There is good news for International Accounting and Audit professionals looking to work in Australia. They will now see their visas fast-tracked, as the government looks to plug talent shortage in their profession.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke on Tuesday added 22 occupations to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) aimed at filling critical skills in Australia amid international border closures.

The Occupations of Accountants, Taxation Accountants, Management Accountants, External Auditors and Internal Auditors are now part of the PMSOL, with the Visa processing for these Occupations to be given priority.

Visa holders who have been sponsored by a business can now request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions, but they would still be subject to a strict 14 days quarantine on arrival at their own expense.

Mr Hawke said the inclusion of the new Occupations was decided on after consultation with small, medium and large Australian employers, business leaders and Industry bodies.

Mr Hawke said that the Government has received valuable feedback from Australian business stakeholders on critical skill vacancies. This has been considered along with data from the National Skills Commission, in order to develop update to the Priority Migration Skilled Migration List. He said that the Morrison government will continue to support Australian businesses, including through Skilled Migration, as the engine room of our nation’s economy.

‘Global demand for accountants’

Dr Jane Rennie, CPA Australia general manager of external affairs, said the inclusion of Accounting professionals on the Priority Occupation list was necessary in order to address a growing skill shortage.

Dr Rennie said that Australia faces a growing shortage of Accounting professionals, not just in Australia but globally, and that there is competition to attract them. She added that unless this skills shortage was addressed, Australian businesses and the economy would suffer, and by increasing opportunities for International Accounting professionals and students to live and work in Australia, we are creating a pipeline of Accounting talent which would stand the nation in good stead.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand group executive Simon Grant also welcomed the move, noting a substantial shortage of External Auditors in the wake of border restrictions.

A CA ANZ survey of 16 of the largest professional services firms in April revealed a total of 888 Auditor vacancies, since firms were unable to rely on overseas recruitment and secondments.

Mr Grant said that the Audit profession is experiencing a war for talent as a result of the current border restrictions, coupled with the longer-term growth in demand for Audit professionals. He said this move alleviates the pressure small and large audit firms have been operating under to maintain their workforce, and that we now need to make sure that we boost their efforts, so that we can secure sustainable trust in capital markets during the crucial recovery phase.

The PMSOL, which now consists of 41 Occupations, was first developed in September 2020, based on advice from the National Skills Commission.

The government has notified that the existing Skilled Migration Occupation lists will remain active, and Visas will still be processed, but priority will be given to those having Occupations on the PMSOL.

The 22 new Occupations, along with their ANZSCO codes are:

  • Accountant (General) (221111)
  • Accountant (Taxation) (221113)
  • Accountant (Management) (221112)
  • External Auditor (221213)
  • Internal Auditor (221214)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
  • Transport Engineer (233215)
  • Mining Engineer (233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (233612)
  • Surveyor (232212)
  • Cartographer (232213)
  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214)
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Orthotist / Prosthetist (251912)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Software and Applications Programmers (261399)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Chef (351311)
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