Australian Labour Shortage: How Regional Manufacturing Companies Can Attract a Workforce

Australia’s current unemployment rate is 3.5 per cent, yet many industries – including the manufacturing industry – are struggling to find staff.

According to the government’s Skills Priority List, machinery operators and drivers are some of the most sought-after employees in Australia, representing the need for migrants to help ease Australian labour shortage. 

To combat this, the federal government has announced changes to migrant caps with a particular focus on regional areas. On a state level, some governments are providing financial incentives to encourage the urban workforce to move to regional areas. Yet, even when employees are willing to move, individuals are struggling to find accommodation.

Construction Australian labour shortage

Increasing the Workforce in Australia to Address the Australian Labour Shortage

The federal government has recently taken steps to help regional areas attract skilled workers

At the Jobs and Skills Summit held in September, the Labor government announced a 35,000-person increase to the migration cap, lifting it from 160,000 to 195,000 in 2022-23. 

“There is a consensus that there is a need for an increase [in migration intakes], and also a consensus that it is not just about the numbers but about the make-up of our migration system,” Anthony Albanese said. 

To support this, the Labor government has put forward their plans to promote permanent migration for skilled visa holders in Australia through workforce Australia online and promoted healthy employment and workplace relations to solve Australian labour shortage.

The increase in the migrant cap is set to benefit regional areas due to a lift in the quota of regional visas.

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The 491 Visa

With the increasing emphasis on employment and workplace relations in regional areas, this visa serves as a bridge for skilled professionals. The Workforce Australia website and the Workforce Australia app are potential platforms where applicants might find relevant job search results, aiding their job search in regional Australia and for workers looking for their next job.

 491 visa for Australian labour shortage


The visa allows the holder to stay in Australia for 5 years, during which they can leverage platforms like the Workforce Australia app for job search and to stay updated with the latest in employment and workplace relations and other necessary details.


The Visa Subclass 491 for Australia has a primary application fee of AUD 4,045. Additional charges include AUD 2,025 for each adult family member and AUD 1,010 for those under 18. If a family member above 18 has limited English proficiency, an extra fee of AUD 4,890, known as the second instalment charge, may apply.

Processing Times

The processing times can be checked using the visa processing time guide tool provided on the Services Australia website. This tool displays the processing times for recently decided applications and serves as a general guide.


  • Stay in Australia for 5 years.
  • Live, work, and study in a designated regional area of Australia, enhancing the workforce Australia initiative.
  • Travel to and from Australia multiple times as long as the visa is valid.
  • Eligibility to apply for permanent residence after 3 years from the time the visa is granted.


  • Must be nominated by a state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative.
  • Must have an occupation listed on a relevant skilled occupation list.
  • Must possess a suitable skills assessment for the chosen occupation.
  • Must be invited to apply.
  • Must satisfy the points test.

For those seeking assistance with their visa application, it’s essential to ensure they’re getting help from authorized individuals or agencies. They provide information on who can assist with visa applications, and the Workforce Australia app might be a potential platform for such services in the future. 

491 subvisa for Australian labour shortage

Subclass  494 Visa

For those looking to take employment matters into their own hands, subclass 494 offers companies the option of sponsoring skilled workers.  The subclass 494, the employer-sponsor stream allows for companies within the manufacturing industry to seek out employees from abroad. 

Under the 494 visa, sponsored workers must have at least three years of experience in the field, only work for the nominated employer or the jobs recommended, be under the age of 45, and meet the minimum standards of English language proficiency.

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In light of Australia’s current labour shortage, particularly in the manufacturing sector, the government’s initiatives to increase the migration cap and promote regional visas are commendable steps towards addressing the issue. The introduction of visas like the 491 and 494 not only provides a platform for skilled workers to find jobs in regional Australia but also offers employers a structured job plan to attract and retain talent.

With the free service provided by Workforce Australia, both employers and job seekers can navigate the employment landscape more efficiently. The emphasis on regional employment ensures that job seekers have a broader location range to choose from, enhancing their chances of finding suitable employment. Furthermore, the flexibility in work hours, as promoted by various job listings, ensures a balance between professional and personal life. While challenges persist, the combined efforts of the government and platforms like Workforce Australia are paving the way for a more robust and diverse workforce in the country.

Dayob recruitment has qualified and accredited staff willing to move interstate to regional areas. Reach out to find the candidate best
suited for your company. Contact us today!

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