Update to skilled visa programs welcomed

AMPAG welcomes this week’s announcement from the Department of Home Affairs about updates to the list of eligible occupations for Australia’s skilled visa programs; in particular that four key job codes of importance to the performing arts are being moved to the Medium to Long Term Skills Shortage lists (MTLTSSL).

Update to skilled visa programs welcomed

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AMPAG has long advocated for job codes for dancers, artistic directors, arts administrators and music directors to be moved from the short to the to the medium-to-long term skilled migrant list (MTLTSSL). Bethwyn Serow Executive Officer of AMPAG said it was pleasing to note that all four of the job codes advocated for in AMPAG’s 2017 submission to the Department of Education along and again in the government’s 2018 review of skills shortage job code lists have been moved to the MTLTSSL.

The Major Performing Art companies (MPAs) are major employers of Australian artists and arts administrators, and while all MPAs seek to employ from within Australia first, they need to increase capacity by employing a very small number of people from abroad to address skills gaps in the company and embed new expertise in the sector.  The roles advocated for are specialised, and the MPA companies compete internationally to attract elite performers and expertise in leading elite companies.

AMPAG’s submission argued that while musicians are appropriately on the MLTSSL, dancers were placed on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) creating inconsistent and detrimental treatment of verifiable skills gaps in the elite ballet companies. Demand for artistic directors — the arts leaders and human face of the companies — is forecast to grow. The music director is the orchestra’s equivalent position to artistic director in dance, theatre or opera, and orchestras need the capacity to secure their tenure for the medium to long term.The arts administrators and managers visa job code is used irregularly, yet is critical. Where local expertise is in short supply, an international candidate can introduce developed skills and different experiences and methodologies that assist the companies to advance the sustainability of their operation.

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