Your questions on migrant workers answered
Migration is one avenue regional employers can explore to fill workforce shortages. In a recent webinar we joined Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) to look at the pros, cons and myths surrounding migration.
It’s no secret that many regional businesses have been struggling to find workers since the start of the pandemic, especially across the hospitality and tourism sectors. According to data from the South Australian Tourism Commission Workforce Directions Paper, up to 37% of tourism operators rely on international visitors to make up their workforce. With international borders back open, there is once again the opportunity for this sector, and others, to tap into a global workforce to fill existing gaps at home.
We recently collaborated with both the Department of Home Affairs, and Department for Industry, Innovation and Science, to deliver the Demystifying Migration webinar. The event, held on 10 August 2022, was facilitated by Richard Scollin, Regional Workforce Program Manager RDA AHFKI, and presented by Okke Velzeboer from DHA SA Business, Industry and Regional Outreach, and Sean Malone from DIIS, with the aim of helping local hospitality and tourism operators better understand the sort of migration programs that could help address their workforce needs.
“The Demystifying Migration session, presented to businesses and employers considering visa pathways to fill skills shortages, was a real success and set the scene for future engagement in the region. It was great to see regional businesses and employers so engaged on a topic that will have growing importance as Australia recovers from COVID and looks to address skills shortages.
The Department of Home Affairs SA Business Industry and Regional Outreach team would like to thank RDA Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island for hosting a successful event and is looking forward to future cooperation.”
~ Okke Velzeboer
SA Business, Industry and Regional Outreach Officer, Department of Home Affair
If you missed the webinar, or were unable to attend, here’s a look at some of the questions you might have.
What businesses can benefit from migrant workers?
Migrants work across a wide range of industries, so any business can benefit depending on their needs and what programs will best suit those needs. Seasonal industries, such as agriculture and tourism can benefit from working holiday makers, while hospitality and retail can provide year-round employment opportunities for those on student visas. However, there is a diverse mix of visa programs to fulfil a range of needs for both migrants and the skills needs across a broad range of industries.
Are there limitations on employing migrant workers?
Employment limitations will vary depending on the type of visa that is held by a prospective migrant employee. Some visas may have caps on the numbers of hours they can work a week, or how long the term of their employment can run. This may vary from a few months, to several years. Other visas may have limitations on age, language skills, occupation, and occupational skills.
Does hiring migrant workers take jobs from Australians?
When hiring to fill temporary skills shortages, an employer must conduct labour market testing (LMT) before attempting to hire a foreign worker to fill the role. This involves first advertising the role in Australia for at least 12 weeks across multiple channels, such as national recruitment websites, newspapers or radio. The ads must run for a minimum of 28 days and include the title, job description, name of the business and salary, to give Australian workers every opportunity to apply for the role.
Is it cheaper to hire migrant workers?
The salary and employment conditions for migrant workers should satisfy applicable Australian workplace laws. For temporary skills shortage visas, this means wages must be no less than that of an Australian worker performing the same role. Migrants on temporary visas are also protected by the Assurance Protocol to help protect against exploitation.
Is the process to sponsor migrants expensive?
The cost of sponsorship will vary depending on the size of your business and the type of visa your employee will require. Some visas will require annual fees, while others involve a one-off payment only.
Information and visa conditions are subject to change, so please be sure to contact the Department of Home Affairs for the most current information specific to your individual circumstances.
Department of Home Affairs
Business, Industry & Regional Outreach
Department for Industry,
Innovation & Science
Other useful links:
- Want to work in South Australia?Information for migrants wishing to move to, or work in, South Australia.
- Migrants in the WorkforceAn overview of migrants in the Australian workforce by Grattan Institute 2022.
- Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW)Tourism jobs in Australia (add your listing)
- SATC Jobs BoardTourism jobs in South Australia (connected to ATDW database)