Are Yoga Teachers, Dog Handlers, and Fitness Instructors Really Needed in Australia Over Tradies?


Let’s talk about Mickey Mouse strategy for a minute.

The Australian job market has experienced an unusual twist recently, however the Job and Skills Australia (JSA) proposed draft of Core Skills Occupations List (CSOL) that prioritises certain professions for temporary skilled visas is just baffling. Firstly the name used for the list is already a recipe for disaster as we have already the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL), one could pick another name. 

Also, prioritising yoga instructors and dog handlers over skilled construction workers is nonsensical, especially when Australia is grappling with a housing crisis that demands the expertise of tradespeople to build and maintain housing infrastructure. Electricians of various specialisations made the list, but many construction workers, such as carpenters and general electricians, are only provisionally included. Essential trades like plumbers, roof tilers, and bricklayers are still under consideration. Their skills are indispensable for building new homes, maintaining existing structures, and ensuring the infrastructure can support growing populations. The current shortage of these tradespeople exacerbates the housing crisis, delaying projects and driving up costs.

One could advocate the inclusion of yoga teachers and fitness instructors for the growing emphasis on mental and physical well-being in modern society. Similarly, dog handlers play a vital role in various sectors, including security, therapy, and assistance for people with disabilities. 

If this list were a proposal for training and funding courses for the Australian workforce, I could understand the reasoning behind it. However, when it comes to foreign workers, I am left wondering. I fail to see the logic behind prioritising yoga teachers, martial arts instructors, and dog handlers over skilled workers, especially considering that this discussion paper is about the skilled occupations that foreign students and workers bring with them. 

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles will make the final decision later this year. However, given the chaos so far, JSA’s proposal is more likely to be implemented in its current form. 

The JSA’s proposed list of core skills occupations exemplifies how disconnected government agencies are from reality and how they blatantly ignore the intricacies of immigration and workforce planning. In spite of the claims made by those who work as dog handlers and yoga instructors, it is unclear why a number of important professions were not included. These trades are the backbone of Australia’s construction industry, especially critical during a housing crisis.