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  • Writer's pictureDessie

Skilled refugees can find work in Australia

Skilled refugees matched with employers to migrate to Australia in the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot program. The pilot program was launched in 2021 and is going to be reviewed for its second renewal in July 2025. There are 500 primary applicant visa places available in the program each year and it offers fast track processing of temporary and permanent residency visas for the primary applicants and their family members.

This pilot program allows Australian employers to sponsor skilled refugees who were endorsed by Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB). The pilot program removes a number of barriers faced by refugees who have skills and could otherwise access employer sponsored skilled migration pathways to migrate to Australia by applying for one of the following: Employer Nomination Scheme visa Subclass 186, Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa subclass 494 or Temporary Skill Shortage visa subclass 482. The 186 offers immediate permanent residency while the other two include a pathway leading to permanent residency.

Concessions within this program are extremely valuable for applicants and employers alike with a waiver for skills assessment and minimum work experience, a reduction of minimum English language requirements, no labour market testing, and an increase in age requirements allowing people up to 55 years old to apply. For refugees it also offers more flexibility in police checks and passports, which are sometimes problematic for those fleeing hostilities. There are more than 900 occupations listed by the Department of Home Affairs that fall under this program which is a much more inclusive list of occupation than otherwise available.

To be eligible applicants must be a refugee, a stateless person and unable to return to their home country and be in a country where they do not hold legal status allowing residence. They must register with TBB. Participation in this program is restricted to those who have been endorsed by the TBB and must meet the TBB’s eligibility criteria and be sponsored by an Australian employer.

The steps though are easy; first an employer identifies a role that needs to be filled and advises the TBB who checks its database to find suitable candidates. Then the TBB validates the candidate’s skills and if the employer offers a position, contracts are exchanged. TBB also helps employers to prepare for the new employee and provide ongoing support for up to 12 months.

Australian employers and potential applicants interested in the program can reach out to TBB.

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