Civil Engineers wanted – Swap South Africa for Australia!

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If you are a South Africa-based Civil Engineer or a Construction Professional who is considering emigrating to Australia, now is a perfect time.

According to a recent report published by Engineers Australia, engineering job vacancies are at a ten-year high, highlighting the ongoing skills shortage.

Engineering Skill Shortages in Australia

The engineering skills shortage has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and is causing the engineering job vacancy rate to continue to skyrocket with the number of engineering jobs advertised increasing by 50 per cent in Australia in 2021.

Major public infrastructure activity will double over the next three years, peaking at $52 billion in 2023 and it is estimated that in mid-2023 the employment in the infrastructure sector will need to grow from 183,000 people to more than 288,000.  

While Australia has ambitious plans when it comes to investing in public infrastructure, a skilled workforce that is available when required will be pivotal in realising these plans. Just have a look at the graph below showing shortages across many occupations.

 

Source: Infrastructure Australia

Despite having the largest workforces, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland face the greatest risk of shortage. To make things worse, the infrastructure workforce in Australia is ageing, with over 40% of current workers likely to retire over the next 15 years. This challenge is greatest for project management professionals and structures and civil trades and labour, both of which have more than 40% of workers over the age of 45.

Skill Shortages Bite

Engineering occupations are currently most at risk of shortage. Geophysicists, geotechnical engineers, structural engineers and civil engineers are identified as having shortages in most assessment methods. Some shortages appear to be ongoing and systemic, for example, surveyors with a workforce shortfall of over 600 surveyors and spatial scientists nationally. This shortfall is expected to continue to increase due to retirements as the average age of surveyors is around 52 years.

To meet demand across Australia, over 41,000 further individuals are estimated to be required to fill engineering occupations including positions in civil, geotechnical, structural and materials engineers.

Australia’s Borders Are Open to International Travellers

Australia has reopened its international borders for the first time in nearly two years. The country is among the world’s most immunized countries for Covid-19, with 95% of people over the age of 16 fully vaccinated. The ‘zero COVID-19’ policy as well as lockdowns have been abandoned by federal and state governments.

What you need to know before travelling to Australia

Some rules are still in place though. Travellers entering the country must be fully vaccinated to avoid a costly hotel quarantine, and must do a test before arrival.

From 21 February 2022, all visa holders who are fully vaccinated for international travel purposes can travel to Australia without a travel exemption. Unvaccinated visa holders will still need to be in an exempt category or hold an individual travel exemption to enter Australia. 

If you were vaccinated, you will need to present a foreign vaccination certificate to airline staff that meets all of the requirements outlined on the Australian Passport Office website.

You need to comply with requirements in the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to. This includes quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements. Restrictions may change at short notice. Quarantine requirements in Australia are determined by state and territory governments.

A negative COVID-19 test result is required for travelling to Australia. Evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or other Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) test taken within 3 days before your flight’s scheduled departure, or a medical certificate as proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure, must be provided to your airline when you check-in.

To stay up-to-date with travel requirements, visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website here

Visas for Engineering Graduates

The Skilled Recognised Graduate Visa 476 is available to engineering graduates who are under the age of 31 and who have graduated within 24 months of their visa application.

When you apply, you must have completed an engineering course for which you were awarded a degree or higher qualification in the last 2 years. This could be a:

  • bachelors degree
  • masters degree
  • doctoral degree
  • postgraduate diploma

This qualification must be in an engineering discipline, such as:

  • civil engineering
  • structural engineering
  • chemical engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • electrical and electronics engineering
  • mechanical, production and plant engineering
  • mining and material engineering

IMPORTANT: Your degree must be obtained from an Institution recognized represented by Engineering Council South Africa (ECSA) (1999)

Recognition of BEng,BSC(Eng) and BIng Programmes Accredited by the ECSA via Washington Accord  

This type of programme is a four-year programme.

Engineering programmes listed in document  E-20-PE have been accredited by the ECSA and are recognised as meeting the initial academic requirements for registration as a Professional Engineer in South Africa. International recognition of these programmes is provided through the Washington Accord, which was signed in 1989. 

Signatories to the Washington Accord have undertaken to make every reasonable effort to ensure that the bodies responsible or registering or licensing for Professional Engineer, Chartered Engineer or similar designations to practise in its country or territory mutually recognise the substantial academic equivalence of engineering academic programmes accredited by other Accord signatories.

The ECSA became a signatory to the Washington Accord in 1999 and other signatories are under no formal obligation to recognise the graduates of accredited programmes prior to that year. Individual Accord signatories recognise ECSA accredited programmes gained prior to1999 at their own discretion.

Further details about the Washington Accord and details of all current signatories with links to all accreditation listing information can be found at: http://www.ieagreements.org/ 

What you can do with the Skilled Recognized Graduate Visa 476

The 476 Visa is a visa that allows recent engineering graduates from recognized institutions and eligible universities to get up to 18 months of skilled work experience anywhere in Australia with no restrictions.

You can include members of the family unit in your application when you apply. All applicants who apply for the visa must meet the health and character requirements.

The current visa costs AUD 410 for the main applicant. There is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics.

You will also need to provide evidence of English proficiency:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)Overall score of at least 6 with a minimum score of 5 for each of the 4 parts
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT)Total score of at least 64 with a minimum score of 4 for listening, 4 for reading, 14 for writing and 14 for speaking
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)Overall score of at least 50 with a minimum score of 36 for each of the 4 parts
Occupational English Test (OET)At least B for each of the 4 parts
Cambridge C1 Advanced testOverall at least 169 with a minimum score of at least 154 in each of the 4 test components
Source: Departement of Home Affairs

Visas for Experienced Engineers

Engineers who have been working for a few years in the industry, or those who are over the age of 31, can apply for a variety of skilled visas.

The Skilled Independent Visa 189 is one of the most powerful visas available to immigrants to Australia. The visa is a permanent residency visa, meaning you and your family enter Australia as permanent residents and as such are afforded certain benefits, such as health care (Medicare) and access to public schooling. Subclass 189 allows you to live anywhere in Australia and work in any occupation, in any capacity you like.

Due to engineering skills shortages which have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, most engineering professions are now included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) and receive priority processing of nomination and visa applications.

According to Sable International, in 2022 the Australian government will redirect the quotas from subclass 189 to state-nominated visas such as the Skilled Nominated visa, subclass 190, and Skilled Work Regional Provisional visa, which is subclass 491. To find out more about eligibility for these visa subclasses, get in touch with Sam Hopwood at ausoffice@sableinternational.com

Sponsorship Visa

TSS is a temporary visa that allows skilled workers to stay up to 2 years (Short-Term TSS) or 4 years (Medium-Term TSS) depending on the occupation. It is a sponsorship visa.

Occupations on the STSOL List (Short-Term Skilled Occupations ) will be eligible for visas of up to two years. Visas might be renewable once, for a further two years. Occupations on the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List) will be eligible for up to four years visa (with eligibility for permanent residency after three years).

As one of the few recruitment agencies in Australia, ConsultANZ can sponsor overseas candidates into the Australian civil engineering and construction industry.

What condition do I have to meet to be eligible for the TSS 482 visa?

You must:

  • be nominated to work in a specified occupation under the terms of a Labour Agreement;
  • have at least 2 years relevant work experience in your nominated occupation or a related field;
  • have a relevant skills assessment if this is required for your occupation;
  • work only for your sponsor;
  • meet minimum standards of English language proficiency unless you are exempt from needing to show this.

*ConsultANZ can sponsor someone for this visa if they cannot find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the skilled work.

You can bring immediate dependents family members such as your spouse and dependent children, but this will incur extra visa processing costs on top of the primary applicant costs.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ConsultANZ recommends you obtain your own independent immigration advice. It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all information provided through this blog/website. In no event will ConsultANZ Ltd be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance upon any information contained on or omitted from this blog/website.

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