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Review of the 2016-17 Skilled Occupations List (SOL)

Thank you for your providing the Law Council of Australia with the opportunity to make a submission to the annual update of the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) conducted by the Department of Education and Training. The Law Council appreciates the opportunity to provide input to the review of the SOL. 

The Law Council is the peak body representing the legal profession in Australia and speaks for the profession on matters affecting Australian immigration law and policy, and employment of foreign lawyers. 

The Law Council is pleased that the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations Solicitor and Barrister remain listed on the 2015-16 SOL and supports retaining those occupations on the SOL in future years. The Law Council is concerned, however that barristers and solicitors have been included in the list of Flagged Occupations on the SOL for 2015-16 which may be removed in future years subject to monitoring of the labour market. 

As noted in the attached submission to the review by Skills Australia in November 2010 (Attachment A), the Law Council is working to address a critical shortage of lawyers in rural, regional and remote (RRR) areas of Australia. The Law Council continues to promote the RRR Law campaign that was launched in May 2011 and aims to encourage law graduates and more experienced lawyers from Australia to take up long-term positions in these areas. 

The inclusion of barristers and solicitors on the SOL supports the objectives of this campaign, as foreign lawyers may be enticed to fill these skills shortages. 

The Law Council would like to be consulted if barristers and solicitors are considered for removal from the SOL in the future. 

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