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Visa rules relaxed as more occupations added to Australia's skilled occupation lists

In major changes to Australia's immigration system, rules have been relaxed to help farmers and sporting clubs to help them sponsor visa holders from overseas.

Australia has announced some major changes to its immigration system, including eligible occupations for permanent and temporary immigration.

The changes to the occupation lists have been made following consultation with the Department of Jobs and Small Business based on the labour market advice provided by the department.

In the latest update, 36 new occupations have been added to the Medium and Long-Term Skill List, including professional footballers and tennis coaches.

The Department of Home Affairs says the update to the skilled occupations lists ensures that the entry of skilled foreign workers to Australia remains carefully calibrated to Australia’s needs.

“The Government continues to focus the Migration Program on addressing skills gaps in the economy and these initiatives demonstrate that commitment,” Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman said.

Visa rules relaxed to help farmers and sports bodies

The latest update to the Skilled Occupation Lists includes adding 18 new occupations to the Regional Occupation List.

The occupations include livestock, beef, dairy, sheep, aquaculture and crop farmers, among other agricultural roles.

The category of dentist and anaesthetist have also been added to the regional list to meet skill shortages.

Mr Coleman says farmers battling with drought and regional communities will benefit from the changes.

“We want Australians filling Australian jobs but when this isn’t possible action is needed to ensure farmers can continue to operate,” he said.

The Regional Occupation List allows employers to sponsor overseas workers to live and work in Australia for up to four years for the sponsoring employer in a specified region. The government introduced a pathway to permanent residency for the sponsored workers in designated areas, besides concessions in English language, salary and work experience requirements. 

The new changes will apply to new applications and will not affect existing nominations or applications. 

Changes to assessing authorities for some occupations have also been made. 

You can see more on the changes to the Skilled Occupation Lists here.

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