By Lita Mahle
Highly qualified chefs and cooks will continue to be welcomed in Australia, despite the removal of these occupations from the new (SOL) Skilled Occupations List, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.
The Minister said the removal of these occupations from the Skilled Occupation List ( SOL)would not be a barrier to the restaurants and hotel industry’s ability to target the skilled workers it needs, as employers can nominate chefs and cooks on 457 visas, ENS employer-sponsored visas and the new (SMP) State Migration Plans.
Chefs and cooks were just some of the occupations removed from the recently announced SOL, which dropped from 400 occupations to 180. This is part of the Australian immigration reform to target specific workers needed by the economy.
“The removal of the classifications for chefs and cooks from the SOL will not affect the ability of restaurateurs to bring in qualified staff to meet demand in the industry,” Senator Evans said.
“We have reformed the skilled migration system to allow employers to target the skills they need in their businesses.”
The Immigration Minister said employers have been using this migration pathway to recruit qualified staff in the past with almost 1000 cooks and chefs being granted employer-sponsored visas to April 30 in 2009-10. As of 31 March this year, there were 3210 cooks and chefs working in Australia on employer-nominated 457 visas.
“Despite more than 4000 chefs and cooks being granted visas under the independent skilled migration program in 2007-08, there were critical shortages in the industry,” Senator Evans said.
“Clearly the majority of these people were not working as either cooks or chefs. The changes we have introduced will ensure that only those who have real jobs to go to in the industry will be granted visas.”