It's difficult to restrain my disappointment with The TRA: Trades Recognition Australia. Almost a year ago, the TRA announced the closure of Skilled Pathway D, which gave skilled tradespeople without formal qualifications a pathway through the skills assessment stage of the Australian skilled migration programme.
To me, Pathway D was an integral part of the migration programme. It met the insatiable demand for skilled tradespeople in Australia, and allowed thousands of experienced workers from the UK to make the move down under. The closure of Pathway D, without warning or consultation, came as a body blow to industry in Australia and to thousands of families in the UK. Australian industries lost a source of dedicated, highly skilled workers, and families saw their plans to establish themselves in Australia delayed indefinitely.
Earlier in the summer, the TRA announced that they would begin to implement a replacement to Pathway D on September 1 with their new Migration Assessment Policy (MAP). We were extremely excited at the prospect, as it would allow thousands of families to get their visa applications back on track and to start making long-term decisions about moving to Australia.
The TRA has once again thrown these lives into disarray by delaying their implementation. They have postponed their announcement about implementing MAP indefinitely, without any explanation or indication of when we can expect more information.
I am appalled at the TRA for its apparently blasé attitude towards the thousands of people who they have left to twist in the wind by delaying their announcement. Families who want to make the move down under need concrete information in order make decisions that affect the rest of their lives. The TRA is making this heartbreakingly difficult.
This appalling attitude is demonstrated by the TRA's complete lack of transparency or explanation. They did not give a concrete reason as to why they closed Pathway D and they did not give detailed information about its replacement. Now they have delayed the implementation of a replacement without explanation or any indication of how much longer families will have to wait.
Many would-be emigrants face a difficult choice: to pursue the long road to skills qualification through a different pathway, or to wait out the TRA and hope for a positive announcement in the next few months. The TRA is directly responsible for forcing families into this stressful situation. The Australian Visa Bureau staff will do their best to ease the stress that this decision may place on our clients by providing as much information and help as we can.
I sincerely hope that the TRA to task for explanations and more information. I look forward to the day when we can help the thousands of families affected by this fiasco to realise their dreams of a new life in Australia.
- Andy Harwood is the CEO of the Australian Visa Bureau.