The Coalition government’s Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) will be abolished if Labor wins government at the next federal election.

The Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shayne Neumann MP, made the announcement during an address to the Absolute Immigration Forum on 19 March.

If elected, a Labor government will replace the STSOL and MLTSSL with one Skills Shortage Occupations List, which will offer pathways to permanent residency.

In his address, Neumann said Labor is committed to reforming the temporary skilled visa system. The minister cited exploitation of temporary visa holders in order to undercut local jobs, wages and conditions as primary motivators.

An incoming Labor government would establish the Australian Skills Authority (ASA) as an independent, labour market testing authority. The ASA will be responsible for creating and maintaining the Skills Shortage Occupations List. What occupations are included will be determined through consultation with industry, unions, higher education and TAFE sectors, as well as state and local governments.

The Restaurant and Caterers Association (R&CA) CEO, Juliana Payne, welcomed the announcement. “Our industry’s businesses have been facing significant challenges in recruiting suitably skilled employees, particularly chefs, for many years now,” says Payne.

“Since the 482 TSS visa replaced the 457 visa, restaurant establishments have found it increasingly hard to attract skilled foreign nationals to fill vacancies because there was no longer any pathway to reward cooks and restaurant managers with an employer-supported permanent residence visa.”

The R&CA also praised Labor’s commitment to consulting with industry. Payne added that any plans to cap Australia’s yearly intake of migrants should not be at the expense of small and family businesses, stating the hospitality industry is in need of suitably qualified staff.

The STSOL (issued for two years) and MLTSSL (issued for up to four years) were established in April 2017 when the Turnbull government announced it would replace the 457 visa with the 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. Under the 482 visa, only occupations listed under the MLTSSL are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

The occupations included on each list were updated on 11 March 2019. Currently, the majority of eligible hospitality occupations are include on the STSOL. While chefs are eligible for the medium or long-term stream, caveats apply.

[Image] The Australian


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