Truckies overlooked in latest priority immigration list


Despite the industry’s widespread shortage of experienced drivers, Canberra did not deem the crisis worthy of acknowledgment on the latest Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke yesterday announced the inclusion of an additional 22 occupations to the list, with the only nod to the transport sector being a call-out for more roading engineers.

The PMSOL, first announced in September 2020, is developed in conjunction with the National Skills Commission to ensure a small number of critical occupations are filled to continue to create Australian jobs and aid in Australia’s ongoing recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

Minister Hawke said the government engaged with small, medium and large Australian employers, business leaders, and industry bodies across the economy to determine these changes.

“Government has received valuable feedback from Australian business stakeholders on critical skill vacancies, which has been considered together with data from the National Skills Commission, in order to develop today’s update to the Priority Migration Skilled Migration List,” Minister Hawke said.

“The Morrison Government will continue to support Australian businesses, including through skilled migration, as the engine room of our nation’s economy.”

Foreign truckies were able to migrate to Australia via the 457 visa scheme but that was abolished by the Turnbull government in 2017 to “put Australians first”.

The 22 new occupations on the PMSOL list are:

    • Accountant (general)
    • Accountant (taxation)
    • Accountant (management)
    • External auditor
    • Internal auditor
    • Electrical engineer
    • Civil engineer
    • Structural engineer
    • Geotechnical engineer
    • Transport engineer
    • Mining engineer
    • Petroleum engineer
    • Surveyor
    • Cartographer
    • Other spatial scientist
    • Medical laboratory scientist
    • Orthotist/prosthetist
    • Multimedia specialist
    • Analyst programmer
    • Software and applications programmers
    • ICT security specialist
    • Chef


Sam Marks, the Australian Trucking Association’s transport and infrastructure adviser, said there is a pressing need to address skilled shortages for critical trades in the trucking industry, including heavy vehicle mechanics and automotive electricians, by adding these occupations in the short term to Australia’s priority skilled migration program.

“The ATA has supported the work of our member associations Western Roads Federation and the NT Road Transport Association by recommending these changes to both the Australian Government and the Parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program,” Marks said.

The Parliamentary inquiry reported on the need to consider including motor mechanics to the priority skilled migration occupation list. It is disappointing that the Australian Government has not followed this advice.

“ATA member associations continue to invest in and lead the debate on improving training to address skill shortages, including for truck drivers, with a number of projects, proposals and initiatives right around Australia.”

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