0025 AUSVEG

General information

Submitterʼs name
AUSVEG
Submitted on behalf of
Professional body or industry association

About the submission

Is your organisation an Approved Sponsor for any of the following programs?
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa program
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa program
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visa program
  • Labour agreements
No
Please select the industry your submission is in relation to. If required, you may select multiple industries.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Please identify which occupations your submission relates to:
All 670 occupations

Responses

1. Are there additional labour market factors, for which there are national datasets available (ideally aligned to 6-digit ANZSCO occupation level), that are relevant to future refinements to the Departmentʼs analysis and methodology?

What is the frequency of data release?

AUSVEG considers ANZSCO occupation lists to be flawed in that they do not encapsulate the breadth of positions within the horticulture and broader agriculture industry. As such, we recommend that interpretation of this data be conducted through consultation with national and state based primary industry skills councils and industry groups such as AUSVEG. The primary industry skills councils maintain data sets and detailed knowledge of skills gaps within industry, so are important parties to engage with to advise on skills shortages within industry. For example, while it is not a position outlined under ANZSCO, a classification for a 'Horticulture Technician' who deals with advanced high-tech hydroponic production of horticulture crops has been identified by industry groups and primary industry skills councils as being a clear need for industry, but is not covered in the current ANZSCO classifications. In addition, it is recommended that data from Migration Agents is assessed to see which categories are proving difficult where there is a clear demand for international workers but valid applications are being declined due to roles not being covered by ANZSCO. AUSVEG also considers there to be a clear need for the majority of regional and agricultural based positions to feature on the MLTSSOL. This is due to difficulties in attracting and retaining these workers in regional Australia meaning it is a significant impost to industry to have to continually attract and train workers

2. The Department is also seeking submissions on suitable datasets that are disaggregated by region. Please provide details if you are aware of such a dataset, including whether it is aligned to ANZSCO occupations and how often the dataset is updated.

Primary industries skills councils in each state are able to provide state-based data sets and on the ground insights into labour shortages in agriculture. These bodies have not been comprehensively engaged as part of the previous Departmental approach and would provide valuable insights. In addition there has been specialised research conducted in South Australia into the impacts of skills shortages in regional areas and the signficant economic benefits of long term skilled migration and eventual permanent migration in regional areas and industries. This study was conducted by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies and titled 'The Potential Benefits of Reforming Migration Policies to Address South Australia’s Needs'. In addition, consultation with industry groups at the state and regional level will be vital to interpreting data sets and providing a mechanism for industry to report emerging skills shortages which are not encapsulated in ANZSCO or other labour market data sets.

3. Is there any other advice or evidence that the Department should consider in its review of the methodology?

AUSVEG considers industry consultation to be vital when considering changes to the MLTSSOL and STSOL lists. The changes from the 457 visa to the Temporary Skills Shortage visa were conducted without consultation and the agriculture industry in particular was affected by the movement of a number of relevant positions from the MLTSSOL and STSOL lists. This caused issues in that agriculture had an established reliance on the 457 visa for 1,800 positions. Many of these positions were for skilled workers in regional areas where farmers simply can not attract Australian workers. This being the case, AUSVEG considers that all agricultural positions must be included on the MLTSSOL to prevent the need for constant re-hiring and the loss of expertise in regional areas where these workers are vital to their local community. In addition, non-agricultural job positions (such as office management staff) should fall under the MLTSSOL where work is being conducted in an agricultural or regional industry. Another concern with the way the TSS transition was handled is that the Australian horticulture industry lost access to the 'nurseryperson' classification without notice or consultation. There were approximately 90 workers under the nurseryperson classification conducting highly skilled plant testing and propagation work in horticulture under the 457 scheme and potentially more under RSMS direct entry applications. Industry has lost access to this job position, which has been vital in supplying skilled and capable workers in an area of need, particularly in the protected cropping sector. AUSVEG considers consultation on any changes to the occupation lists in the future and that there is genuine recourse for industry to have positions reinstated where there is genuine need for workers. Agriculture is a challenging industry and skilled workers are the lifeblood of industry in regions throughout Australia. The Department must consult and give weight to industry views on the removal and reinstatement of positions to the occupation lists to prevent significant productivity losses in regional industries.
Do you have any supporting material for your submission?
No

Last modified on Friday 10 November 2017 [38971|92821]