Skilled migration addressing Northern Inland labour needs

Gary Fry and Mohammad Emon, Armidale City Bowling Club

The Australian Government recently promoted the lowest migration figures in over ten years. Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has ensured that local migration numbers have bucked the national trend, with around 400 skilled migrants, many with families, arriving in the region to help address employer needs. RDANI is a regional certifying body for the 489 (NSW sponsored) and 187 (employer sponsored) Skilled Migrant visas.

Narrabri-based RDANI Chair, Russell Stewart, has commended his committee’s staff for the hard work with the skilled migration program. ‘Over the past 12 months, our Senior Migration and Project Officer Gary Fry and the team in our Armidale office have processed over 300 Skilled Regional State-Nominated 489 sub-class visa applications. Those are qualified, skilled and experienced people, most of whom will migrate to our region and be keen to work’, he said. ‘We have achieved an increase in our numbers and we are proud of how that is enriching our communities and bolstering our labour market.’

Mr Fry explained that RDANI manages a list of skilled occupations considered to be difficult to fill in the Northern Inland region. ‘If skilled migrants meet the requirements for an occupation on our local list and have the supporting documentation required, they can apply to us for skilled regional state nomination. We continue to see skills shortages in sectors like hospitality, health and trades impeding business growth or viability, but skilled migration is making a difference and helping to grow our region.

‘Once approved and nominated, applicants can apply to the Department of Home affairs for the 489 visa. This is technically a four-year temporary visa, but it is a pathway to permanent residency. After our 489 visa holders have lived in the region for two years and worked full-time equivalent hours for one year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency. We are bringing skilled migrants to our region who have a clear incentive to work here. Often, they come with a family and become part of our local communities’, he said.

Mohammad Emon arrived in Armidale on a 489 visa and has been working at the Armidale City Bowling Club for two and a half years as a sous chef. Having achieved permanent residency, he is now awaiting Australian citizenship and is happy to continue in his job. ‘It’s a great lifestyle here. People are so much more friendly than in Sydney’, he said.

RDANI provides follow-up support for skilled migrants coming to, or recently arrived in, the region. Mr Fry said, ‘Our skilled migration jobs board Facebook group is a unique resource that we developed. We have over 350 members who can promote their skills and experience or see information about local jobs and settlement information, but we would like to see more employers join and post about opportunities they have for our skilled migrants.

‘Our office also plays a vital role in the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) employer nomination process, as a regional certifying body. Employers who cannot fill a skilled position that they need can nominate or sponsor someone for that position from overseas. But they must apply to RDANI and the Department of Home Affairs.’

According to RDANI Executive Director Nathan Axelsson, the local organisation is widely respected for its skilled migration expertise and experience. ‘Gary has assessed more than 90 RSMS employer nominations in the past financial year and provided advice to the Department of Home Affairs about them. We also have a role in identifying and investigating fraudulent applications, which maintain the integrity of the visa programs in the region’, he said. ‘RDANI ensures that our local insight contributes to decisions on local employer nominations. At the end of the day, we aim for a quadrella of wins; for employers, skilled migrants, governments and communities.’

Contact

For further information, call RDA Northern Inland: 02 6771 0700