Talent grab as engineers get fast-tracked visas

By Denham Sadler

Australia has a “once in a generation opportunity” to attract some of the best tech talent in the world, with the federal government offering fast-tracked visas and border restriction exemptions to software engineers.

The federal government revealed a new priority skills list with 17 occupations to be fast-tracked, with successful applicants allowed into the country despite the current strict border restrictions.

Included in the occupations are software engineer, developer programmer, mechanical engineer and chief executive or managing director.

Skilled workers arriving in Australia thanks to this exemption will still spend two weeks in hotel quarantine at their own expense, while businesses will have to post the role on two national job ads sites and the government’s Jobactive website to ensure it can be filled locally.

There is a significant opportunity now for Australia to entice some of the best tech talent in the world to its shore, according to StartupAUS chief executive Alex McCauley.

“There is a tremendous opportunity right now to attract the best people in the world to Australia. If we can keep a lid on COVID and be proactive about our national recruitment strategy, we might have a once in a generation opportunity to scoop up the best and brightest,” Mr McCauley told InnovationAus.

“Going after software engineers is smart. These people could be the bedrock of our future economic success. It’s fantastic to see tech skills recognised as being of critical national importance.”

These roles have been selected because of their job-making abilities in important sectors, acting immigration minister Alan Tudge said.

“Our priority is getting Australians back into work but we also need key health workers to help fight the virus and skilled migrants who are going to be job multipliers, to help the economy recover,” Mr Tudge said.

“These occupations in the healthcare, construction and IT sectors will supercharge both our health and economic response to COVID-19.”

The roles were selected after “careful analysis of recent changes to the internet vacancy index”, Mr Tudge said, along with changes in employment and longer-term stability in the labour market for individual occupations.

The occupations list may also be updated to include more tech roles.

“As COVID-19 continues to play out both at home and abroad, we will closely monitor labour market trends and respond to any changes in our skills needs,” employment and skills minister Michaelia Cash said.

This article first appeared at InnovationAus. Read the original version here.

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