Consultation is underway on whether a range of cyber security-related jobs should be added to Australia’s skilled migration visa list, as the sector faces a widening talent gap.

The federal government’s Migration Strategy, unveiled late last year, handed Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) a formal role in developing the core skills occupations list, which will be used as key criteria for the new Skills in Demand visa.

This new visa is replacing the Temporary Skills Shortage visa, and the new skills list will replace the Skilled Migration Occupation Lists from March 2019.

JSA’s role sees it consulting widely on what jobs should be included as eligible under the new skills visa and providing final recommendations to the federal government.

JSA has unveiled an update on what this advice may look like, with a range of skills it is confident should be included, some it is confident should not be included and others that it will seek to consult further on.

Six different cyber security-related roles have been included on JSA’s list of potential roles it will consult more widely on: cyber security engineer, cyber governance risk and compliance specialist, cyber security advice and assessment specialist, cyber security analyst, cyber security architect and cyber security operations coordinator.

The inclusion of these jobs in the new Skills in Demand visa may assist the local cyber security sector address the ever-growing skills gap in the industry.

Research from 2022 found that the sector will need 30,000 cyber security specialists by 2026, nearly twice the number that was forecast before the COVID pandemic.

Despite this huge need, universities are predicted to produce only about 2,000 graduates by 2026, with this skills gap outpacing many other sectors.

Tech jobs in line for the list

JSA will also consult further on the inclusion of a number of tech-related roles, including data analyst, software engineer, penetration tester, systems administrator, computer network and systems engineer, and web administrator.

There are also a number of tech jobs that Jobs and Skills Australia is already confident will be included on the core skills occupations list.

These include chief information officer, ICT manager, developer programmer, software and applications programmer, database administrator, and network administrator.

There are about 10 tech roles in total in the list of occupations likely to be included in the final list to be provided to the government.

JSA has also published a list of jobs it is confident will not make the cut for the final list.

There are about five tech-related roles that will likely not be included: ICT project manager, ICT support engineer, telecommunications engineer, ICT customer support officer, and ICT support technicians.

The Minister for Immigration will be the final decision maker for the core skills occupation list, but this call will be based on the advice from JSA.

The agency has developed a Migration Labour Market Indicator Model to assist with this task and has undertaken a “comprehensive evidence-based process”.

Consultation conducted by JSA to develop the draft lists included surveys, submissions, bilateral meetings and qualitative analysis.

Jobs and Skills Australia launched its new Ministerial Advisory Board earlier this year with 15 members, but no representation from the tech sector.

In February, the federal government pledged to cut overseas student numbers in an effort to reduce net migration from a record 510,000 last year to 375,000 in the current year and 250,000 in 2024-25.

The government has also committed to process applications for the new skilled visa category in just seven days for roles earning at least $135,000 per year, with an easier pathway to permanent residency also on offer.