Get a visa in 3 days - how the ECEC workforce crisis is having global consequences
The Sector > Jobs News > Get a visa in 3 days – how the ECEC workforce crisis is having global consequences

Get a visa in 3 days – how the ECEC workforce crisis is having global consequences

by Freya Lucas

December 26, 2022

Skilled visa applicants who are seeking work in the healthcare or teaching field (which also covers early childhood education and care (ECEC) are now being assessed “within days” following recent Ministerial directives which are designed to meet the surging demand for a professional and skilled workforce post COVID. 


The Department of Home Affairs has stopped using the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to rank skilled visa applications as it was seen as outdated and no longer reflected the critical workforce shortages seen across Australia, SBS has reported


Introduced in September 2020, the list previously identified 44 occupations on the wider Skilled Migration Occupation List (SMOL) to fast-track amid the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Its use was discontinued from 28 October this year.


A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said the previous PMSOL system was a “time-consuming and complex assessment” that was only necessary because of the backlog of applications that had built up while travel restrictions to Australia were in place during the pandemic.


“Removal of the PMSOL will allow more applications to be processed faster, particularly for the critical Temporary Skill Shortage visa, which is designed to respond rapidly to labour market needs,” the spokesperson said.  


The Department of Home Affairs says the new Ministerial Direction No. 100, which directs department staff to perform certain actions, now prioritises visas in the health and education sectors.


Specific to ECEC, Direction No. 100 names the following professions as being eligible for priority: 


  • ANZSCO Unit Group 1341 – Child Care Centre Managers
  • ANZSCO occupations:
    • 421111 – Child Care Worker


“These applications are now being assessed in three days,” a spokesperson for the department told SBS News.


The changes apply to all skilled visa nomination and visa applications which are yet to be decided, as well as new applications lodged including temporary, employer-sponsored and regional visas. It also removes priority for the global talent and business innovation and investment programs.


Under the new ministerial direction, skilled visa applications are now being decided in the following order of priority:


  1. Healthcare or teaching occupation applications;


  1. For employer-sponsored visas, applicants nominated by an Approved sponsor with Accredited Status;


  1. Those for a designated regional area;


  1. For permanent and provisional visa subclasses, visa applications that count towards the migration program, excluding the Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional)) visa;


  1. All other visa applications.


For all categories above, priority will be given to holders of eligible passports as not all visa streams are open to every nationality. Within each category, priority is given to applicants located outside Australia for provisional and permanent skilled visa applications.


The new criteria applies to these skilled visas:


  • Subclass 124 (Distinguished Talent)
  • Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme)
  • Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme)
  • Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment) (Provisional)
  • Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent)
  • Subclass 190 (Skilled – Nominated)
  • Subclass 191 (Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional))
  • Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled))
  • Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage)
  • Subclass 489 (Skilled – Regional (Provisional))
  • Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional))
  • Subclass 494 (Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional))
  • Subclass 858 (Global Talent)
  • Subclass 887 (Skilled – Regional)
  • Subclass 888 (Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent).


Speaking candidly about the changes, Former Department of Immigration secretary Abul Rizvi agreed the changes would make processing quicker “because they’re now targeting a much wider range of occupations”.


“There’s no point in having a priority list when you’re targeting just about every occupation,” he said.


Mr Rizvi also shared his belief that the Government “will probably be granting visas to teachers and nurses as quickly as they apply.”


Looking ahead to 2023, the Government has indicated more changes are likely, vowing to further assess the effectiveness of skilled migration occupation lists, given the last update to the current Skilled Migration Occupation List was made on 11 March 2019.


The government has also announced a comprehensive review of Australia’s migration with three experts expected to deliver an interim report by the end of February, and a final strategy by late March/April.


For more information readers should connect with the Department of Home Affairs. Information in this piece was sourced from SBS News and this fact sheet

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