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Helping to address Northern Inland skills needs

RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson and Project Officer Gary Fry work through the region’s skilled migration figures
RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson and Project Officer Gary Fry work through the region’s skilled migration figures

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) is making an important contribution to the Northern Inland NSW region’s economy, through its skilled migration program. RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said that for employers who need a position filled and cannot do so with local labour, skilled migrant labour can be critical. “We are looking at various approaches to addressing our skills and labour shortages. Skilled migration is one very important option and we are proud to be involved in facilitating that option for employers throughout the region,” he said.

Under the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), RDANI performs the Regional Certifying Body role, which entails providing advice to the Department about a nominating employer and how they meet the required criteria. Nominated employees from overseas apply for the 187 visa, which is a direct entry stream (towards Permanent Residency). This visa program involves a minimum two-year commitment from both the employer and the employee.

RDANI also assesses applications from prospective skilled migrations for the NSW Government nominated Skilled Regional 489 sub-class visa. Applicants are supported by RDANI and receive a State nomination if they meet the criteria and are qualified in an occupation that is considered to be needed in the Northern Inland region.

In the 2014/15 financial year, RDANI processed 67 RSMS employer nominations and 125 Skilled Regional 489 visa applications. “Our efficient processing has meant a prompt outcome, which is extremely important when the need is urgent, as is often the case,” RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson said.

“The skilled migrant option is generally the last resort and employers can literally be counting on a successful outcome as quickly as possible, to ensure the smooth operation and growth of their business or organisation,” he said. “This is one reason why it is so important that we are here, on the ground in this region, able to explain the process. It can appear overwhelmingly complex but for employers with a genuine need, it is a worthwhile win-win. 

“The Skilled Regional visa is also of great benefit to the region, bringing in workers and their dependents who are not only skilled but who are also enthusiastic and committed.”

“Our skilled migration program does more than strengthen the economies of the region, through cultural diversity it also enriches our communities,” Mr Axelsson said. “Over the past financial year, we have brought skilled migrants to the region in such sectors as education, health, agriculture, hospitality, engineering and trades.”

In addition to liaising with employers and skilled migrants, RDANI works with community organisations which help address the challenges of settling in and engaging with a regional community, such as Northern Settlement Services and Multicultural Tamworth. “Retention of skilled labour can be as much a challenge for our region’s employers as attraction of skilled labour and we encourage employers to do what they can to support their workers from overseas in truly becoming part of the community. Integration through joining service or sporting clubs could be one way they can get to know people and get involved in their local community.”

For further information about Regional Development Australia Northern Inland’s skilled migration visas, please go to our website: www.rdani.org.au/skilled-migration

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