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Australian Fishing Industry Struggles With Current Migration Scheme Australia, March 1, 13

The Australian fishing industry is in need of skilled foreign workers, but according to industry members the national immigration policy is blocking them from doing so. Employers are now reaching out for temporary migration channels as a provisional solution.

Tuna fisherman Hagen Stehr says his company Stehr Group has been losing skilled workers to the growing offshore oil and gas industry due to far higher wages. Consequently, Stehr has been trying to hire foreign skilled workers to bring them into Australia through the “Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme”. Unfortunately, despite their constant efforts, they haven’t been able to.

The skilled workers needed by Stehr Group are not recognized by the so-called Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes. The code, which recognizes a “master fisher” doesn’t recognize skilled workers such as: skipper’s, seagoing engineers, net makers or master ticket qualification. Immigration authorities do not allow these people through the skilled migration channel.

As a result, they are using the temporary migration channel to get in workers, but this is at risk of tightening since there will be changes to this regime from June.

“Temporary migration should not be a solution to a flawed skilled migration scheme, but we have no choice” says Mark Cody, Primary Industries Skills Council of SA executive director.
“We need a much greater level of skilled migration in this country aligned with actual industry demand and need to provide for a solid, robust recognition system to make sure we don’t lose those people to lesser-skilled occupations,” Mark Cody adds.