New visa settings announced by the Federal Government today offer a lifeline for businesses facing acute skills shortages and will boost international student enrolments in our universities.
Under these changes approximately 20,000 temporary skilled migrants who stayed in Australia while our international borders were closed will be offered a path to permanent residency, while 170,000 international students will be able to stay for a longer period after they graduate.
“When other countries are reopening and international travel is resuming, it’s critical that Australia is an attractive place to work and to study,” ACCI Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said.
“Modifying our visa settings to accelerate the return of international students, while we grow and retain a skilled workforce, will be essential in realising our post-pandemic potential.
“With the skills crisis getting worse by the day, businesses across industry have been unable to operate at full capacity due to the widespread skill shortages. While there has never been a better time for unemployed Australians to get back into the job market, there simply aren’t enough local workers to satisfy the strong demand we’re seeing in the labour market.
“ACCI has advocated for an ambitious and targeted migration plan to increase skilled permanent migration to 200,000 for the next two years. The announcement today will go some way to expanding our skilled workforce, fill job vacancies that exist across the board, and grow the economy.
“The higher education sector has faced overwhelming challenges with the closure of international borders. These changes to our student visa settings will make Australia a much more attractive place to study.
“As the global race to attract skilled migrants and international students heats up, we cannot risk getting left behind. Adjusting our migration settings to attract and retain talent will be crucial to strengthening our economic recovery in the years ahead.
“State and territory governments must now move to open up to all fully vaccinated international arrivals. State-based international border rules will only disincentivise fully vaccinated international travellers from coming into Australia and reduce the economic benefits international students and skilled migrants bring.