RDANI Snr. Skilled Migration & Project Officer Gary Fry, Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Cheryl Pawley, Chamber President and RDANI Chair Russell Stewart and Chamber Secretary Sheryl Ridley.
Despite the ongoing economic struggle caused by the drought, skill shortages continue to impact on the Northern Inland region of New South Wales, from the hospitality to health sectors, impeding economic growth and service delivery, according to Regional Development Australian Northern Inland (RDANI) chair Russell Stewart. “It was great to have our Senior Skilled Migration & Project Officer, Gary Fry come to Narrabri to speak to the Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce to explain how skilled Migration is an important way in which we are upskilling our region and how our employers can access skilled migrants,” he said.
Mr. Stewart is also the President of Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce and was pleased that representatives of Whitehaven Coal and Santos were on hand to hear the latest on the region’s skilled migration options.
Mr. Fry explained the retention benefit of the new Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa program sub-class 494. “In our region, retention of good staff can be as big a challenge as attraction. The new regional employer sponsored visa addresses that. This is Permanent Residency (PR) pathway and to be eligible for the 191 PR visa, sponsored skilled migrants will need to work for the sponsoring employer for three years,” he said. “This is a priority visa program for the Australian Government, which commenced on 16 November and replaced the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (that was a direct entry PR visa).”
The Narrabri Business Chamber was also briefed on the regional state sponsored visa program. “489 visa recipients applied to this region for State nomination if they met the requirements for an occupation on our regional list, which covered a broad range of in-demand occupations such as registered nurses, chefs and metal trades. They need to live and work regionally for two years in order to be eligible for Permanent Residency. There is no welfare or Medicare for them, so getting employment quickly when they come to the region is clearly important to them.
RDANI established the Skilled Migration Jobs Board Northern Inland Facebook group as an online service for skilled migrants in or coming to the region and employers to connect. This online resource is a successful initiative, with 664 members. It is an engagement tool that has achieved numerous employment outcomes. Skilled migrants who are settled in the region with a job continue to monitor the Group and help with employment advice for newcomers.
I encouraged the Narrabri Chamber of Commerce members to join that group and was delighted to see one of the progressive members do so immediately,” Mr. Fry said.
“One industry that has been a clear-cut beneficiary of our skilled migration program has been the aged-care sector. Residential aged-care facilities are required to have Registered Nurses on duty. Due to a skill shortage in the field, that requirement would have caused an aged-care crisis, if not for skilled migration. Our 489 visa recipients can be found in virtually all of our region’s nursing homes.”