The recent Australian Government decision to reinstate bricklaying onto the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) from July 1, 2014 will enable international skilled bricklayers to apply for permanent visas to reside and work in Australia.
The decision recognises the growing skill shortage in bricklaying brought on by the increased level of construction activity, particularly in housing and the ongoing ageing of the bricklayer workforce.
Bricklayers should be aware that the decision is unrelated to Temporary Visas (457) which have always been available to sponsoring employers taking on less skilled workers for short durations. In fact, the 457 Visa number may reduce now that skilled bricklayers can apply for permanent visas, either via the independent (subclass 189) or sponsored (subclass 190) categories.
These visas are points tested and applicants need to satisfy a skills assessment equivalent to the full bricklaying qualification, Certificate III.
ABBTF welcomes this decision to add skilled bricklayers to the workforce at a time when apprentice numbers in training are the lowest for more than ten years.
The decision came as a result of a recommendation from Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) who analyse the labour market and training to identify skill shortages. ABBTF made a strong case for bricklaying to be added back to the SOL in a submission to AWPA earlier this year which was supported by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA).