Major migration overhaul will boost Australian competitiveness

A new blueprint to modernise and enhance Australia’s migration system amid a global competition for talent will be critical to ensuring Australia withstands growing economic headwinds, the nation’s largest business network has said.

“We are in a global talent war and this proposed migration overhaul gives us a fighting chance to recruit the skilled workers Australia desperately needs,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“The Migration Review’s recommendations to streamline and simplify our migration system offer a pathway to satisfy existing and future labour demand, while recognising the importance of skilling our local workforce.

“Every day we hear from businesses of every size, in every industry, and right across the country that they’re facing unprecedented challenges trying to find enough skilled workers to fill job vacancies.

“Protracted processing times, excessive costs and confusing administrative measures mean that our migration system is falling short of meeting the needs of businesses, workers, and the economy.

“Improving the experience for employers and employees will ensure Australia’s migration system is fit for purpose in the long term.

Mr McKellar said businesses welcomed the comprehensive series of reforms that would deliver greater access to in-demand workers.

“Business applauds proposed measures to reduce complexity in the system and ensure visa processing times are further expedited. Reforms to ensure small businesses have fair access to the migration system, with a reformed fee structure, will also be beneficial,” Mr McKellar said.

“The creation of permanent residency pathways for all temporary skilled visa holders – which ACCI has long called for – will make Australia the destination of choice for the world’s top talent.

“Business welcomes the proposed overhaul of skill occupation lists noting a renewed focus on delivering the workers businesses actually need. Led by Jobs and Skills Australia, labour market analysis and forecasting will now be informed by how skills and training works in conjunction with our migration system.

“Expedited visa pathways that target elite talent will help Australia attract highly skilled migrants in sectors like technology, financial services, and law. This can unleash new innovations, lure foreign investment, and build new industry.

“The government has made the right call to move away from labour market testing. When it’s widely known that workforce shortages are at their worst in decades, requiring a business to advertise the position for at least four weeks before they can look overseas just slows the process down.

“We note the announced increase to the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold and will closely monitor its implementation to ensure that regional and rural business in particular do not face added disadvantage.

“ACCI looks forward to continuing positive engagement with the government and Minister O’Neil in their consultation for the full migration strategy to be released later this year,” Mr McKellar added.

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