As CEO and Senior Migration Agent at EMSA, I can say that the year of 2020 was a challenging one on a migration front as well as for international travel in general. The uncertainty around jobs and the economy in Australia and the true impact of COVID meant that the Department of Home Affairs (Immigration) greatly reduced the number of places for migration in general (particularly skilled migration and state sponsorship).
Now as the dust settles and we start 2021, what we can see is that Australia has performed much better than most countries around the world through the pandemic. Cases around the country are almost down to none – and we are really close to getting the COVID vaccine in Australia. Another important point is that we are starting to see skill shortages across a number of industries, hospitality being one of the main ones.
What does this mean for migration?
Australia has always had a strong migration program and as we move through 2021, we know more places will be allocated to states for the state and regional nomination pathways and we will see more people being invited to apply.
Where there are industries with high Australian unemployment, the number of places or invitations may be reduced – just as more places may be provided to critical occupations, such as nursing, social work or civil engineering.
In that sense, the Government is really invested to attract international businesses and exceptional talent to Australia, to support the post- COVID recovery and boost local jobs. Programs such as the Global Talent Independent Program will offer 15,000 opportunities to migrate to Australia, if you have the skills and experience Australia is looking for.
My advice, for those of you in Australia, try to make the most of the state sponsorship lists when they start to reopen as it’s likely you’ll have more chances of invitation whilst being in Australia while the borders are closed.
In most cases, finding a job in your occupation helps improve your chances at invitation (for example: in QLD you need to be working full time for 3 months (491) or 6 months (190), Tasmania requires studying in the state or 6 months work experience and South Australia will accept 20 hours per week for 3 months).
For those who are outside the country and waiting for borders to be opened, we are anxiously waiting for the Government to deliver some good news for international students and migrants. However, in the meantime, we need to wait at least until the rollout of the vaccine has been implemented in the country.
As a final message, whether you are in Australia or outside, but you are looking to get a Permanent Residency; strategy is key and the good news is that once COVID passes and things return to normal, migration will again be a priority in Australia.
All the best.