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Yoga teachers beat tradies on migrant list

Yoga instructors are on a draft priority skills list for migrants but some trades have been left off. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Yoga instructors, dog handlers and martial artists have been placed above tradies on the nation’s draft priority skills list for migrants.

The core skills list sets out which workers are eligible for the new Skills in Demand Visa, which replaces the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa in late-2024, with the program considered a fast-track for workers with skills the country needs urgently.

Among the occupations to be included on the core skills list will be “Other Sports Coach or Instructor (Wushu Martial Arts and Yoga Instructor Only)” and “Dog Handler or Trainer”.

“Jewellery Designer” also made the list.

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An independent agency’s draft recommendation on which skilled migrants should be fast-tracked into Australia, has placed yoga teachers above painters and roof tilers. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling

Despite the nation’s increasing housing supply crisis, painters, roof tilers, bricklayers, stonemasons and some other tradespeople missed the cut, being placed on a draft list of roles requiring “more consultation”.


A government source said some trades listed as needing more consultation had histories of migrant abuse, and further investigation was required to protect new arrivals.

But Master Builders Australia says there are rules to protect workers from exploitation.

“To suggest that every plumber, brickie or carpenter wanting to enter Australia should be turned away and all employers are exploiting workers is outrageous,” Master Builders chief executive Denita Wawn told NewsWire.

Electricians will likely end up on the fast-track visa list, though at this stage bricklayers, glaziers and plasterers likely miss out, if advice from the independent Jobs and Skills Australia is followed. Picture: NewsWire / David Crosling

Electricians of the automotive, lineswork, equipment and instrument ilk did make the grade, with Jobs and Skills Australia confident those workers will go onto the core skills list.

Industrial engineers, carpenters, environmental consultants, building inspectors, surveyors, welders and sheet metal workers are on the list too.

Despite several core parties to homebuilding being excluded from the list, the federal government has lofty building goals.

The Albanese government set a target of building 1.2 million new, well-located homes in the space of five years from July 1.

A BuildSkills Australia report sent shockwaves through the foundations of the housing industry in March, when the peak body forecast the country needed 90,000 more tradies to achieve the new home goal; and those tradies needed to materialise in three months’ time.

In March Adelaide overtook Perth as the toughest capital city to get a rental, as the national rental vacancy rate rose to 1.1 per cent. Picture: NewsWire / Ian Currie

Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins said building ministers were looking at alternative options of construction and conceded there was a “lot of work to do” to reach the target.

The Jobs and Skills Australia draft lists are part of a sweeping process which takes in migration modelling and labour market data. Businesses, workers and jobseekers are surveyed by the independent body, from there the draft lists are compiled.

The Jobs and Skills Australia draft lists are currently open for consultation.

The Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister will sign off on the final list.

The federal government has ambitious goals for building new houses. Picture: NewsWire / Sharon Smith
The federal government has ambitious goals for building new houses. Picture: NewsWire / Sharon Smith

The federal government approved 10,540 visas for tradies in the 2022/23 financial year.

Ms Wawn said an “extreme shortage” of trades training was “decades in the making”.

“Construction is the third highest paying industry in the country,” Ms Wawn said on ABC Radio.

“You can do extraordinarily well. I think it’s going to be one of the last of the skills taken over by AI.”

Urban Taskforce chief executive Stephen Fenn said yoga instructors and dog handlers elevated above bricklayers, glaziers and plasterers defied reality.

“Who are they talking to when they come up with these lists? All they need to do is ask the Reserve Bank how construction inflation is travelling … up almost 40 per cent since covid.

“The housing supply crisis, identified by the Federal Treasurer as a core challenge facing Australia, is underpinned by a skills crisis and labour shortages,” Mr Fenn said.