Approximately, one in seventeen secondary school teachers and one in twenty primary school teachers in Australia that are born in the United Kingdom. Demand for teachers in Modern Foreign Language, Mathematics and Science is particularly high. This information is directly from teacher recruitment agencies.
Restrictions on the Australian skilled immigration visas however, are making it extremely hard for employers to recruit teachers from the United Kingdom. The founder as well as the managing director of the education recruitment agency Anzuk, Mr Daniel Mundy, stated that ”Generally, UK teachers are arriving on Australian skilled migration visas to provide relief teaching or take up other short term contracts.” Anzuk finds work for many teachers who are British-born.
”Many are filling vacancies in remote locations where there is a real shortage of teachers,” he shared. ”The majority would like to remain in the country longer, but they face restrictions when it comes to Australian skilled immigration visas.”
British teachers are largest in number after Australian-born teachers
A report was published by the Australian Council for Educational Research entitled ”Staff in Australian Schools” (or SiAS) and according to this report, numbers show that educators born in the UK are the largest national group after teachers who are born in Australia. They make up five per cent of the total number of primary school teachers and six per cent among the secondary school educators.
One of the issues that the SiAS report has brought into focus is the fact that while some of those UK-born teachers have permanent migrant status, there are those who are also young travellers, and who are in Australia on working holiday visas valid only for two years.
In spite of having the largest number after the Australian-born teachers, statistics that were published by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia’s Immigration Department, show that the number of Australian temporary skilled working visas that are being granted to teachers from the UK have significantly declined in the recent years.
Decline in the number of granted Australian temporary skilled immigration visas
While six hundred twenty two qualified, UK-born teachers were granted visas in the period 2011 to 2012, year-on-year it still shows that the numbers have decreased. The number had fallen to five hundred eighty nine in 2012-13, and it declined again in 2013-14 when there were just four hundred sixty visas that were issued.
By the year 2014-15, the number of visas granted had lowered even further to three hundred fifty nine. In this situation, the most popular visa so far is the temporary Work (Skilled) 457 visa.
Mr Mundy believes that the steady decline in the number of Australian temporary skilled migration visas being granted is because of the changing conditions in the economy. He said that going back to the period of 2011 to 2012, the United Kingdom was in the middle of a financial crisis with a very large number of teachers looking for employment in other countries because wages in the UK were low and job opportunities were not that many.
”Fast-forward to 2015, the UK economy is improving, giving people less of an incentive to leave. Currently, less than five per cent of our agency’s recruitment pool originates from overseas,” added Mr Mundy.
There were also certain factors such as the subject area of the teacher and the flexibility regarding location is going to have an impact on whether a teacher who is UK-born will land a job role and then finally, an Australian skilled migration visa.