The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has announced it will reinstate legal practitioners to the skilled occupation list (SOL), meaning foreign lawyers can now apply for a work visa without the need for sponsorship.
According to the Law Council of Australia - which lobbied extensively to have barristers and solicitors reinstated after their removal in 2010 - the recruitment of foreign lawyers will help address the shortage of lawyers in rural, regional and remote (RRR) areas.
"The Law Council has identified that there is a shortage of lawyers in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia and has been actively working on recruitment and retention strategies for the lawyers outside metropolitan areas," said LCA president Alexander Ward.
"Overall this is excellent news for RRR practitioners as we are aware of legal practitioners in international jurisdictions who are interested in meeting these needs."
The revised SOL is due to take effect from 1 July 2011.