Skilled migration to Australia from around the world had received major focus in the Job & Skills Summit 2022, the two-day event held on September 1st and 2nd at the Parliament House of the capital Canberra. The summit was coordinated by the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albaneses and the Chief Treasurer Jim Chalmers.
Important agenda of the summit
- Australia’s total migrant intake increased to 195,000 for 2023-24.
- Skilled Migration to be allotted majority places of total migration levels.
- Australia’s high demand for Construction Managers & Civil Engineers, ICT & Software Professionals, EEE majors in the top 10 Skilled Migration Priority List.
- Faster Skilled Migration visa processing for international applicants to satisfy the huge vacancy in the Australian job market.
- Higher salary threshold for immigrants in managerial occupations and keeping unemployment at record low (~3.5%) as achieved recently in July.
The Summit had invited over a 100 of Australia’s most influential political figures and business leaders and catalysed to change the fate of thousands of skilled migration visa applicants as representatives from Australia’s business and political sector come together in providing a solution to the shortage of a skilled labour force.
Caire O’Neil, Minister of Home Affairs, had proposed 200,000 places as the new total migration planning levels for 2023-24 on the backdrop of the upcoming Federal Budget in October. This was met with positive reinforcement since 195,000 places were officialised for announcement. Majority places of total migration levels will be assigned to skilled migration. This is in response to business and union representatives voicing a skill shortage and high demand for professionals in the field of construction, IT, health and manufacturing.
As per the Tech Council of Australia, the current decade of the Australian job market has experienced an increased demand for software professionals, computer network engineers, data scientists and managers at double the rate compared to most other skilled occupations.
Why does Australia have such a high demand for skilled migrant workers?
A 3.5% record low unemployment since last June has meant two things for the Australian job market. One, there are significantly more vacancies (480,100 job vacancies as of May) that have completely soaked in the labour force into full employment, and two, a very low unemployment rate means there aren’t enough unemployed residents in Australia to fill the new vacancies that are projected to increase at a higher rate.
State wise skill shortage concerns are prevalent as NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and administration projects a shortage of workers of nearing 304,000 by 2025 in NSW alone.
“This labour shortage is not unique to NSW but it is apparent this can only be fixed by an increase in targeted skilled migration..’’ as per NSW Skilled Minister Alister Henskens.”
Victoria (VIC) alone had employed 700 international healthcare workers the previous year and will still fall short of 200 workers by the middle of the upcoming year. Evidently enough, Victoria has begun investing in vocational training for locals and migrants as per the state premier Daniel Andrews.
Higher Salary for Sponsoring a Temporary Skilled Migrant
Australia has recently boasted a world-wide highest minimum wage, however, the minimum salary for sponsoring a temporary skilled migrant is still stuck at its 2013 margin of AUD 53,900 annually. At the summit, Chief Treasurer Jim Chalmers proposed a fair salary threshold of AUD 65,000 (adjusted for inflation) as the new Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMI).
A proposal of AUD 91,000 by Australian Trade Council of Unions had captured the attention of mainstream news, however, was dismissed as an “excessive increase’’ by the Australian Chamber of Commerce. Andrew Giles, however, voiced his support for the more feasible salary of AUD 65,000 as proposed by Chief Treasurer Jim Chalmers that may be equally fair to deserving skilled applicants and not a burden of employers and businesses.
“Australia needs to get out there and aggressively compete for the best and brightest migrants amid the global war for talent” opines Andrew Giles, the Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.”
Other skilled-migration focused topics discussed in the summit
- The Labour Party aims to put forth their pre-election promise of implementing a AUD 1.2 billion university education plan to increase more places for migrant students who will eventually transition into onshore skilled migration applicants.
- Recognising migrant women as the backbone of the retail industry and therefore prioritising eligible women applicants under temporary skilled applications.
- AUD 5.4 billion to subsidise childcare so more migrant women on skilled visas can participate into the labour force.
With the anticipation building up for Australia’s upcoming Federal Budget this October, it shall offer a time-appropriate proving ground for Australian immigration and its government to bring their policies into play.
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