The Great Resignation - Workforce Planning and Immigration

Original Publication Date - 02/02/2022

What employers need to consider when sourcing talent from overseas to fill skills shortages

The closure of international borders and imposition of travel restrictions resulting from the global pandemic have led to many employers in Australia having to deal with ongoing skills shortages in various industry sectors within Australia that simply cannot be met by the local labour market.

These skills shortages are ongoing and continue to exist as employers have access to a limited talentpool. In addition to this, employers in Australia are now bracing themselves for what the "Great Resignation" brings and are re-evaluating how to source and retain talent in their workforce to support post COVID recovery and growth. In this article, we look at what employers need to consider when sourcing talent from overseas to fill skills shortages.

What is the “Great Resignation”?

Simply put, as people think about the role of work in their lives, the “Great Resignation” is a movement sparked by high numbers of employees choosing to leave or switch jobs post COVID-19.

What does this mean for employers?

Movement of talent resulting from the Great Resignation will hinder businesses ability to effectively recover post covid. Employers who are already experiencing skills shortages and are not able to retain existing talent due to a competitive labour market may need to adopt an outward looking approach to their workforce planning and consider recruiting skilled workers from overseas to alleviate short-term skill shortages. When screening candidates employers benefit from having a recruitment strategy that builds in an awareness of key visa requirements.

What can employers do to address current skills shortages?

As border restrictions are eased with the removal of travel exemptions, employers should take a look at their current workforce plans and review their current overseas recruitment strategies.

When employers are faced with a need to recruit from overseas, the following should be considered:

1. What positions do we genuinely need to fill in the business?

2. What do we need to consider when screening potential candidates?

    a.    Do the positions we need to fill require employer sponsorship? If yes, are there any eligible occupations we             can nominate the candidates on?

    b.    What are the skill level and work experience requirements candidates need to meet for eligible work visa             occupations?

     c.    Ability to provide relevant documentation

     d.   What are the candidate’s migration goals?

3. Are there any specific visa and compliance requirements such as Labour MarketTesting and ongoing sponsor     obligations we need to be aware of?

4. Are there any special exemptions available under a Free Trade Agreement that we can leverage?

5.  Which country/countries should we prioritise recruitment from?

6. Are there any other alternative visa options are available out there that can facilitate entry into Australia and allow     the holder to work?

7. How much lead time do we need to find candidates, apply and wait for a visa to be finalised?

8. What are the costs involved?

Having a visa checklist to screen candidates will save a lot of time and allow employers to select the right candidate from the start.

Using work visas to fill skills shortages

Australia has a number of temporary and permanent work visa options available to overseas nationals. The most appropriate visa option and pathway for a candidate will depend on:

 · Start date

 · Nature of the activities to be undertaken in Australia

 · Duration of stay required

 · Eligibility for an appropriate visa

Below is a list of available work visas in Australia. Some visas do not require employer sponsorship, and all will have visa conditions attached that can either limit how long the visa holder can work for, who they can work for and/or where they can work.

Short stay work visas

  • Subclass 400 Temporary work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
  • Subclass 417 Working Holiday visa holders
  • Subclass 462 Work and Holiday visa
  • Subclass 402 Temporary Work (International Relations) – Pacific Labour or Seasonal worker streams

Temporary work visas

  • Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa (Employer sponsored visa)
  • Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa
  • Subclass 476 Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa
  • Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional visa

Permanent work visas

  • Subclass 186 Employer nomination scheme
  • Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa
  • Subclass 190 Skilled Nominated visa

The Great Resignation can add pressure to businesses during already uncertain times. Whilst work visas are not the sole answer to ongoing structural skills shortages experienced in certain industries in Australia such as aged care and mining and resources, making use of Australia’s immigration program can give an organisation an approach to fill immediate labour shortages and allow access to skilled talent across the globe.

Having an awareness of immigration requirements as part of your recruitment strategy will allow your business to identify and mobilise skilled talent to fill skills shortages quickly and efficiently.