Extend support to Skilled Visa holders in shortages so we can rebuild our home Australia

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The JobKeeper subsidy missed a critical part of the Australian workforce being skilled long-term visa holders in areas of shortage.

To be clear, these long-term visa holders are very different to other temporary visa holders such as working holiday or students visa holders. They are skilled professionals granted long-term rights that provide a pathway to residency to fill the occupations our communities need.

These hardworking people have come to our aid, working in areas we desperately need, and have picked up everything to move to Australia. They are every bit a part of our communities with children in schools, mortgages or leases, cars and other financial commitments like us all. Their lives are well and truly here now and they are working to become Australians.

Many skilled visa holders are now in industries that are temporarily unable to financially sustain them. One example is in hospitality and tourism, often in regional areas, where qualified chefs on 457 or 482 visas total approximately 17,000 people living in Australia now temporally with no income.

It takes years to train the skills these people have, for example four years to become a qualified trade or professional. Under current arrangements with no income to support themselves and their families they are understandably very scared. 

We need to hang on to these people to continue filling these essential roles on the other side. When we rebuild these skills shortages will still exist, so if we don’t support these skilled workers now, our nation will not be able to reopen swiftly costing more Australian jobs and impacting services to our communities.

Let’s include long-term skilled visa holders with a pathway to become residents in the JobKeeper program, not just because it’s the right thing for a wealthy country and good society like ours to do, but because it‘s in the interests of our communities and economy to ensure we rebuild quickly.