negotiated with the Department of Home Affairs such as Meat Industry, Horticulture Industry etc. There is also area specific which involve designated migration agreements also known as DAMA agreements which are tailored to the needs of each region, and state or territories.
In the absence of a labour agreement in an industry or a designated area migration agreement, Employers and businesses may like to consider a company specific agreement. This allows you to sponsor skilled workers if their occupation is not on the standard three occupations lists. The other benefit is that the Company Specific Labour agreement expands the rope to a skill level four and sometimes up to skill level 5 for businesses in certain regional areas.
Skilled overseas workers will still need to meet basic criteria for the TSS 482 visa or SESR494 Visas such as meeting relevant work years’ experience, English requirements, and skills assessments. However, by employing and sponsoring them through the Company specific labour agreement stream, employers can make specific requests for some concessions for skilled workers with the DHA. In certain circumstances, age concessions may also be available for applicants who are over 45 years who will transition to permanent residence through the Subclass 186 permanent visa.
Contact us at www.mygration.com.au or call our Senior Migration Programs Manager (Requel Ogle) on 043 215 2097 to discuss tailored migration workforce programs for your business. Learn how to Future proof your workforce now!