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Guest Gollywobbler

Calling Crane Drivers, Excavators, Scaffolders and Similar

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Guest Gollywobbler

Hi All

How adventurous are you guys prepared to be about where in Oz you might live and work for about 5 years, please? If you are willing to consider the Outback then there may be a visa solution for you.

First of all, please find your own exact occupation in the ASCO Code, which is here:


The document works strangely. The alphabetical list of occupations is at the back. Gravedigger & Garbologist are both in there, so all of you are in there too. Find the occupation and it tells you which page to go to. Hit Adobe Pages. Then click on the page. It will put you into the Code about 7 or 8 pages before the page that you need, so once you are in the Code itself use the page numbering at the foot of each page of the Code to get to the right page. Some occupations are shown as the alternative job-title for something else.


Crane Driver, Hoist or Lift Operator: Page 484

Excavator Operator: Page 479

Forklift Driver: Page 480

Scaffolder: Page 515

These are all Group 7 occupations.

Being female I have no idea what most of the machinery or tasks even are, so you need to do your own hunting around, please.

And be honest with yourselves, too. Your occupation is either within ASCO Major Groups 5-7 or it isn't. If a realistic description of what you do is in ASCO Major Groups 8 & 9 then even the most willing Aussie employer would not be able to sponsor you for a visa.

The visa strategy works as follows:

Because your occupations are not on the SOL and are regarded as being semi-skilled only (ASCO Groups 5-7) the only realistic way for you to obtain visas for Oz is via the Regional Employer Concessions in the 457 and RSMS (subclass 119/857) visa schemes.

Because you cannot undertake formal skills assessments for migration purposes, you have to be prepared to be on the subclass 457 visa for a minimum of 2 years and then you have to hope that your employer will agree to reward you by sponsoring you for the RSMS 857 visa next. Under the terms of the RSMS visa you are obliged to work for the sponsoring employer, in the nominated occupation, in the regional area, for a further two years once the RSMS visa is granted.

RSMS visas take a bit of time to process and set up, plus you will not start work on the 457 visa the day after you arrive in Australia. Realistically you are looking at committing a minimum of 5 years to living and working in Regional Australia but if you knuckle down and do that, Australia will give you your freedom as it were as soon as you have complied with your obligations under the RSMS visa. Thereafter you will be able to move to the middle of Sydney if you wish, and do whatever you like when you get there including selling ice cream on the beach or simply loafing on the beach if you prefer.

What is happening on the ground out in Oz is that there is mining & construction happening in the remote parts of WA, the Northern Territory, North QLD, possibly the North of SA and I am not sure about NSW and VIC.

These remote areas are very sparsely-populated. People with the right to live and work anywhere they like in Australia generally won't go to these places because they are too far from home. The lifestyle is tough because the climate is harsh and it is unrealistic to expect mod cons such as you would find in downtown Perth. Also, the local populations in each township are small and a relatively high proportion of the local population may be Aboriginals because these are their lands, much of it is sacred land and their rights to it must be respected. Some of the others are refugees and asylum seekers.

Plus the pay is potentially lousy. The minimum pay on the Regional 457 is $39,100 and there is no right to any hand-outs from Centrelink so no Child Benefit or Working Tax Credit type arrangements are possible.

Employers are finding it difficult to extract the minerals and/or build the townships because the workers needed for both will not go to the places concerned. The Regional State Migration authorities understand the problems faced by the employers in this regard.

The other thing is that the 457 visa requires the would-be migrant to have good English because the States requirement for that tends to be higher than the one DIAC requires for it. So although there is no shortage of would-be migrant workers from all over the world who are prepared to go to the Outback and get on with it no matter what the pay etc, many of them fall over when they sit the mandatory IELTS because their English is simply not strong enough to meet the State's requirements for it.

Native English speakers are automatically deemed to have Competent English, which is high enough to meet the State's own requirements and so are exempt from the IELTS.

However, the British also have unrealistic ideas about Oz in many cases. Although it is theoretically possible for an employer based in Mandurah (45 minutes from Perth) to claim that he cannot find a suitably qualified and experienced forklift driver from within the local workforce, the proposal to hire and sponsor a migrant instead has to be approved by the State Migration Centre. Who will not agree to the proposition that this could not find his forklift driver locally if he ups the ante on the pay that he wants to offer. The State authorities will NOT permit the 457 visa to be used as a means of keeping pay down.

That said, the State people understand only too well that in some of the remote Outback areas the employers can't even get would-be migrants for the jobs because the native English speaking migrants won't put up with the places concerned. So they are very aware that it is a Catch 22 all round.

Please see this document:


Page 2 describes "other shortages". Including mobile and stationary plant operators in Groups 7111 and 7112.

Group 7913 potentially includes Scaffolder, Structural Steel Erectors and Construction Riggers as well as the Steel Fixer whose Code is 7913-13. The List is not set in tablets of stone and when I spoke with a lady in the NT the other night, she told me that they have compiled a new list which is longer than the current one. They are waiting for their IT Department to find the time to swap it for the existing list on the website.






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Guest Gollywobbler

This very knowledgeable and helpful lady said that Regional WA and QLD both have the same problems that her office has. I mentioned that Registered Migration Agents seem to say that it is very difficult to get the Regional Certifying Bodies (the State Migration offices, in effect) to agree that the circumstances are exceptional enough to justify hiring a migrant for the semi-skilled jobs. She said that this is not her experience. She has had RMAs phoning her from Sydney, Melbourne etc, asking what is possible and they have been told the same as she was telling me. They will encourage and facilitate both visas – this much was clear.

She also said that if the person can get a skills assessment (ASCO Groups 1-4 only) then she would encourage immediate PR via the RSMS visa and to think about that. I pointed out that Groups 5-7 can’t get skills assessments (thinking, “And people who can probably wouldn’t be willing to consider the places you might have in mind.”)

I asked whether the local employers are aware of the visa rigmaroles? She said that they should be invited to contact the State Migration people because the latter will help the employers and the would be migrants to understand the whole thing and they do not charge for their help. She mentioned that the NT have appointed one of their State Migration Officers to live & work in Alice Springs so that employers there can go to see somebody locally in order to explain their difficulties and seek help. However she stressed that the NT is by no means unique because these same problems also exist in WA and QLD to her certain knowledge and she says that all the State authorities are geared up to help where they can.

Now please see this document:


Either Bobcat or Bullcreek Bob on here told me that the Govt of WA is trying to encourage new settlements up in the Kimberley region. The area is rich in minerals and the climate is very harsh. It is in the equatorial cyclone belt, the same as Darwin which was almost completely destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Broome is expanding rapidly because in addition to being an R&R place for the miners on Drive In, Drive out deals it is also becoming a major centre for tourism, with pearling, scuba diving etc and it is the jumping off point for one or more of the main inland tourist destinations. Much of the area is Aboriginal tribal land and there are some very remote beaches with cave drawings that show that mariners must have been shipwrecked there at some point. Broome is expensive according to my sister (who lives in Perth.) It is also 1,000kms from Perth, which should not be forgotten.

Over in QLD, Mt Isa is an Outback mining town in a non-amusing location.

Information Queensland - Interactive Mapping

The distance to Cairns is 1,100 kms, about the same to Darwin and 1,800kms to Brisbane.

They need the workers to help with the mines and also with construction. Strangely, they also need Childcare Support Workers in all these places. Presumably both Parents work.

Temperament? I think this is an immensely important consideration. These sorts of places are considered intolerable by most Aussies so they would be a huge culture shock for a migrant family. Also, if a native of QLD won’t go there, how badly do you want to migrate? Are you prepared to tolerate what he won’t tolerate for the sake of your family’s future?

Some people have the right mind-set for this sort of thing. They can go to these places and learn to love what is there – which is not available anywhere else in the world. They can embrace sometimes god-awful conditions without thinking, “What the hell have I done?”

I think this sort of adventure probably needs very fit people, with massive stamina both mental and physical, plus a very high degree of self-sufficiency both in practical terms and also emotionally. My sister’s step mother in law is a native Outback Queenslander. She grew up on a farm and then married an Outback farmer. She only married the old reprobate Eric after her first husband died and I think her children were grown up. Nola now lives near Fremantle and she does not seem to me to have any wish to return to the Outback. She has learned to like creature comforts instead. But mentally, she could do it if she had to. She knows what it would involve and she has done it before. She would probably march into Mt Isa and ask the Aussie miners what they are whingeing about because it was all a million times worse on her farm 500 kms from the nearest township in the days when mod cons didn’t exist, meaning that if you couldn’t grow it, rear it and catch or collect your own water, you wouldn’t live long. But she does not choose that now that she no longer has to.

If I were to scream at Nola, “Kerrist, there is a snake in the house!” she would probably say, “Well either admire it or kill it. Why are you telling me about it?”

I would encourage careful thought and very detailed enquiries, perhaps?

Best wishes


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Guest Midlanders
bloody hell gill, i bet your fingers ache now lmao :biglaugh:



Lol Daz I think you and my dazza will be heading NORTH once me and Sarah get our heads together.


I should start swatting up on what scorpions/spiders tastes the best boiled in a billy can....and you also must read ray mears outback survival!!!


At least my dazza can chop wood for the fire to keep you both warm!!!!





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i have to say gill ...anybody who would take their family to this type of enviroment to work must be MAD lol .....this type of work is ok for single guys who want to make quick bucks ...but if ur own minimum wage then its a definite no no ..... its all sounds very good when u think of the money ....but the conditions are not all their cracked up 2 be .....yes the camps are set out well with gyms pools etc and the food is excellent ....but most of these guys work 12 / 14 hr shifts ...so they are too bloody knackered to enjoy any of the above .....so boredom then becomes a factor .....being an excavator operator himself ...mr k would have grabbed any chance of gettin a visa ...having been here 18 months and had a small taste of what workin away entails ...he would certainly not have been prepared to do it for the 2 years minimum .....i would advise anyone thinking of going down this route to think very carefully before moving ur family to basically the middle of the desert .....please note this is only my opinion from what we have seen / experienced since being here ...and if anyone has the guts to do it well ....all the very best !!

mrs keily


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Also don't forget that earthmoving and crane operations are specified dangerous occupations under QLD Occupational Health and Safety legislation and you'll have to do the earthmoving ticket, whereas in WA they're not but there's an onus on your employer proving you have adequate training. The legislation is merging for all states over the next couple of years and I suspect that they'll make WA meet up with QLD in terms of the tickets you're going to have to get.

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Fine art landscape and portrait photography.  And occasionally fannying around with ultra-macro when I should be working.

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I just wanted to say thanks for this helpful info, hubby is a scaffolder so you never know this could be an option, since he is being sent away to North QLD with work next week anyway.


Thanks again

Mandy :biggrin:

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Guest Robbi

hello all,

robert here from ireland.

i just found this website.

lots of great information.

i spent a year in australia back a few years ago on a 1 year working holiday visa, when i got there i got my excavator ticket and blue card

im back in ireland now

id like to go back to australia to live and wouldnt mind working in the outback

im a single 33 year old guy.

how do i find a company to sponsor me.

i would appreciate any help and advice


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