Software developers and programmers are to be given exemptions to the Federal government’s immigration ban, Acting Minister for Immigration, Alan Tudge, announced last night.

In a joint statement with Minister for Employment, Michaela Cash, Tudge revealed ‘software engineers’ and ‘developer programmers’ would be among the 17 occupations eligible to enter Australia as part of the government’s economic recovery efforts.

Under ANZSCO, the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, ‘developer programmers’ include ICT developers and programmers, while ‘software engineers’ covers roles such as software architects and database designers.

Skilled workers in these categories may be able to sidestep the ban imposed in March that saw only citizens and permanent residents allowed to enter Australia as part of the efforts to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.

The occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) were based on advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with relevant Commonwealth agencies, stated Tudge.

Announced in the 2019 Federal budget, the National Skills Commission was established to focus retraining in the VET sector with aim to making students and job seekers more suited to employers’ and industry needs.

Minister Tudge claimed the list, to be reviewed regularly, would form a key part the government’s attempts to drive the nation’s economic recovery.

“Our priority is getting Australians back into work but we also need key health workers to help fight the virus and skilled migrants who are going to be job multipliers, to help the economy recover,” Tudge said.

“These occupations in the health care, construction and IT sectors will supercharge both our health and economic response to COVID-19.”

Those seeking to enter under the exemption will still need a valid visa and be subject to 14 days quarantine on arrival.

However, an individual or employer can submit a request for a travel exemption.

“Visa holders, who have been sponsored by an Australia business in a PMSOL occupation can request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions, but will be subject to a strict 14 days quarantine on arrival at their own expense,” Tudge continued.

Minister Cash added employers will also have to advertise the jobs on the Federal government’s JobActive website along with other established market testing requirements.

“In addition to the current requirements of two national advertisements, employers must also advertise their vacancy on the Government’s Jobactive wesbite,” Cash said.

“The occupations were chosen after careful analysis of recent changes to the internet vacancy index, changes in employment, and longer-term stability in the labour market for individual occupations.”

“As COVID-19 continues to play out both at home and abroad, we will closely monitor labour market trends and respond to any changes in our skills needs.”

While existing skilled migration occupation lists remain active and visas are still being processed, priority will be given to those in occupations on the priority list, the ministers said.

All 17 occupations on the priority lists, along with their ANZSCO codes, are:

• Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)

• Construction Project Manager (133111)

• Mechanical Engineer (233512)

• General Practitioner (253111)

• Resident Medical Officer (253112)

• Psychiatrist (253411)

• Medical Practitioner nec (253999)

• Midwife (254111)

• Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)

• Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)

• Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)

• Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)

• Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)

• Registered Nurses nec (254499)

• Developer Programmer (261312)

• Software Engineer (261313)

• Maintenance Planner (312911)