Regional Aviation Association of Australia seeks four year visa for international pilots

    Regional Aviation Association of Australia confirmed it had successfully lobbied Australia‘s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to revise the skilled occupation list to allow foreign pilots to work in Australia on a working visa, with talks reportedly ongoing about extending the period from two to four years (SBS/The Guardian, 28-Dec-2017). The changes to the visa laws for foreign pilots will reportedly come into effect from Jan-2018. Regional Aviation Association of Australia CEO Mike Higgins commented: “In order to attract suitably senior pilots, who more than likely have a family growing up and so forth, we need to make it attractive enough for them to come across and uproot their family… A four year period seems to be a sweet spot”. Mr Higgins said there has been a “trickle-down effect” with large international carriers recruiting from Australian carriers, who then had to hire from smaller regional airlines. The foreign pilots would serve in a training and mentoring role to their Australian counterparts, he added. He said if the current situation continued services would need to be curtailed.