Media calls skilled migration program into question

The latest figures detailing the jobs of those granted permanent residency under the Skilled Occupation List has prompted some media sources to question the integrity of Australia’s skilled migration program.

Monash University demographer Bob Birrell criticised the report’s findings in an article published in the Herald Sun, which showed that cooks and hairdressers had both featured in the top five job-types awarded permanent residency for 2012-13

Top Five Occupations granted PR for 2012-13

  1. Cooks: 8000
  2. Accountants: 5700
  3. Software engineers: 2160
  4. IT Business analysts: 1550
  5. Hairdressers: 1500

The article claims that many international students that were ‘caught out’ by the changes to the skilled migration program were unwisely advised to continue their application by the Immigration Department, which has resulted in them filling-up of their visa quotas with ‘warehoused applicants.’

However Managing Director of Migration Solutions, Mark Glazbrook, says that whilst there are a number of applications for cooks in the pipeline which were lodged prior to the introduction of Skill Select, the occupation remains a very important part of the Australian Migration Program.

‘There is absolutely no doubt that the previous skilled migration program contained loopholes which was fuelled by certain sectors of the migration, international education and education agent professions, however, the facts are that cooks are still in demand – despite what you may hear from the Immigration Department or State immigration offices,’ he said.

‘What concerns me the most is that due to recent changes with the immigration program (which I believe are designed to do nothing other than restrict applications for cooks) it is having a significantly detrimental impact on genuine international students, cooks and many small business owners in South Australia and nationally.’

Mr Glazbrook also says that the argument that there are too many cooks in South Australia for it to warrant a place on the Skilled Occupation List is in stark contrast with information recently released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Restaurants on both South Australia and Australia as a whole, which notes that shortages of skilled cooks and chefs in South Australia have been ‘persistent over the past decade’.

Restaurants and Catering SA Chief Executive Sally Neville is also in agreement with the report’s findings, echoing the existence of a severe skill shortage within the industry in this interview with Migration Solutions back in December, 2013.

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