Indian IT professionals to be ‘worst affected’ in latest Australian visa shake-up

"While we are trying to bring current projects up to speed with recruiting more skilled workers government's new direction is not very helpful."

In the middle of skill-shortage of IT professionals in Australia, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has decided to remove 27 occupations from the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) in a major shake-up of skilled migration rules.

The list of removed professions includes cyber experts, software engineers and technology developers, all in high demand globally.

This decision was made while Minister O’Neil was handling an unprecedented cyber security crisis first at Optus and then at Medibank.

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Experts in the migration industry have told The Australia Today that this ministerial direction will change how migration agents prioritise skilled visa applications.

Yatharth Bharadwaj is an Adelaide-based registered migration agent.

Mr Bharadwaj told The Australia Today, “The new changes will make it so difficult for tech companies to hire an IT resource from overseas markets that defiantly projects will be delayed.”

“The Processing time in the skilled migration system for Information Technology workers will shoot up from currently a couple of months to up to a year or more.”

For a long, the major applicants for the skilled migration systems tech stream have been Indian technology experts.

“Home Affairs Minister O’Neil’s decision to de-prioritise these skills in migration system will affect a large number of my Indian clients and Australian tech startups,”

added Mr Bharadwaj.

Let’s understand what are new directions

Till now these 27 job titles from the PMSOL related to tech and cyber skills including ICT security specialists, analyst programmers, developer programmers, software engineers and software and applications programmers were processed with high priority.

However, after Minister’s new directions their visa application will join the queue with everyone else with some exemptions for big tech companies.

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A few other job titles removed from the PMSOL include chief executives, accountants, engineers, veterinarians and chefs.

Post-pandemic federal government has put healthcare and teaching professionals at the highest priority for employer-sponsored visas.

The new ministerial directions have also given priority to applications for a role in a regional area.

Who can be approved Sponsor

The basic requirement for becoming an approved sponsor is that the organisation must have an annual turnover of at least $4 million in the past two years.

But Mr Bharadwaj says these criteria will exclude almost all Australian tech start-ups and small businesses.

Indian IT Firms; Image Source: @CANAVA

Melbourne-based Manish Bansal is CTO of a mid-range IT consultancy.
Mr Bansal says, “While we are trying to bring current projects up to speed with recruiting more skilled workers government’s new direction is not very helpful.”

“This will make all projects more expensive and is almost opposite to what industry was promised by the federal government at the time of the jobs summit.”

On the other side, Home Minister Clare O’Neil claims that the 2022-23 Migration Program will increase to 195,000 places from 160,000 last year to ease workforce skill shortages that many industries are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

“An extra $36.1 million over two years announced at the Jobs and Skills Summit will help the Department of Home Affairs to recruit an additional 500 staff to boost processing capacity.”

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil; Image Source: Twitter

Student visa holders will continue to be able to work more than 40 hours per fortnight until 30 June 2023.

New cyber security measures

The October 2022-23 Budget will provide $31.3 million in additional funding in 2022-23, providing cyber security services to agencies with fewer resources as part of its whole-of-Government Cyber Hub program uplift package.

The Government will provide additional funding of $2 million in 2022-23 to assist scam victims to recover their identity.

The funding allocation is part of fulfilling the Government’s election commitment to combat scams and online fraud.