Legislative Council

QUESTION: Skilled Migrants

April 12th, 2017

On the 12th of April 2017, Mark asked the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills a question about skilled migration to South Australia.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I have become aware of a situation whereby skilled migrants are being enticed to South Australia, bringing skills that are supposedly in short supply, only to find that there is little or no work in their field of expertise. Not surprisingly, migrants can feel that they have been misled in their desire to further their careers if they move to South Australia only to find that there aren't any jobs. In the meantime, they are compelled to stay in South Australia for at least two years. This situation has led to much anguish and heartache, as skilled migrants find themselves unemployed or working in menial jobs. I am told that this is also having a serious impact on the mental health of migrants and their families.

There is a list of state-nominated occupations on the South Australian government's Immigration South Australia website, and I note that there are seven A4 pages of occupation types, most of which are described as "high availability".

My questions of the minister are:

1. Who is responsible for maintaining the accuracy and relevance of the list of state-nominated occupations, and when was that list updated? I make the observation that when I downloaded it today it was dated today, so it may have been updated today, but I note that it comes with a range of disclaimers that were not on previous lists.

2. What steps are taken to monitor job vacancies in the various occupations that are on the list?

3. What follow-up monitoring or evaluation is undertaken in relation to individual skilled migrants to South Australia to see whether or not they were able to find work in their areas of expertise?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER  (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy): I thank the honourable member for his questions. I won't be able to add much to it now, but I think the honourable member probably presumes that I will take it on notice and bring back a reply to him. I know that a lot of the skilled migration program is a federal government program. The federal government has control over migration not state jurisdictions, but I presume that the skills part of the Department for State Development, under minister Susan Close, monitors that skills area. I will find out which part of state government has involvement and bring back a reply for the honourable member.

An additional answer was provided on 2nd August 2017

The Hon Kyam Maher MLC:

The Minister for Investment and Trade has advised that:

1. "The State Nominated Occupation List is prepared and maintained annually by the Department of State Development. It is published annually in July following modelling, analysis and industry consultation.

The document is date stamped as current for the date it is downloaded. The availability indicators also update in real time as applicants apply for state nomination, to reflect the remaining availability of state nomination places. These availability indicators should not be interpreted as the volume of positions unfilled in the labour market.

2. The Department of State Development monitors publicly available vacancy data from the Federal Department of Employment.

The Department also purchases data from SEEK Limited in order to gauge current industry demand for workers and skills. In future, both the Federal Department of Employment and the Department of State Development are looking at incorporating more real-time data to inform occupation lists, so that this can be responsive to changes in the employment market.

3. There are a range of activities that take place, both surveying and dedicated employment support services.

Immigration SA's Specialist Migrant Services provides a suite of employment related services relevant to skilled migrants. Feedback is regularly received from clients thanking the Government for providing a valuable service, which has been directly attributed to helping migrants obtain skilled employment in a competitive market.

Clients are surveyed to ascertain their progress, including whether they have gained skilled employment and to facilitate their access to further services dependent on their need

At the state level, there are two forms of surveys across the state nominated cohort. Major surveys of skilled migrants were conducted in 2010 and 2015 and a short ongoing survey is sent to state nominated migrants at three months, six months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months post-arrival.

At a national level, the Australian Government's Continuous Survey of Australia's migrants, covers both family and skilled migrant outcomes."


"An analysis of labour market shortages and capacity takes place annually from February to May, with the information published in July each year when the new State Nominated Occupation List is released.

printer friendly version

Get email updates